Review: LFK

Drinking and dining at portland’s newest hot spot
By BRIAN DUFF  |  August 1, 2012

food_lfk1_main
A KNIGHT’S TALE Crab salad and cocktails at LFK, where Cunningham Books used to be.

One of the clever decisions made by the proprietors of LFK, a new bar and eatery on Longfellow Square, was forgoing a literary name. Inside, a bookish theme emerges — tomes and typewriters appear around the bar and tables —and an emphasis on writing would get pretentious if pushed any harder.

Time was getting lost in a book or typing up a letter meant truly getting outside of oneself and seeking connection with another consciousness. But that sort of reading and typewritten composition are dead. Now we like a book because of what it says about us to like that book. Now the thoughtfully self-obsessed write in journals by hand and the more typically self-obsessed curate their own ideal public representation on computers. A typewriter is only useful to make our narcissism more precious, like a character in a Wes Anderson movie.

Besides, no one should write at a bar. As Twain explained, "wine is a clog to the pen." So if you see someone writing at LFK, stop them — an interruption made easier by LFK's communal tables. In spirit drunken chatting is the opposite of writing, and since so much of what we have to say is forgettable, it suits us better. The LFK tables, with their tapered ends, encourage cozy little gatherings of six or so — small enough to encourage conversation, but not so small that you can't maintain some semblance of a tête-à-tête. It's dim in there, despite the big front window, with lots of dark wood. Light ekes out of old-fashioned street lamps that hang from the high ceiling. The curved bar is handsome, without overdoing it, with purple plush barstools. In its humble way, it's a great looking place.

Despite offering a full menu, LFK is more about drinking and snacking then it is about a proper dinner — something confirmed by the near simultaneous arrival of our salads and entrees. The house cocktails are $9 apiece, and it is an interesting list — original but not fanciful. One gin drink called the Introduction was refreshing, with a nice red tint from Aperol (an Italian aperitif) and an interesting undercurrent of bitter tang. The West End Mule had a kick of sour heat that was hard to reckon with the ingredients (Maker's Mark, lime, mint, and ginger beer), but was still quite pleasant. There are a number of interesting and affordable wines by the glass, and microbrews on tap.

The menu is bar-friendly and pretty cheap, with plates of meat and cheese, salads, and sandwiches of different national origins (rumor has it they are working with a pizza oven back there, and if so they are deploying it creatively). The crab salad had plenty of buttery meat, atop nice greens dressed with a peppery, oil-sweet vinaigrette. Fresh corn added more sweetness, while slices of hard cheese might have been sharper. Since they'd run out of the cured meat plate, we tried the bacon-cheddar potato salad. It's a modest version of a modest dish, with a few big pieces of bacon adding some flavor and chew, but little flavor of cheddar.

1  |  2  |   next >
  Topics: Restaurant Reviews , Cocktails, Books, LFK,  More more >
| More


Most Popular
ARTICLES BY BRIAN DUFF
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   START DIGGING HERE  |  October 03, 2014
    Because music is now basically free (thanks to torrents, Pandoras, Spotifies, etc.), the only way for musicians to make money is through constant touring and related merchandise sales. Or they can appear as a judge on The Voice. Food, on the other hand, will still cost ya...
  •   PICK YOUR POISON  |  October 01, 2014
    The National Institutes of Health just published a randomized study that confirms the rumors: carbohydrates are poison and should be avoided. So how should we feel about Slab Sicilian Streetfood?
  •   A LITTLE WHINE  |  September 05, 2014
    The lessons of Lolita are that something simpler and less challenging can be lovely, and that some cheap wine could really loosen things up.
  •   TACOS ON THE TOWN  |  August 31, 2014
    While there’s no class mobility in this town, we do have taco mobility—even taco-class mobility.
  •   COPING WITH ADULTHOOD  |  August 07, 2014
    The neighborhood’s newish Central Provisions is grown up. But it also embodies our ambivalence about adulthood, and our persistent hope that a few more drinks will help us cope with it.

 See all articles by: BRIAN DUFF