The quaint city of Newberg, Oregon is a small but vibrant community of award winning wineries and organic farmers. Although only 25 miles away from Portland, the town is still surrounded by lush greenbelts of rural forests and farmlands. In the center of town sits a beautiful Queen Anne Victorian house which has been lovingly restored by the owners and converted into a restaurant. Our experience at the Painted Lady was a feast for the senses. All the dishes had contrasting and unique flavors. We had a table reserved in a little alcove off to the side of the main dining table which seated all 8 of us. The first dish from the Grand Tasting Menu was the smoked salmon on a bagel crisp served with pickled red onions and topped with creme fraiche. Served in a mini “cocotte”, as the waiter lifted the lid, we could see smoke rising from the lox. It had a delicate taste with a hint of the smoky flavor. The next dish was a cold dungeness crab in a miso broth custard served with enoki mushrooms. The miso broth custard had a wonderful flavor derived from the dashi soup base. The maine lobster ragout with tarragon served over four cheese pasta was delicious. Next came the outstanding dayton chicken roulade with walnut chimichurri sauce and pickled baby carrot. The chicken was baked to perfection and the chimichurri sauce lent the flavors a spicy sweet flavor without overpowering the flavor of the chicken. The next dish was the house smoked filet mignon. The taste of the meat was excellent; a delightful texture of smooth and smoky. Next came an artisanal cheese plate of classics such as brie and goat cheese. For dessert we had the espresso torte flavored with rum, the cocoa cayenne panna cotta, and my favorite, the cinnamon meringue with coriander cajeta custard. The menu ended with freshly baked rosemary madeleines and beer flavored marshmallows. Needless to say, the dinner lasted 4 hours!
Chef Routt and his wife Jessica wanted to create a restaurant on the same lines as the restoration of their lovely Victorian. They kept many elements of the Victorian design but used modern combinations of colors to rejuvenate the decorative flourishes and moldings. For the Painted Lady’s menu they have taken classic dishes and interpreted them with modernistic elegance. Chef Routt is famous for his smoky flavors ( he makes smoked barbecue sandwiches for lunch!) and for his innovative dishes that combine starkly contrasting ingredients while still maintaining the balance of the flavors.
We were so impressed with the tasting menu that we returned the very next night! We felt decadent, but savored the experience of another 4 hour feast, and enjoyed every moment of the well orchestrated menu. The slow roasted salmon and lobster risotto tasted delicate and creamy. Today, the chicken roulade was garnished with heavenly foie gras. Next came a pistachio encrusted filet mignon pan seared to perfection. The slow braised veal cheek beset scallop creamed potatoes and was tender & mouth watering. More excited by the dessert this time, the lemon souffle served with a berry coulis was perfectly fluffy. The flavors of the homemade rosemary ice cream was surprisingly delightful and a skillful contrast to the souffle. The tasting menu priced at $90 seems fair for the number of dishes and all the wonderful combinations of ingredients. A dining experience inside a beautiful Victorian home, as well as the superior & impeccable service only made it all the more special. 201 South College Street, Newburg, OR 97132. 503-538-3850. $$$.