photo by Carly Diaz

“Without tradition there is nada,” José Chesa, Sr., told Emily Metivier, the wine director at his son’s new tapas-centric restaurant, Chesa. In February 2016, Chesa the elder had traveled from Barcelona to Portland to raise a glass of Sherry at the opening. This is the second restaurant for José Chesa, Jr., who’s gained a national reputation for the artistic tapas he cooks up at Ataula. At Chesa, his new place across the river, he takes a more traditional approach, playing salt cod brandade off of a black olive and fig olivada, and infusing croquetas with earthy porcinis and sage. Yet he still lets his creativity run wild, topping crunchy pork rinds with escabeche mussels and chipotle, and serving foie gras in lollipop form, sprinkled with Jacobsen’s salt. Chesa Sr. plays a role, too, working with Metivier on the Spanish-centric bottle list. The focus is on Sherry and Rioja, with some offbeat finds like Teso Blanco (a blend of palomino, rufete blanca and muscatel) and El Maestro Sierra Pedro Ximénez Viejisimo, a sweet wine that has spent at least fifty years in a solera.

Restaurant Info

2218 NE Broadway St., Portland, Oregon



This review appears in the print edtion of the June 2016 issue.
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