I made my second trip to Deschutes' Pearl pub last night--the first tim in years and years I've been to a pub two nights in a row. The special return trip was occasioned by Sally's interest; she was unable to join me on Wednesday. We had one of their pizzas, a $12 entree that we ordered to split more as an appertiser.
Let me stipulate: I'm no foodie. I enjoy good food, but I don't know what I'm tasting, what the ingredients are, what the dish's lineage is, or how it is prepared. I generally minimize this weakness by focusing on the beer, which is what I've done with Deschutes. But based on that pizza and an anonymous comment here (take that for what it's worth), I'm wondering if the kitchen needs some focused attention, stat.
Our mushroom pizza was unimpressive: doughy, undercooked, and not particularly thrilling in terms of sauce or topping. It was also wee. I have no sense of these things, but maybe six inches across--and twelve bucks. It was billed as an entree, but I can't imagine what kind of waif would find it satisfying. The problem isn't the price or the size--people are used to spending a lot and getting a little in the Pearl--but the quality. Portland now has an abundance (or possibly over-abundance) of exceptional, innovative eateries. If you drop $5 mil and open a place in the center of the Pearl, you better offer decent food. People will come for beer, and they'll come because it's Deschutes, but they won't return for the food if it doesn't meet the standards of the neighborhood.
Of course, all of this comes with one VERY BIG caveat: they haven't even had the grand opening yet (that's tonight). I have a standard practice of giving a brewpub at least a month, and generally two or three, to get their kitchen in order. And maybe it's just the pizza that's so-so. I'm keeping an open mind. Report back if you've been there and tried the food--I'm curious to know what others have found.