Category Archives: SE Portland

Ken’s Artisan Pizza

margherita

The first thing you see when you walk into Ken’s Artisan Pizza on Burnside is a large, neat stack of firewood that fits in so well with the restaurant decor that it actually took me a while to realize that it was the same wood that was being used to keep the oven fired. The combination of warm, well-placed hanging lights and the fiery pizza oven makes the spacious Ken’s a cozy, elegant pizza place.

Just like the ‘za I miss so much from home, the pizza at Ken’s is crispy-crusted and charred just enough to give you a taste of the oven it was fired in. I tried a total of four of their pizzas: fennel sausage with onion, spicy sopresatta, winter squash with a hard goat cheese, and, of course, the standard margherita.

Winter squash and goat cheese

If you’re looking to grab a cheap slice of ‘za, then KAP isn’t the place you want. Rather than slices Ken’s does individual 12” pies cut into quarters, which, at 12.99 each and made with such high quality ingredients, I’d say are priced extremely fairly. According to the menu each pizza serves 1-2 people, which in my experience translates to: serves 2 unless you’re really pretty hungry and aren’t drinking a couple pints of the microbrews (Amnesia red, Terminal Gravity IPA) they have on tap.

This is our first review of artisanal pizza. We plan on making our way over to Apizza Scholl’s and Nostrana soon to give us a better sense of this slice of the pizza industry here in Portland, but I will say that though the crust is charred, it’s not slightly scorched all throughout the underside, which some may deem inauthentic. It’s a crispy crust but not crackery. Our waitress got the job done efficiently but was a little cold at first. I look forward to going back after visits to the two places mentioned above (plus anywhere else you, our gracious readers, recommend).

EDP

Ken’s Artisan Pizza
304 SE 28th (map)
(503) 517-9951
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Stark Naked

Stark Naked offered a quiet escape from the bustling avenue adjacent its doors. The Saturday night we ventured within was a surprisingly slow night for the establishment, us four weary travelers accompanied by perhaps two other patrons and the young lady behind the counter. The interior was black and kitschy, with only the fluorescence of a bright beer cooler penetrating the dark. Most of the seating opinions immediately within the entrance were booths of hard and perpendicular wood, which may offer some insight into the relative dearth of customers. There was additional seating back beyond the counter, but the atmosphere was too dark to make a proper assessment of the space, besides to say that no human noises emanated from it.

Approximately four pies spun, with a quiet buzz, beneath a heat lamp atop the counter, drawing us near not unlike one of those blue lights that attracts and electrocutes insects. But instead of a horrific death, we were treated to a pizza of admirable balance. The crust was thin and agile, but well equipped to handle the pizza attached to it. Grease was present, but not in such a quantity that required a napkin dabbing. Subtle waves of cheese crested to a beautiful light brown, reflecting a conscious attention to quality that is sure to guarantee a fine slice of ‘za. Price wise, Stark Naked is a good value, though if you are in search of a jumbo New York-style slice, you may need to invest in more than one. Unfortunately, issues of size, and of course an absence of orgasmic-quality, prevent us from giving a rating higher than a 3.

DT.

Stark Naked Pizza
2835 SE Stark (map)
(503) 459-4450
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