Part of the Landscape
It’s hardly surprising that Higgins has made his mark in Oregon. In that part of the country, it’s almost impossible not to have beer on the menu. The Pacific Northwest is where the modern American beer revolution began, and beer lovers there are among the country’s most knowledgeable.
Further north, in Seattle, Charles Finkel, who was responsible for introducing American audiences to many previously unknown European selections, balked at naming individual restaurants that excel at presenting food and beer.
“A restaurant? Can I name the whole city? You can’t go to a restaurant in Seattle without a few micros and some nice imported beers, and staff that have a basic understanding of beer and how to make it part of a pleasurable experience. Beer is a profit center and a part of fine dining here.”
Several restaurant groups in the region are committed to bringing beer to the table. Of the four restaurants that make up the Tom Douglas Restaurant Group, the Palace Kitchen is probably the most beer friendly, while still committed to good food.
While more bar-oriented than the white-table cloth Dahlia Lounge, the Palace Kitchen maintains the founder’s commitment to using fresh local ingredients in unusual combinations. Chef Sean Hartley Hartley cites the house-made venison sausage with cornichon as an ideal companion to a dunkel weizen ale.
“We serve hearty-flavored food,” says Hartley. “We have six taps, most featuring Washington and local Northwest beers. Tom recognizes the charm of local products. He believes you should promote the people around you.”
“Beer’s just part of the landscape here. You just expect to have some nice choices.”