3/4 A dating anniversary just doesn’t have the same gravitas as a wedding anniversary, but after a decade of monogamous non-marriage I would take steak over the traditional ten-year-gift of tin, anyway. I almost always happen to be out of town on Labor Day, which I count as my first date (James thinks it was sometime in October), so I get to try a variety of non-NYC celebratory restaurants.
Laurelhurst Market is a butcher shop by day, restaurant showcasing these cuts and more by night. I swear this now-chic heavily windowed restaurant across the street from Music Millennium used to be a Plaid Pantry. It might’ve still been a Plaid Pantry this time last year. Who knows? Such is the nature of the new Portland, which isn’t all that different from the old Portland except now the food is better.
During a leisurely dinner, I like to start with a cocktail then move onto wine with the food but it never really works that way. We only spent a few minutes at the bar where I ordered a bourbon-based, bitters and champagne-topped Seelbach, before our table was ready. No, I’m not complaining, especially since every single other Portland dining experience involved epic waits.
Suppli al telefono were super Mozarella-y fritters that also contained risotto and short ribs. Normally, not a fan of arancini, a Carroll Gardens staple, these appealed because they didn’t rely so heavily on rice.
Marrow bones enhanced by olive oil and herbs, in this case pistou, are wonderful with toast. These particular bones seemed lacking in enough gelatinous goodness. I like more goopy chunks and really put the little fork to work scraping out every last fatty bit.
My flat iron steak accompanied by chimichurri was tender and medium-rare as requested. I would’ve given it higher marks until I tasted James’s medium culotte. It wasn’t the cuts of meat that were so different in flavor but the char. Mine needed a little more contrast between pink center and surface. The three leftover pieces were a great room temperature pre-breakfast the following morning.
Niman Ranch culotte with charred tomato salsa.
I’d never heard of pocha beans before this trip and ended up eating them both here and at Clyde Common. The white legumes were tossed with squash and seasoned with thyme. My one attempt at a healthy dish.
Sometimes I’m indifferent to dessert after so much rich food but in this case more richness was in order. I love all things caramel-ly and this dulce de leche cheesecake was perfection. I ate more berries in my one week in Oregon than I had all summer combined.
Laurelhurst Market * 3155 Burnside St., Portland, OR
The flat iron steak was ordered medium rare and was delivered rare and cold. The meat pulled and dragged with the cutting motion of the knife. The meat tasted like the grill had not been cleaned and prepped.
We did, however, liked the mussels. But, unfortunately, the restaurant seemed like so many other restaurants in Portland. The restaurants in Portland feel like they are all operated under one entity. The menu appears the same in far too many places.