Beeswing is a true gem. If I could choose one brunch spot in Portland as my favorite, Beeswing would be it. What a pleasant surprise it was when I found out that they also started serving dinner five days a week. The restaurant, which is located in the Cully neighborhood of Northeast Portland, opened at the beginning of 2017. It’s a collaboration between chef Ian Watson, pastry chef Marissa Lorette and co-owner Kevin Dorney. Keven, originally from Manchester, England, is also the co-owner of the nearby British pub, the Moon and Sixpence. He’s one of the nicest front of house guys you’ll ever meet. He greets regular customers by name and always remembers your order.
The food is excellent and well priced, the people are friendly and welcoming and the atmosphere is true Portland charm. Going to Beeswing is like taking a trip back to your hometown and seeing your old friends at the local diner. However, instead of diner food, you can order Belgian waffles with local berries, whipped cream and homemade lemon curd!
No matter how long the line gets, Beeswing keeps things moving. There’s plenty of seating inside as well as an additional seating area outside with covered tables in a large courtyard. At Beeswing, the writing is literally on the walls. Old articles from the Oregonian paper the walls, documenting moments in world history over the last century. Every time I go there I look forward to reading this living wallpaper. The stories document such events as the eruption of Mt. St. Helen’s, the assassination of President Kennedy, protestors of the Vietnam war, the invasion of Normandy, and WWI, all told through the eyes of Oregonians. This attention to detail is one of the things I like most about Beeswing.
Even though I had been to Beeswing many times for breakfast, I had yet to try their dinner service. I decided to go in on a Thursday night, ready to try whatever dinner creations that came out of the kitchen. Chef Ian couldn’t have been more accommodating and welcoming. Before opening Beeswing, Ian cooked at some of the best restaurants in Portland, many of which are my favorites, including Pok Pok, Old Salt, Clyde Common and the legendary Italian eatery Genoa. Looking at his extensive resume, I knew I was going to love whatever he made.
I took a seat at a table outside and waited for the food to arrive. The table was soon filled with gorgeous food. The server brought out three well plated dishes as well as some delectable looking desserts and coffee drinks.
The first dish I tried was a bowl of braised beef short ribs served with roasted fingerling potatoes and grilled asparagus with the perfect amount of char. The braising broth in the bottom of the bowl was bright and citrusy, the perfect complement to the meat, which was tender and fell right off the bone.
The next dish was the Fried Chicken Sando, a Japanese inspired “karaage” fried chicken sandwich. The chicken was perfectly crispy, served on a freshly baked brioche bun that was also excellent. The sandwich packed a punch from the addition of some pickled vegetables, including spicy jalapeños and thin slices of Japanese daikon radish, not something you typically find on a sandwich, but a really nice surprise. The server told me that this was one of Beeswing’s most popular items. I could easily see why people would come back for this “sando” again and again.
Finally, I tried the mussels and frites. A generous helping of mussels were propped up in a large bowl filled with a vibrant red broth which was a combination of juicy tomatoes, red bell peppers, smoked paprika and Spanish chorizo. The addition of hard apple cider, rather than the traditional braising liquid of white wine, added a deep, rich flavor that was both sweet and acidic and helped tenderize the mussels. I picked up a mussel and scooped some of the sauce into the shell. It was an explosion of flavors, colors and aromas, honestly one of my favorite dishes in town.
The desserts were the perfect finale to the meal. The raspberry rhubarb pie was outstanding, not too sweet or tart, with one of the flakiest crusts I’ve ever had. Pastry chef Marissa Lorette has created a masterful collection of pastries at Beeswing. She has previously worked at some of the best bakeries in Portland, including the award winning Bakeshop. She makes my favorite cookie in town, a chocolate chip cookie dusted with sea salt on top, which I always order with coffee every time I go there. It’s easily one of my favorite pastry/coffee pairings in Portland.
Another standout pastry was the chocolate glazed donut. This donut was so good, I ate the whole thing before snapping a photo. You’ll just have to go there yourself to taste how good it is, soft and cakey, with an addictive chocolate glaze on top.
I sat back at the end of the meal, feeling happy and satisfied. It’s amazing what a great meal can do to lift your spirits. This is what the team at Beeswing manages to do every time I’m there. I really thank them for their contribution to the Portland food scene. I think of them as a family of people who really care about the food they’re making and the customers who come in to enjoy it. The pride they take in their food and the welcoming atmosphere are why I go back to Beeswing again and again. Please go try this place! I promise you’ll feel exactly as I do!
The people at Beeswing put their hearts and souls into this place, and it clearly shows. In such a short period of time, it’s become a part of the cultural fabric of the Cully neighborhood, serving as a place for families and friends to get together to enjoy fantastic food in a great atmosphere. If the writing is on the wall at Beeswing, it says that this place will be around for a long time to come.
Beeswing is open Mon-Tues 8 am to 3 pm, Wed-Sunday 8 am to 9 pm and serves dinner and cocktails Wed-Sunday from 5 pm to 9 pm.
4318 NE Cully Blvd
Portland, OR 97218