Reviews: Crown Jewel, Union

The Portland Phoenix has reviewed Crown Jewel, and

Consider a dish of “fried green things;” flash-fried seasonal green vegetables with apricot harissa and roasted almonds — pound for pound one of the tastiest things in recent memory. Vegetables also shine in chef Rocky Hunter’s carrot lox, a fun take on faux-food substituting ribbons of cured heirloom carrots for smoked salmon, garnished liberally with rye crumbs and everything bagel seasoning. It’s playful, imaginative and — most importantly — actually delicious, showing aptitude and purpose that speak to Hunter’s personal vegan leanings.

The Bollard has reviewed Union.

Though technically too young to be a millennial, my daughter’s friend has a thing for avocado toast, and Union’s version ($14) did not disappoint. The fluffy “shaved” hard-boiled egg, creamy ricotta salata and peppery radish provided a welcome variety of textures and flavors, but it was the tart, salty, preserved lemon emulsion that elevated this dish to a higher plane. Likewise, my wife’s smoked salmon ($17) started with a familiar mix of flavors and transformed into something new. Served on square slices of pumpernickel toast, the combination of shaved egg, pickled onions, briny capers, petite greens and “everything spice” was absolutely delicious, and anything but traditional.

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