Imperial - Portland, OR
Portland has plenty of adventures for the both the fearless and not-so fearless foodie adventurer. One of those adventures I was looking forward to was dinner at Imperial. I first heard about Imperial when my husband, aka “The Professor” as he shall be forever referred to on this blog, went on his own Portland food tour last year. He raved about the best meatball he had ever had so I knew this had to be a pit stop. I thoroughly enjoyed dinner and recommend making your own pit stop at Imperial.
Imperial opened up just a few years ago in 2012. However, the chef behind the restaurant, Vitaly Paley, has been around and has won many awards, like the James Beard Award for Best Chef Northwest. With Paley’s Place Bistro & Bar and Portland Penny Diner, Chef Paley has made a permanent mark in Portland with great food across all three of his restaurants. And let’s not forget the executive chef at Imperial, Doug Adams. You may recognize him as a runner-up on Top Chef. With him behind the flame you just know Imperial will deliver an outstanding meal.
The Professor and I shared a couple of plates for dinner. I ordered the duck meatballs, which was served with an orange gremolata and moyer prunes. The sweetness and acidity from the gremolata and prunes balanced the richness of the duck. It was quite the tasty meatball.
We also shared the fried chicken. It was topped with pickles and onions and served with local honey. It was perfectly crunchy on the outside and moist on the inside. I enjoyed the tanginess from the pickles as well. And who doesn’t love some honey with fried chicken? Frankly, if a place doesn’t serve honey with fried chicken then it’s not the place for me.
We couldn’t resist ordering a side of French fries and the Parker House Rolls as our sides. The fries were cooked golden and had an amazing dipping sauce with it. For you Californians, it was akin to the secret sauce from In-N-Out so I could be biased. The house roll was also golden brown along with being warm, soft and comforting. It was served with a side of butter and was a great opening to dinner.
I recommend giving Imperial a try the next time you’re in Portland. They offer great food along with a great atmosphere and there’s plenty on the menu to try.
PS – Thanks again to Departure executive chef Gregory Gourdet for solidifying this as a dining choice. Your response to my tweet has been the best recommendation I’ve received so far!