written by Jen Stevenson
A perfect May day in Portland, the pop of a champagne cork, that first crack of spoon to caramelized crème brûlée crust, piping hot frites spilling over a grilled beef ribeye so tender you can cut it with your escargot fork—few joys in life are as profound as these. While the former is in Mother Nature’s fickle hands, the rest are a sure bet at James Beard Award-winning chefs Greg Denton and Gabrielle Quiñónez Denton’s tony new Parisian-style bistro set in downtown’s vibrant West End. Replacing the culinary power couple’s Superbite concept, Bistro Agnes is an unabashedly indulgent celebration of classic French fare, the compact kitchen turning out awless renditions of everything from a roasted pork belly and duck confit- choked cassoulet to beef short rib bourguignon over buttered egg noodles. However you plot your courses, decadence is mandatory—start by slathering baguette with rich housemade chicken liver mousse and roasted strawberry and pinot noir preserves, then soak up every last drop of the Madeira cream on your black pepper- crusted beef tenderloin. And for dessert, deep dive into the malted chocolate semifreddo profiteroles drenched in inky fudge sauce. Then it’s one more glass of Ruinart, and back into the spring sunshine (or sleet) for you.