It felt like summer had come early to Portland this year at Callaloo's opening party on April 6. This Caribbean-themed restaurant has a tropical atmosphere and great food. I started with conch fritters and a tropical fruit salad, which contained mango, papaya, avocado, jicama and sapote. The cocktail menu features a wide variety of drinks, but I especially liked the Painkiller (rum, coconut, pineapple, orange, and nutmeg). Then I tried the callaloo stew. This is a gumbo made with crab, callaloo, pumpkin, okra, coconut milk and spices. It was peppery and spicy in a pleasant way.
I very rarely eat red meat, but for this occasion I had the hangar steak as a main course. This came with grilled scallions, onions, and sweet potato. I finished with a "Piranha," which is a Coke with vodka and chocolate flavoring -- it tastes kind of like a cola truffle.
Callaloo is owned by Kevin and Colleen Peck, who are also responsible for the Capitol Coffeehouse and Bistro. I like both restaurants for a lot of the same reasons: they have high quality food with a creative menu and a fun, relaxed atmosphere.
Callaloo is located at 1639 NW Glisan in Portland, OR.