Portland’s culinary southern side
Irving Street Kitchen
With stark white tapestries decorated with inked animal illustrations – reminiscent of a Rorschach test – hanging above the bar, the Pearl District space has a funky but upscale feel. The Irving Street Kitchen serves organic fried chicken with collard greens, pork cheeks braised with Guinness and pumpkin, and head-on barbeque shrimp with grits. Get the warm beignets for dinner, served with seasonal sauces like espresso-Sambuca or blood orange, and order the chocolate bread pudding with mint chocolate ice cream for dessert.
Chef and owner Adam Higgs flies in gulf shrimp, blue crab, oysters and crawfish twice weekly to ensure this New Orleans bistro in Portland’s northeast serves the most authentic food. The candle-lit restaurant, with saffron-coloured walls covered in upbeat paintings, also makes its own andouille and boudin sausages for the rabbit gumbo and pasta jambalaya. The bar stays true to Southern tradition as well, with classic cocktails such as hurricanes with rum, vodka, juice and gin, and sazeracs with rye whiskey, bitters and absinthe, along with the “Fair Shake” peach gin cocktail and the “Catahoula Leopard Dog” with brandy and allspice liqueur.