Meet the Maker: Isa Bistro
We recently had the pleasure of seeing firsthand how Isa, Portland’s bayside neighborhood bistro uses a Le Creuset braiser that we carry in-store to create their newest menu item: octopus stew. So many of their menu items are inspired by Co-Owner and Head Chef Isaul’s world travels and his experience cooking dishes from many different cultures. It’s appropriate then that the restaurant utilizes Le Creuset’s newest color, Indigo, as the French cookware company itself drew inspiration for its latest shade from the natural blue pigments prized across cultures for thousands of years.
The Le Creuset enameled cast iron braiser is uniquely designed for maximum performance, transforming tough cuts of meat (such as dense octopus) and hearty vegetables into tender, flavorful dishes. This is the ideal piece of cookware for a recipe like this where food is first seared over medium heat, then finished slowly in a flavorful liquid.
Octopus Stew recipe here.
What was the inspiration behind Isa?
My husband and I met working together in NYC and knew fairly quickly we wanted to open our own space. We tried to create a space that is a reflection of us and our style, and wanted to make it cozy and inviting as if you were eating at our house. And there you have Isa.
Where do you source your ingredients from?
We try to source locally whenever we can and have found some amazing families and companies that are real mom 'n' pop shops, like us. The wall in our restaurant highlights places like Sumner Valley Farm (rabbits and ground beef), A Wee Bit Farm (bacon, osso buco, sausages), Stonecipher Farm (produce), North Star Sheep Farm (we butcher lamb in house every week) Tandem Coffee, Nellie's Tea, and We Compost It to name a few.
How has Isa changed over the years and what is your vision for the future?
Good question! I feel like you would have to ask our customers that question, but the hope is always to grow and evolve and never become complacent.
What do you wish more people knew about your restaurant?
We love what we do and we make everything here in-house.
Are there any upcoming events/menu items people should be aware of?
No upcoming events, per say, but after my husband's recent trip home to Mexico, we plan to add more Mexican dishes to the menu. Isa is a bistro, where there is something for everyone, but my husband's heritage will be a bit more apparent on the menu, instead of just using Mexican ingredients inserted here and there. Who doesn't love really good Mexican food? This octopus stew will definitely make its way on the menu.
To make your own octopus stew just as Chef Isaul does be sure to shop our Le Creuset braisers and browse their entire Indigo collection at one of our stores.