Even though it’s just across the river from Portland, Oregon, I don’t spend as much time in Vancouver as I probably should. It’s a really cool area, though and it’s undergoing an urban revitalization. One of my resolutions for 2018 is to try out new things and one of those new things is discovering my neighbor to the North.
It’s off to a good start.
I love eating. I love food and I love the dining experience. Fine dining, though, is not something that I do enough of. It’s typically stuffy and expensive, and the portions are barely the size of a small appetizer. But, that was before I discovered Willem’s on Main, which serves upscale Northwest Cuisine.
Founded by Netherlands native Paul Klitsie, Willem’s On Main is located in the heart of historic downtown Vancouver, Washington at 907 Main Street. Willem’s on Main uses a minimal amount of ingredients to bring about maximum flavor. They showcase seasonal local meats and produce when available, which are then prepared with an Italian influence. This kid friendly upscale dining experience will blow your mind, as it did mine.
ChefKlitsie, when asked why he wanted to become a chef, answered: “I want to teach people that there’s so much more to food then just comfort and/or nutrition. Well prepared food will make your day, mediocre food stuffs your tummy and makes you feel guilty. I went to college and started to really like to create different dishes, classic and modern. Why not build a career out of something I love to do?”
That passion is evident in favorite dishes such as the polenta, the speatzle, and the pork loin. It’s evident in the way that the food is lovely presented, a feast for your eyes before the real feast begins. It’s evident in the ambiance and the décor, which would best be described as elegant and sparse, yet cozy and quaint.
I remember entering for our meal, a little nervous because the price point was a little higher than what I am typically interested in spending on a night out. But, the server put me right at ease with her hospitality and kindness. I felt, as the cliché goes, right at home and, after perusing the beer and wine menu (which is half off on Thursdays) I ordered my drink and meal and relaxed and began to enjoy the company. See, unlike most elegant restaurants, Willems on Main feels tranquil and friendly. I didn’t feel the stuffiness I thought I would and, when I got my meal, not only was it delicious, but it also filled me up. Another rarity in the world of fine dining.
Reservations are recommended at this popular joint. For more information, visit, http://www.willemsonmain.com/. It may not be in Portland, but it may as well be. I loved my experience. Let me know how you like yours.