“Broiling and grilling, the application of intense direct heat to meat and other foodstuffs, is probably the oldest, most basic, and most functional of the cooking process.” –James’s Beard’s “Theory and Practice of Good Cooking.”
In late summer of 2012, renowned Chef Vitaly Paley opened Imperial, a new venture in downtown Portland, Oregon that exemplifies this philosophy. At Imperial, Chef Paley, the Dean of Portland Chefs for many years, rediscovers Pacific Northwest culinary pathways and follows the footsteps of Oregon’s own James Beard. Since Paley’s Place opened in 1995 redefining the Portland culinary landscape, Chef Paley has mastered classic Pacific Northwest cuisine with his perfectly executed, elegant and soulful fare. Now, he applies these skills, creativity and experience at Imperial.
Imperial is located in historic Hotel Lucia, a combination that Paley knew was the right fit for his latest restaurant venture. “I’ve been wanting to open new restaurants in Portland for awhile now, but the concepts and locations had to be right. When I found the space in the historic Hotel Lucia, I knew that it was the right time for me to make the leap and I am so excited to share the food and just the overall experience Imperial and Portland Penny Diner will offer the region.” The restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, enabling Paley and his team to get even more creative with the cuisine.
At Imperial, Chef Paley explores menu ideas that have historic significance and uses cooking methods and ingredients from Oregon’s diverse bounty. The most prominent feature of Imperial’s kitchen is the impressive wood fire grill and rotisserie that incorporate the use of native hard and fruitwoods. Inspired by warm and primitive burning campfire, and big open spaces of the Pacific Northwest, Imperial concentrates on healthy and uncomplicated preparations, serving the community by remembering its past and providing a warm, welcoming and generous place to eat. Chef Paley also enlists Chef Benjamin Bettinger as his executive chef, bringing back the partnership that formed when Chef Bettinger worked at Paley’s Place, and two parts of the trio (with Paley’s Place Chef de Cuisine, Patrick McKee) that won “battle radish” on Iron Chef America in 2011.