Restaurant Review: No Bones Beach Club in Portland, Oregon
“Keep Portland Weird.” If you keep your eyes peeled as you traverse the city, you’re bound to see this quote as part of street art or on a billboard. In Portland, “weird” can apply to everything from people to restaurants, or even houses. So when we came across the new addition to Mississippi Ave, a vegan tiki bar called No Bones Beach Club, we weren’t surprised. That was normal. It would have been weird in any other city, but not in Portland.
What could have been an incredibly tacky space, turned out to be thoughtfully and eclectically decorated in a way that surprisingly worked. Leopard print tabletops placed alongside of fishing-net-lined ceilings, hula-skirt-lined bars, and surfboard-adorned walls. Yes, that worked!
The menu was also as unorthodox as it could get. The first on the menu for that evening was the Eggplant Fries — panko-crusted eggplant with a spicy dipping sauce. The panko was a lovely addition of texture to the default rubbery eggplant. But after a few bites, the salt started to kick in and overpowered the eggplant.
The next to enjoy was the Grilled Volcano Roll. This was a sushi roll made with spicy white beans, red peppers, scallions, sesame and cucumber nori, crunchy peas, carrots, wasabi mayo, and a sweet soy glaze. The spicy white beans were a perfect replacement to the raw fish, and were just as nutritious and filling. However, every other flavor alongside of it is so naturally strong that it was also overpowering.
Finally, the Beer Battered Avocado Tacos were a great staple for anyone looking for vegan bar food. It was crispy and crunchy, yet soft and delectable.
While you’re there, don’t skip on the bar to experience ingenious drinks such as the Beet Hibiscus Margarita or the Tamarind Bourbon Cocktail. The margarita was such an unexpected beautiful blend of floral, savory, and sweet that was so unique and bright. The tamarind also brought a sweet yet tart addition to the bourbon, which was a welcome replacement to the otherwise acidic citrus fruits that are often paired with bourbon.
Overall, this menu does an incredible job with working with non-traditional flavors. But it would be in their best interest to dial it back a notch so the diners can enjoy each and every flavor on their plate without getting lost.