Page 68 - WCM 2021 Winter
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I found the heat to be balanced by the creaminess of the coconut, so that it builds slowly and consistently. Jamie serves the dish with a toasted baguette that is drizzled in olive oil and sprinkled with coarse salt. Not only does the bread have a satisfying chewy bite and excellent flavor, but it helps to cut the heat — al- lowing you to choose how much you want to let the fire build on your taste buds.
On a recent visit, my wife and I also tried an amaz- ing pizza with fig jam and prosciutto. The thin crust, made from a traditional Italian double zero dough, was flavorful and chewy. The mild acid of a balsamic drizzle helped balance the saltiness of the ham and Parmesan cheese, mixing beautifully with the sweet figs. The peppery and slightly bitter flavor of arugula rounded things out for this uncommonly good pizza. We also shared the steak frites, which was tender, ex- pertly cooked, and topped with a red wine demi-glace. No surprises here, just a straight-up steak that was straight-up satisfying. Our six-year-old son declared that the fries were the most delicious ever.
We dined outside in the sunshine, appreciating that there were dog dishes on the patio for furry visitors, which the waitstaff happily filled. In fact, everyone seemed pretty happy — diners and staff alike. Even though Jamie had just finished feeding a big crowd for lunch, he too seemed in high spirits. That must mean that things are working out according to the Reyn-
olds’ plan; their mission for the restaurant is “Make people happy and have fun.” Paul shared that, “We want people to be happy while they’re here and come back. And we also want the people who work here
to be happy.” They’re working to create a place that people love, filled with great food and craft beer. It’s apparent their efforts are building loyal fans — and loyal staff. While Jamie struck me as a man of few words, he made it a point to stress that Paul and Laura were the two hardest workers he’s ever worked for, as well as some of the sweetest people he’s ever known.
Portage Tap House:
Mussels with Thai coconut sauce
East meets West in this savory, spicy dish. We recommend pairing it, like the restaurant does, with some lightly toasted pieces of your favorite sourdough bread.
6 cans coconut milk
1 1⁄4 cup sambal
1 Tbsp. minced garlic
1 Tbsp. fresh grated ginger 1 Tbsp. shallots, diced small 1 Tbsp. fish sauce
Vegetable stock
Mix all ingredients, which will be enough for several batches of mussels. For each 3⁄4 pound batch, add 1/4 cup vegetable stock and approximately 1 cup coconut sauce to a saucepan. Cook on medium-low heat, covered, until mussels open, stir- ring frequently.
 You can’t go wrong with a tender, perfectly cooked steak and crispy fries at Portage Tap House.
 Maria Yanni

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