Portland paella lovers can rejoice as chef José Chesa opens his second restaurant, named Chesa for his father, on NE Broadway on Tuesday, February 23, 2016. Chesa will blend Catalonian tradition with modern techniques for tapas and paella from a Josper charcoal oven. Along with business partners Cristina Baéz and Emily Metivier, José Chesa Senior from Barcelona was on hand as they prepared for the grand opening.
The restaurant is larger than Chesa’s Ataula in NW Portland. The dining room has bench seating along the west wall, all the better to line up tables that can be combined or separated to allow for a variety of sizes of groups to dine together. The east side of the restaurant is a stand-up tapas bar, with bar stools and a bar program from bartender Tony Gudian featuring sherry and vermut cocktails and sangrias, and a wine list from Metivier and Chesa Senior.
The open kitchen allows you to see the paella and tapas action if you decide to sit on the southern end of the large space. The noise level was boisterous but didn’t drown out conversation or force you to yell to your dining companions.
Chesa’s tapas are works of culinary art, each with a story and legacy of a childhood spent creating and appreciating authentic Catalonian food and the freshest, purest ingredients. On a preview night, the menu featured Almejas Chesa – dad’s Sunday clams, and savory Nuestra Croqueta with porcini mushrooms and a sage and porcini dipping aioli.
The paellas are the heart and soul of the menu, with six featured on the preview menu. The size was perfect to fill one person, especially after a few tapas. Costs for the paellas were in the $22-29 range. It is hard to choose between paellas featuring local Carlton farms pork shoulder, sherry marinated rabbit, seafood, braised oxtail, or vegetarian options. The flavors are deep and intricate, to be savored with each bite.
For iberico ham buffs, you can get slices from the carving station next to the open kitchen, inspired by Chesa’s grandmother’s kitchen.
Chesa will offer dinner service Tuesday to Saturday from 5 to 10 p.m. Address 2218 NE Broadway St.,Portland Ore. 97232.
It is next door to their 180 xurros bistro, where you can enjoy the Spanish pastry, dipping sauces, drinking chocolate and coffee for breakfast and lunch hours.
- Website: http://chesapdx.com/
- Twitter/Instagram: @chesapdx
- Ensalada: Mix greens, Spanish quince paste, bomba rice goat cheese, membrillo vinaigrette
- Tempura ;Spanish style pig ears, sundried tomato vinaigrette, mix greens
- Torrada: Smoked roasted peppers, capers, quail egg, toasted pine nuts
- Bravas: Chesa’s second bravas choice
- Tortilla: Spanish tortilla made in the Josper
- Costilla: Iberico pork rib, fennel-garbanzo salad
- Bocata: Smoked Chistorra, Spanish style bun, teriyaki mayo, Mahon, date-sherry ketchup
- Mejillones: Mussels made in the Josper
- Tabla Iberica: Selection of Iberico meats and cheese
- Boquerones: House Spanish boquerones, house picatoste, Bosc pear, lime zeste
- Brandada: Salt cod brandade, black olive and fig olivada, house coca xips
- Empedrat: Viridian Farms beans, pine nuts, quail egg, scallions, sherry vinaigrette, smoked piquillo
- Huevo: Blood sausage soil, farm egg, manchego cheese
- Olivas: Spanish marinated olives
- Xupa-foie: Hudson Valley foie gras, farm beets, Jacobsen’s salt
- XIP: Fried rice paper, black sesame, manchego, pimentos
- Bunuelo: Salt cod beignet, Pil-Pil ali-oli
- Yogurt: Idiazabal foam, marinated farm beets, soufflé rice
- Corteza: House made pork rinds, escabeche mussels, chipotle
- Almejas Chesa: My dad’s Sunday clams
- Nuestra Croqueta: Porcini croquettes, porcini-sage ali-olii
- Mallorca: Carlton Farms pork shoulder, Spanish sobrasada, bomba rice, Nora Picada
- Chesa: Sherry-marinated rabbit, Iberico ham, Viridian Farms beans, Boletus ali-oli
- Barceloneta: Squid, sofrito, Spanish cuttlefish, Langostino, fried Xanquet, lobster broth
- Mar I Montana: Braised oxtail, bomba rice, prawns, sofrito, scallions
- Vegetal: Seasonal vegetables, sofrito, piquillo de gallo
- Arroz a Banda: Chef’s choice seafood, adobo, sofrito, lobster broth
- Torta de Aceite: Citrus cream, blood orange marmalade, buttermilk ice cream
- Natillas: Pineapple pudding, lime polvorones, brown butter magdalenas, creme fraiche sorbet
- Bunyol: Chocolate beignet, olive oil cream
- Helados: House ice cream selection
- Sorbetes: House sorbet selection
- Tarta: Flourless chocolate cake, coffee caramel buttercream, passion fruit sorbet
- Queso’s: Chesa’s cheese interpretation