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Satisfying Saturdays
Joel Palmer House

93 Oregon’s Joel Palmer House 600 Ferry Street Dayton Oregon 97114 By Charles Olken

If you search for good restaurants in Oregon wine country on virtually any list, from any source, using almost any criterion save cheap, you will find the Joel Palmer House coming up at the very top—not just near the top mind you—at the top. No real surprise there, this old house with its plantation columns hides a gem in its interior, but the gem is not just the comfortable country décor. It is the food that keeps me and visitors from everywhere coming back at every opportunity.

And, if you are in Portland, a city with a remarkable culinary tradition for a city its size, and you do the same search, chances are you will find the Joel Palmer house at the top of the list. So broad is this delightful restaurant’s pull that it simply transcends specific locale and is, in many learned opinions, the place to go in Oregon when distance is no object.

To say that its menu is creative is not the point, because no matter how creative it is, and frankly, there are more avant garde eateries in Portland proper, some thirty miles away, it is the love of mushrooms and truffles that separates the Joel Palmer House from virtually any other, and not just those in Oregon. On recent trip there, we started with the famous Wild Mushroom Soup and followed with the equally famous Three-Mushroom tart.

Virtually every main course features mushrooms heavily in its design whether it is the mushroom coated wild salmon or the filet with porcini or scallops with a wild mushroom duxelle or the pork and black chanterelles. Now, all this fungus might seem like a bit of a gimmick, but in this case it is a studied discipline that developed over the years. And while there are mushrooms from first to last, including the special six-course Mushroom Madness Menu, it is not the mushrooms themselves that separate the Joel Palmer house but the quality of the fresh ingredients and the incredibly good cooking. If you have any reason to be anywhere near the restaurant, you owe it to yourself to experience one of wine country’s most unique dining treats.

Joel Palmer House
600 Ferry Street
Dayton, Oregon 97114
(503) 864-2995

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Joel Palmer House
by Christian Miller
Posted on:11/29/2010 1:14:48 PM

My last dinner at the Joel Palmer House was in 2007. Even now I can still recall the incredibly vivid taste of the Three Mushroom Tart, may it stay on the menu forever. Talk about a long finish!

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