PORTLAND, OR (March 24, 2017) – Chef Jenn Louis opens Ray, an Israeli restaurant, in Northeast Portland (www.raypdx.com; 3808 N Williams Ave). Ray captures the warm, bustling and inclusive atmosphere of the Israeli dinner table, celebrating the country’s diverse cultures and culinary traditions.
Ray’s seasonal menu is imbued with a straightforward and full-flavored style, inspired by Louis’ heritage and memories of Israel, including months cooking for a kibbutz community in Arava. Dinner starts with Smalls like Dates with Marcona almonds, lime and sea salt; Coffee Braised Egg with za’atar and olive oil; Lamb Flatbread with tomato and chili; Fried Half Quail with pomegranate molasses, date and mint; and Octopus with sumac and onions. Vegetables and Hummus round out the starters selection, such as Cabbage with turmeric, chili, orange and caraway; Garnet Yams with ras el hanout brown butter and dates; Beet Hummus and Labneh with turmeric pickled cabbage, harissa and egg; and Persian Spinach Puree with smoked olive oil. Salads include the Tahini Caesar with dill, sesame, walnut and sultana; and a Spring Israeli Salad with cucumber, radicchio, cabbage, celery, parsley and lemon; while Larger plates bring Skirt Steak with harissa and greens; Whole Chicken Leg Hawaij with potatoes and nettles; Braised Lamb with dried lime, rice and fries; Shakshuka For Four with Merguez; and a Shawarma Burger: two thin lamb patties, harissa, iceberg lettuce and options to add egg, corned beef bacon or foie gras.
Desserts include Tangerines with labneh, almonds, chocolate and honey; Malabi: traditional milk pudding with pistachios, sesame brittle and ginger; Semolina Olive Oil Cake with rosebud syrup; Mandelbrot: Jewish almond cookies with hazelnuts; and Honey Soft Serve Ice Cream with chocolate tahini sauce and dates.
Ray features a playful cocktail program led by Louis. Offerings include the Askenazi with vodka, Kahlua and tahini; Grapefruit Arak with honey and orange blossom; Goat Hanger with tequila and pomegranate; Shepard’s Shiftie with Old Tom Gin and IPA; Tel Aviv Sunrise with arak, orange and cherry; and The Adonis with Sherry and Orange.
Located within the converted warehouse formerly home to Louis’ acclaimed Lincoln restaurant, Ray’s 75-seat interior showcases exposed beams, industrial-inspired cement flooring and soaring floor to ceiling windows that open onto the sidewalk. Two new communal tables anchor the space, made of local reclaimed wood and each seating nine, complete with dim sum-style lazy Susan platforms for easy sharing. A new focal art piece by Jolby Designs which reads “Welcome” in Hebrew and Arabic is installed on the back wall of the restaurant.
About Jenn Louis
Jenn Louis has competed on Bravo’s “Top Chef Masters,” was named one of Food & Wine’s “Best New Chefs,” and her simple, sophisticated cooking style, utilizing seasonal Pacific Northwest ingredients, has earned her two nominations for the James Beard Foundation Award of Best Chef: Northwest. Her debut cookbook, “Pasta By Hand” published in 2015, which was nominated for an IACP from the International Association of Culinary Professionals in the category of “Single Subject Cookbooks,” and her second book, “The Book Of Greens” debuts in April 2017. Jenn is actively involved with nonprofits including Alex’s Lemonade and Share Our Strength. She resides in Portland, OR with her two cats, Wasco and Silverado Silverstein, and loves to play the drums, work in her garden, and cook for her neighbors.
Ray is located at 3808 N. Williams Ave. in Portland. The restaurant is open for Dinner Tuesday–Thursday from 5:30-9:00 PM; Friday–Saturday 5:30-10:00 PM; and a special Happy Hour menu is offered Tuesday–Friday from 5:30-7:00 PM. Brunch service will launch this summer. To contact the restaurant, please call or visit www.raypdx.com.