May 7, 2006

Echo (2225 NE Martin Luther King Blvd.)

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In an effort to know our surrounding city more intimately, my friends and I set out to explore new venues for late-night menus and ended up at Echo in Northeast Portland.

Our table was by a window, a booth looking out at MLK Blvd., which was a nice quiet view for a Saturday night.

The waitress filled our skinny, tall water glasses from a pitcher laden with sliced cucumbers. A new experience, drinking cucumber water, but it was quite refreshing and left a summery taste in my mouth that cleaned my palate after each bite. The Diet Coke was very strong and had a bite of its own. The best I have had since I visited the Coke Museum in Atlanta ten years ago.

We ordered the Baked Crab and Artichoke Dip, the Grilled Pizza, and the Hummus Plate. The Crab and Artichoke dip came with a small chunk of Italian bread, which was quite spongy and thinly sliced and not stiff enough for the thick and hearty dip, making the dipping process a little awkward and slightly messy (even embarrassing at times!)

The Hummus Plate came with some excellent flatbread and the hummus itself was not shy. It stood out on the plate with the corner on flavor, a strong garlic taste, and complemented the olives, artichokes and flatbread quite well.

The Grilled Pizza was pretty much the same as the hummus plate... without the hummus. The same flatbread with a garlic base, topped with tomatoes, olives and a little cheese. It was not spectacular, but it was pleasant, nonetheless.

One of my favorite things about this restaurant was the menu, which was fastened onto slats of wood, tied together to make a book of sorts. The atmosphere at the restaurant Echoed the menus, classic with solid wood surrounding and intended to last a very long time.

The mix and match antique-looking china dishes were another shout-out from the chic modern-day Portland to the bygone era when people actually used delicate flower-adorned plates with gold rims.

Despite CitySearch's claim that it is a night spot for thirty-somethings, it was mostly filled with the chic senior citizen crowd of Portland. Maybe it was just that night. It was a good night. That night I was served the best Diet Coke in Portland. And the cucumber water. That was a great thing. Watch for it at my next party.

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