written by Kerry Newberry
Like so many other diners with good intentions, you pledged to eat more vegetables this year.
That’s easier to do with the recent addition of Wild Thing PDX to Portland’s Alberta Arts District. The first thing you need to know about this vegan-forward, plant-inspired bowl restaurant is that chef Sam Smith of Sweedeedee (and formerly Tusk) designed the core menu.
“He’s such a wizard with vegetables,” said Kelsey Glasser, owner of wine bar Arden and the developer behind Wild Thing PDX. “Chefs can do amazing things with vegetables, but Sam really gives them the star treatment,” she added. Another talent currently leading the kitchen is Dominique Rodriguez, who worked at vegan hot spot Tiny Moreso and co-founded the vegetarian pop-up, Raiz.
The signature bowls pop with satisfying flavors from The Wild One that layers ginger beets, urfa chili sweet potato, lemony brussel sprouts, crispy sumac cabbage and sesame broccoli on a bed of mixed greens to The Vernon also packed with bright flavor and texture from cumin carrots, and turmeric pickled vegetables to crispy garlic and smoky paprika cauliflower.
There’s the option to get creative and build your own bowl, starting with greens, rice, or quinoa, and then dressing it up from a selection of seasoned and roasted vegetables, tangy fermented produce, savory house-made sauces, and proteins such as tempeh and Ota Tofu.
In addition to a short list of natural wine producers from the Northwest (including Jo-han, Maloof, Ovum, The Marigny), Wild Thing has its own label of canned wines. Glasser partnered with Ryan Kelly at Dominio IV in Carlton to develop two refreshing blends with vegetable pairings in mind, the Dry White Wine and Pinot Lite. Another beverage collaboration with Never Coffee led to a delicious hazelnut-butter cold brew drink.
Joining the wave of high-concept vegetable-centric restaurants to open in Portland recently, Glasser said, “Over the last couple of years, there’s been a big world shift in terms of focusing on a plant-based diet and noticing the impact it has on our planet and on our body. Eating more vegetables is simply good for you and it supports local farmers.”
1477 NE ALBERTA PORTLAND