Fenouil Does French Right

**Update: Fenouil has unfortunately closed its doors as of April 2011**

Summer came this weekend, just for a moment during our dreaded June-uary. Fenouil, with its open air dining room in NW, captured a blissful place between France and Portland.

The France part? Simple, carefully prepared dishes that take already stellar ingredients like mussels and Northwest clams, and bring life to them with the bright flavors of lemon and fennel. Les Moules et les Palourde may be in the peitit plat section, but it is a hefty portion of seafood, served in a copper bucket.

Symbolizing Portland is a cocktail titled Le Veit Nam with fresh cilantro, gin, and a sliced jalepeno (which the waiter warned was EXTREMELY SPICY even though there were no seeds). The cocktail is refreshing and tastes like its made from a farmer’s market visit.

In its own category were Pommes Frites, which are optionally ( and I highly recommend you take this option) cooked in duck fat, providing a rich salty aftertaste that married well with the creaminess of the accompanied aioli.

So, a little France, a little Portland and a little summer combined for a fabulous first dinner of summer. I can’t wait to go back for more oysters on the half shell and perhaps some bubbly. Now, if the sun will just come back and stay…..

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