The hood of Vuong Loc's brand spankin' new wood-burning grill sat on the floor for four months. He and wife/business partner Tricia were busy jumping through permitting hoop after hoop, and all the while, there it sat, eventually coming to symbolize all they were working toward. Well, it's been a long and delay-ridden road for Loc (late of Portage and also June), but he'll finally get to put that hood to good use tonight at the grand opening of Pomerol, his cooly industrial French-Northwest bistro in Fremont.
The Snapshot: It’s got all the trappings of a beloved neighborhood spot: farm-to-table Euro fare, a solid cocktail program with minimal gastro-nonsense, middling prices, tidy tables for two. The menu has all the French influence of its predecessor, Portage, but none of the preciousness: escargot terrine and white tablecloths have given way to rustic fire-roasted mains and iron steelwork.
Eat: Foie gras, and lots of it. Sourced from Puyallup’s Pleasant Valley Farm. It shows up on Loc’s opening night menu no fewer than three times—whether floated, crouton-like, on a cold heirloom tomato soup, or paired with oak ember–roasted berries, brioche, and nuoc mam caramel. Speaking of which, there are a few fusion-y gestures on this menu, from a Palouse garbanzo pakora to a thai chili mignonette atop Kumamoto oysters. A coddled egg dish (with, you guessed it, foie) comes by way of Abundant Acres Farm in Toledo, where chickens are free to roost in the wild. Loc promises that the resulting eggs, painstakingly harvested one by one, are “the most amazing eggs you’ve ever seen.” That has to undo some of the karmic debt of three foie dishes, right?
Drink: Of course, you’d be remiss not to pop open a bottle of Pomerol—Loc promises a “decent selection” of the beloved regional red for which the restaurant is named. Many other French wines appear on the list, and some Northwest picks will round things. The bartender, a longtime Loc collaborator, will offer a small traditional drink list alongside some house cocktails, both with a focus on local distilleries. No word on whether any of the cocktails will feature foie. Oh, and the bar has a fancy-schmancy espresso machine, which Loc notes has become par for the course in stocking a full bar.
Sit: Inside what used to be a Turkish rug shop, updated with additional square footage and the aforementioned massive wood-burning grill. There’s a brass bar, exposed beams, concrete floors, little wooden tables, and the occasional splash of ruby red. Imagine Cafe Presse dragged through the Fremont Foundry, and you’ve got Pomerol.
Bonus Intel: The back deck will be lit for nighttime dining—and the restaurant’s OpenTable page is all set up, so you can snag yourself a spot.