written by Jen Stevenson
To the great delight of fans left devastated by the 2016 closure of chef Johanna Ware’s “inauthentic Asian” restaurant, and only somewhat mollified by her ensuing counter-service spinoff (Wares) inside Sandy Boulevard’s The Zipper food court, Smallwares has risen again in the former Chalino space on NE Fremont Street—with the same signature red shelves and fish-sauce-splashed fried kale and candied bacon, plus a few new culinary twists. As usual, Ware’s menu pulls no flavor punches—try the Dungeness crab and pickled pear salad in Korean chili dressing, hanger steak with curried tomato jam over smoky braised greens, and seared scallops with yuzu brown butter and chickpea miso purée.
Oyster lovers, get in on the daily dollar happy hour bivalves doused in fish sauce vinaigrette. Brunchers, arrive at the stroke of 10 a.m. for a hangover-banishing kimchi juice-spiked Bloody Mary, loco moco smothered in togarashi gravy, and buttery pandan mochi French toast with Sichuan-infused crème anglaise. One word of warning: if you’ve fallen hard for the spicy chicken ramen with braised greens and garlic chili paste at Wares, it’s not on the menu here—you’ll just have to drown your sorrows in a bottle of bright, floral Watari Bune Junmai Ginjo sake, or The Gin cocktail, a refreshing mix of Beefeater, tamarind and ai basil—25-milligram CBD “float” optional.
25 N FREMONT ST. PORTLAND