matt's chef series.jpg
Photo by Leslie Kelly
Gabriel Rucker from PDX gets diners fired up at Matt's In the Market's Planes, Trains and Traveling Chefs series.
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Matt's In The Market Guest Chef Series Soars; Pok Pok's Andy Ricker Up Next

matt's chef series.jpg
Photo by Leslie Kelly
Gabriel Rucker from PDX gets diners fired up at Matt's In the Market's Planes, Trains and Traveling Chefs series.
More than a week later, I'm still dreaming about this magical meal at Matt's In The Market, a six-course feast featuring all sorts of amazing dishes cooked, tag-team-style, by chef Chet Gerl and Portland sensation Gabriel Rucker. But it was the fat, sweet scallop cooked sous vide in squid ink -- so it was dark on the outside, snowy white within -- all snuggled up to the most incredible crab-potato salad I've ever eaten, a flavor bomb topped with a raw egg yolk, bruleed with a blow torch before serving that made me want to sign up for a lifetime membership in the chef Gabe fan club. Holy smokes, that was brilliant!

What the heck is the guy from LePigeon and Little Bird, the winner of the James Beard Foundation's Best Young Chef in America doing at Matt's in the Market? He was the first in the restaurant's Plans, Trains and Traveling Chef series. And man, if he didn't set the bar awfully high.

These dinners -- held Mondays over the next month -- are a collaboration between Matt's chef Gerl and the featured guest chef, who trade off courses in these six-course menus. (Darn, you just missed the incomparable Vikram Vij from Vancouver, B.C., who was here this week.)

Another James Beard award winner is up next on this stunning lineup. Pok Pok's Andy Ricker is so freaking hot right now, with his Pok Pok Wing joint in NYC getting rave reviews. Hard to believe our good fortune that he's found an open spot on his calendar May 7 for this special dinner at Matt's. Hurry and save your seat before it's sold out.

Yeah, the $125 tab is pricey, but look at it this way: It's cheaper than taking a plane or the train to PDX or Vancouver or San Francisco, which is where Dominque Creen has the Michelin-starred Atelier Crenn. She's flying into Seattle on May 14. Can't wait.

Beast's Naomi Pomeroy closes out this stellar series on June 11. It's near impossible to get a rezzie at her restaurant, so I wouldn't be surprised to find a few devoted fans from Portlandia making the trip up here to eat her much-lauded cooking.

Even considering this star-studded cast still set to appear, it's hard to imagine any dish topping those out-of-the-world scallops. So clever without being all chef-y and pretentious. Just flat-out, utterly delicious. Oh, I know the "D" word is cliche, but damn, it works to describe that dish.

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