|Oregon Magazine||Traveling the West? Stay at Shilo Inns|
2011 -- Many moons ago, we dined at Trader Vic
Bergeron's original Oakland CA establishment, to be
followed, with our toothsome appreciation, by
Pacific Northwest sites at Seattle's Benajmin
Franklin hotel and Portland's Benson hotel.
The latter site closed some time ago, and we
mistakenly surmised the Trader chain had gone the
way of countless other restaurant enterprises.
Not so. The new Portland site opened in the
same time frame as new operations in (gasp!)
Kazakhstan* and Dubai joining a chain now in
27 locations around the globe. Portland's
is a magical remodeling of the Manzana establishment
at 10th & NW Glisan.
(*OMED: the suffix
"stan" means "land." In this case,
Kazakhstan means: "land of the Kazaks." Other
examples from that part of the world: Afghanistan is "land
of the Afghans." Pakistan, in the news of late,
designates that geographic area next to India as
the "land of the Paks." These different
groups are ancient clans or tribes, most of whom,
like the tribes of the Arabian Peninsula,
converted to Islam in what we call the First
Century, A.D. Polynesian people are also
tribal in nature. For some reason the PacNW,
and particularly Oregon, has a long and deep
association with them. I went to school in
Hillsboro [OR] with these wonderful island people
in the Fifties, and you will find them on our high
school and university football teams to this day.
Okay, now back to Fred's delicious text.)
Here (at Trader Vic's) you'll
find a wishfully authentic Polynesian paradise
set off with grass wall coverings, Tiki wall carvings,
tribal masks and myriad other South Seas
touches. The menu has also endured for almost
eight decades, with the Trader's unique
offerings. The Portland site includes a giant
wood-fired ceramc Chinese smoke oven open off the
dining area, where attendants supervise meat, poultry
and seafood preparations as you watch. Entree
highlights include a gigantic 20 oz. "Cowboy Ribeye"
steak, a pair of 6-rib racks of Lamb, an 8oz
Filet Mignon and an oven-smoked wild Chinook salmon
filet. There's also a soy & garlic marinated
chicken 1/2 fryer. The side offerings arriving
on your plate include artichoke hearts, hearts of
palm, balsamic-sauced spinach, crisp cabbage and
yams. If you must go vegetarian, the Veggie Chow
Mein is a creative mix of Asian noodles tossed with
sprouts, bamboo shoots and water chestnuts.
Volcano Fish walk
are other main dishes that include Macadamia nut
covered Mahi Mahi fish, 'Volcano spicy prawns seared
in a wok with garlic cloves, Bok Choy and snow peas
with Jasmine rice and a crispy smoked 1/2 duck with Mu
Shu pancakes and plum sauce. We started our
personal feast with an old favorite, the Pupu Platter
that offers a selection for two to four souls of BBQ
spareribs, Crab Rangoon crisps, crispy prawns and Char
Sui pork bits.
offerings also include oysters on the half shell,
Diver scallops and Dungeness crab lettuce cups.
Trader's signature soup, Bongo Bongo, lives on...a
puree of oysters, cream and spinach. Salads
include a pair of classics: Caesar and Green
Goddess and a House salad returning us to fond memory
with pickledearts of palm, endive, mushrooms and a
Trader exclusive, Javanese dressing.
Desserts? a chocolate tart, a Passion fruit
mousse, lemon grass creme brulee and a 'don't miss'
Banana Trio of bananas Foster, a frozen chocolate
covered vbanana popsicle and a banana fritter.
is not an inexpensive dining choice in our depressed
economy, but no question...it's worth the cost in our
humble estimation. (OMED: Fred hasn't got an ounce of humility.)
Hours are 3-11 Sunday-Thursday, 3-11 Friday and
Saturday, with dinner served daily 5-10. Trader
signature cocktail offerings are available along with
every other beverage choice at a large bar area, with
happy hour on Wednesdays 3-6:30 and 10 to
closing. The lounge has a separate snack menu.
Welcome home, Trader!!
© 2011 Oregon Magazine