Corky @ Brasserie Montmartre

I was in Portland, OR last week on business and decided to check out the local jazz scene. No big surprise there. After doing a quick internet search, I determined that the best bets would be the Brasserie Montmartre and Jimmy Mak’s. I had been to the Brasserie several times long ago and had a blast. It was on the verge of being condemned, and closed for a long time for upgrading and remodeling. It reopened a couple of years ago, and while it still retains the black and white checkerboard floor, great food and music, it has lost a whole lot of the funkiness which I so enjoyed. Gone are the butcher paper tablecloths for drawing on (it used to be frequented by students from the Art Institute), though they did save and frame a lot of the best ones  for wall decor, and the roaming magician who could make your signed card miraculously appear pinned to the ceiling was nowhere to be seen. I ordered off the bar menu and had the Menage a Trois (a charcuterie platter) and the soup de jour – lobster bisque). It was very good, as was the Sidecar, mixed by Jason, the friendly and knowledgeable bartender.

DK Stewart 2009

DK Stewart

Local musician D.K. Stewart was playing  a bluesy mix on the piano with vocals. He hung out a bit at the bar before his set started and chatted. One of the great things about the Monday night music scene – you can often hang with the musicians before the show or between sets. I really liked his style, as you could tell he was classically trained and had unexpected chops that kept each piece interesting. I sometimes get bored with straight blues, but Stewart was able to constantly surprise me with unique and colorful phrasings that added a definite jazz flair. I hope to make a return visit, have a sit down dinner, more drinks and stay up later dancing the night away.

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One Comment to “Brasserie Montmartre”

  1. […] can do on a Monday night in Portland is to head on down to Jimmy Mak’s to listen to guitarist Dan Balmer and whatever incarnation of his group is performing. Not only is the music stupendous, it’s […]