I am never disappointed when I eat at Party Downtown. Eugenians are truly blessed to have such a wonderful locally centered and organic restaurant. When you walk in it is immediately apparent that this is not a pretentious place. The smells, a blend of browned butter, onions, garlic and fresh-baked bread tantalize the nostrils. The tables are simply and elegantly dressed with antique silver place settings that do not match, all part of the eclectic feel that is further enhanced by the driftwood, moss and succulent wall décor. The space is probably only 1000 square feet, but you never feel a lack of privacy when seated next to another party. The specials board is hung on the wall and handwritten by whoever has the time that day, no fancy penmanship, everything is hand done here, from the house-made soda syrups to the fresh baked bread served with at least one of the appetizers each night.
The wait staff wear regular street clothes, no aprons, and give you just the right amount of attention and privacy. In the back of the restaurant is the Red Wagon Creamery which faces Broadway Avenue. If one of the restaurants decadent desserts doesn’t tickle your fancy the creamery is sure to have an ice cream that will. Tucked in between is a little full-service bar; It never ceases to amaze me how much can be stuffed into such a small space.
Recently my husband and I and a couple of friends had a delicious dinner there. We enjoyed a French toast appetizer stuffed with an herbed cream cheese and Dungeness crab filling, topped with a citrus butter, drizzled with maple syrup, Amazing! This is the kind of delicacy you will find on Party Downtowns ever-changing menu. Their philosophy is to buy local and organic, eat local and make it taste great! They even have a board over the register that lists all of the farms and purveyors they deal with. The Chef and her husband own and run the place with a bottomless desire to please each and everyone that enters this simple but elegant restaurant.
The immensely talented chef creates with her heart, and you can feel it in the food. The menu which changes daily is put together with the creative mind of an artist. Where else can you find a wonton appetizer filled with a duck meatball so delicate it melts in your mouth and a wild mushroom burger topped with thick smoked salty bacon, poblano pimento cheese and caramelized onions on a freshly made buttery brioche bun? All of which was incredibly messy and scrumptious I might add. My husband was delighted with his rockfish platter which was battered and crisply fried but not greasy; served with sautéed potatoes and shitake mushrooms in a lite garlic butter sauce. Our friends started with fried gnocchi that had two dipping sauces, one an apple butter vinaigrette, and the second a creamy herb sauce; the tangy vinaigrette contrasted with the herbs, and both complemented the delicately fried gnocchi perfectly.
In the past, my husband and I have enjoyed a tempura king oyster appetizer that we have yet to find words to describe and potato encrusted deep fried cod balls. When we cut into the crispy balls the fish was firm, white and moist, the potato, buttery with a hint of garlic. On our very first visit, I had the locally raised beef burger loaded with fried onions, roasted peppers, bacon, greens and a garlic aioli, again a delicious messy concoction of perfection. My husband had roast duck breast dripping with warm apricot glaze, accompanied by steamed spring vegetables and a mesclun salad.
Party Downtown is our favorite restaurant in Eugene. There are others that are good but none that tempt our pallets with such a fantastic plethora of flavors as Party Downtown does.