0515 chizu aejvxq

Chizu makes cheese the object of worship.

Image: Karen Brooks

 
Every month, we dig through our restaurant listings to bring you a themed (and non-comprehensive!) roundup of places to eat out in Portland. In the July 2017 issue, we highlight 13 spots that don't mess around with their beer menus.

Chizu

Steve Jones lives to share his latest cheese finds—the American farmhouse beauty, the insider artisan wheel, an oddball delight from a local or global up-and-comer. In 2015, the owner of top-notch Cheese Bar masterminded a sushi experience that makes cheese, not fish, the object of worship. Sit at the counter, where Jones’s changing collection of chizu (Japanese for “cheese”) gleams from glass boxes, 30 options daily, served by the slice and accessorized with little surprises like fresh-made wasabi hazelnuts. Grab a beer or a sake, and, to get in the spirit, name your price and order the omakase, or “chef’s choice.” Then watch a true fromage poet create a dream cheese plate to match.

Grain & Gristle

At this rustic neighborhood nose-to-tail pub, timely patrons can be rewarded with a generous “2-fer Dinner Special,” a double portion of whatever hearty delight is on offer that day—steaks to roasted chickens, plus veg and beers. On a recent visit, duos tucked into tender grilled pork with a potato, beet, and carrot hash zinging with harissa paste—clinking their brewskies (Upright co-owner Alex Ganum keeps a seasonal cast of his award-winning brews on rotation at the bar) with the aplomb of those with full bellies and wallets.

Higgins

One of the first farm-to-table restaurants to open in Portland in the early 1990s, Higgins has staying power. This can be attributed in part to its timeless cuisine: impressive house-cured charcuterie, seasonal risottos, and a walloping whole-pig plate, not to mention chef-owner Greg Higgins’s longtime loyalty to the local farmers who produce his ingredients, which translates to a surprisingly vegan-friendly menu. Regulars often skip the white-tablecloth dining room and settle in at the homey, wood-worn back bar, with its formidable beer list, uptown lunch menu, and some of the city’s best soups, changing daily.

Interurban

This dusky North Mississippi watering hole lures the hungover and hungry on weekend mornings with balanced cocktails and burly breakfast fare, often soundtracked by ’80s rock. The menu runs from biscuits with boar sausage gravy to super puffy buttermilk poppyseed pancakes that taste like Costco muffins (in the best way) drizzled with zingy lemon curd. The finest mornings start with a salty, smoked, fried half game hen perched on a toasty house biscuit. Slather everything in tangy jalapeño butter and coffee–bourbon–brown sugar syrup, and devour every crunchy morsel between sweet, tart swigs of a gin-applejack-apricot Golden Dawn. 

Pomo 1116 eat la moule zdo2m9

Mussels and fries at La Moule

La Moule

At La Moule, St. Jack’s Francophile chef Aaron Barnett reintroduces Portland to mussels and fries with a globe-spanning take on Belgium’s national dish, plus a side of moody lighting and great cocktails. Its comfy black booths are sweet, dimly lit nooks for sharable, date-night mussels steamed in four flavorful broths, with a menu bookended by French-inspired bar fare, like a burger with a thick slice of bacon and double-cream brie on top. La Moule pulls double duty as a serious bar. Cocktails like the Lilah are approachable, with sherry, green chartreuse, and Mellow Corn—an in-vogue corn whiskey. Meanwhile, the Belgian-inspired tap list, both European and local, is a traditional (and perfect) partner for the country’s favorite dish.

Loyal Legion

Loyal Legion is no Hofbräuhaus. This beer hall takes a different inspiration: our love of beautiful spaces, of all things local, of simply gazing into space and people watching. The exhaustively curated, 99-tap, all-Oregon beer list encourages methodical choosing and deliberate drinking. The food menu is dominated by beer-soaked Olympia Provisions bratwursts, frankfurters, and Käsekrainers. The cheesy, gooey, messy burger, served on a pretzel bun with a generous heaping of pickles, is an instant favorite.

Old Salt

Pendleton blanket–level comfort is the credo at this Northeast dining hall, especially at brunch: think flawlessly scrambled eggs, dense house anadama toast, and the adjacent meat shop’s smoky-sweet bacon. That prime pig is fried and nestled next to textbook French omelets stuffed with everything from smoked trout to korv sausage stroganoff. Save room for more salt potatoes: crispy, buttery, velvety Yukon golds the kitchen roasts, smashes, and then deep-fries to produce an addictive sort of potato chip spliced with a dinner spud. They are, we suspect, the reason brunch was invented in the first place.

Pomo 0517 cheap eats op wurst wurst fries aldhgl

Dirty fries at OP Wurst

OP Wurst

Olympia Provisions’ fast-casual wurst concept on SE Division Street is a sausage party with a crazy-good beer and wine list. Suds are local and international, with a heavy emphasis on Germany—even a hard-to find Kostritzer Schwarzbier—while glass pours come from the crack team of sommeliers at the original OP on SE Washington Street. Everything’s bigger here than at the satellite Wurst locations, including a sprawling patio and kitchen that turns out a fresh shaved fennel and orange salad and an old-school griddle burger. Meanwhile, the Pine Street Market and Oregon City mini-locations offer a concise menu with their own “creative wursts,” like the Hound Dog with bacon, banana, and peanut butter. 

→ OP’s Oregon City landlords, Oregon City Brewing, developed a special Provisions Pilsner—light and balanced for summer swilling, and also available at the Division Street location.

Pix Pâtisserie/Bar Vivant

At Cheryl Wakerhauser’s Pix Pâtisserie/Bar Vivant, napkins litter the floor, scarlet damask lines the walls, and Champagne enthusiasts play a game of pétanque in the courtyard. Portland seems miles away in this world of wacky European vitality and sparkling wine obsession. While the Pix side stocks an award-winning sparkling wine list and elaborate sweets, Bar Vivant brings savory Spanish tapas and an extensive cocktail menu to Wakerhauser’s sweet equation.

Raven & Rose

The retooled, 130-year-old Ladd Carriage House mixes Portland’s pork terrines with Yorkshire puddings befitting of an English carriage house. Rabbit is a house favorite, atop dishes like three-cheese agnolotti and cooked two ways with sweetbread and chanterelles. “Historically inspired” cocktails find new plays on classic flavors. The old hayloft upstairs is a setting worthy of the building’s illustrious roots, courtesy of a gaping fireplace, a handsome billiard table, and leather furniture galore.

→ R&R now devotes one of its taps to local cask-conditioned (naturally carbonated) beer.  Right now, they’re pouring Culmination’s Trumpet Major, a mix between a Burton ale and a Belgian strong. Next up? Cask-conditioned fruit beer.

Stamm6sml weum1k sbuikl

Stammtisch's NE 28th space

Stammtisch

This beer hall from the folks behind North Portland’s Prost lures bierstube enthusiasts deeper into the world of German brews while raising the bar for the country’s comforting cuisine. Stammtisch’s airy space and sidewalk beer garden boast an impressive, rotating 18-tap beer list that ranges from a rare, malty maibock to a smoked helles lager—the kind of craft beers one might find only in tiny towns in Bavaria—while the full-length menu flaunts classic schnitzels and a Bavarian pretzel, along with less common maultaschen (big Germanic rolled pasta) and obatzda (a paprika-spiced Camembert cheese spread). And the slow-roasted Bavarian pork shoulder, roasted golden-brown on a bed of spätzle and red cabbage—the pigskin fried to crispy, snackable perfection—is criminally comforting. 

The Tannery

Tucked inside a cinder-block bunker off of E Burnside, this cozy neighborhood watering hole is home to some of the best late-night comfort food in town. Behind the bar, archival drinks like the Toronto croon dark melodies of rye and fernet, while the tiny kitchen works a rich vein of Euro-Oregonian pub fare, from St. Helens hanger steak to fried chicken and waffles at brunch. When the needle hits some old vinyl and the booze hits the big ice cube, the Tannery serves indie culture in its most refreshing form. 

Trifecta

By Portland’s micro-loving standards, Ken Forkish’s Trifecta Tavern & Bakery is the Coliseum. The sky-high industrial ceiling makes room for a raucous marble bar shaking highbrow classics, a bustling, wood-fire-powered kitchen, and stretch-limo booths for all. The steak frites–meets–seafood shack menu hits a few potholes occassionally, but Trifecta is a steady Portland hangout. Your best bet? Snag a seat at the bar and share wood-fired plates like brussels sprouts with spicy house chorizo and apple butter or the simple, salty-sweet triumph of a fresh shucked oyster followed by house-cured ham, just-churned butter, and honey tucked inside a warm roll. “It’s the perfect chaser,” swears the bartender. He’s right.

Show Comments
In this Article

Editor’s Pick

Trifecta Tavern

$$$ American, Bakery, Burgers 726 SE 6th Avenue

This Portland hangout from Ken Forkish on SE 6th Ave is a raucous combination of a cocktail bar, seafood restaurant, and bakery.

Editor’s Pick

The Tannery Bar

$$ Pacific Northwest, Pop-Up 5425 E Burnside St.

Tucked inside a cinder-block bunker off of E Burnside, this cozy neighborhood watering hole is home to some of the best late-night comfort food in town. Behi...

Editor’s Pick

Stammtisch

$$ German, Pub Grub 401 NE 28th Ave

Stammtisch, a new Northeast Portland beer hall from the owners of Prost, lures bierstube enthusiasts deeper into the world of Germanic brews while raising the bar for the country’s comforting cuisine.

Editor’s Pick

Raven & Rose

$$ 1331 SW Broadway

Set in the historic Ladd Carriage House on SW Broadway downtown, chef Troy Furuta serves up English and Irish cuisine full of whole roasts, puddings, and terrines. Also check out the Rookery Bar upstairs for killer cocktails from bartender Dave Shenaut.

Bar Vivant/Pix Patisserie

$$ Dessert 2225 E Burnside St

Discover a quirky balance of European flavor and Portland charm at this wine lounge and tapas bar on East Burnside in the Kerns district, featuring a 2,000+ bottle wine cellar, outdoor courtyard, and French pastry creations from Pix's Cheryl Wakerhauser.

OP Wurst

$ Hot Dogs 133 SW Pine Street, Space #4

Olympia Provisions' glorified hot dog stand inside Pine Street Market highlights their house-made, super-snappy wieners, including weird mashups like The Hou...

Old Salt Marketplace

$ Deli, Pacific Northwest, Sandwiches 5027 NE 42nd Ave

Pendleton blanket–level comfort is the credo at this Northeast dining hall, especially at brunch: think flawlessly scrambled eggs, dense house anadama toast,...

Loyal Legion

$ Burgers, Pub Grub 706 SE Sixth Ave

Loyal Legion is no Hofbräuhaus. This Oregon beer hall takes a different inspiration altogether: our love of beautiful spaces, of all things local, of simply ...

Editor’s Pick

La Moule

$$ French 2500 SE Clinton St

At La Moule, St. Jack’s Francophile chef Aaron Barnett reintroduces Portland to mussels and fries with a globe-spanning take on Belgium’s national dish, plus...

Interurban

$$ Breakfast / Brunch, Pub Grub 4057 N Mississippi St

This dusky North Mississippi watering hole lures the hungover and hungry on weekend mornings with balanced cocktails and burly breakfast fare, often soundtracked by ’80s rock.

Editor’s Pick

Higgins Restaurant & Bar

$$$ Pacific Northwest 1239 SW Broadway

One of the first farm-to-table restaurants to open in Portland in the early 1990s, Higgins has staying power. This can be attributed in part to its timeless ...

Editor’s Pick

Grain & Gristle

$ Pacific Northwest, Pub Grub 1473 NE Prescott

This neighborhood spot is a first-rate, rustic brewpub with a full bar and exceptional eats. The food menu—broken up into Salt, Vegetables, Protein, Cheese, ...

Editor’s Pick

Cheese Bar

$$ Market, Sandwiches 6031 SE Belmont Street

World-class cheesemonger Steve Jones's charming establishment on SE Belmont draws cheese lovers nationwide with top-notch cheese selections ready to pair with a geeky selection of beer and wine.

Editor’s Pick

Chizu

$ 1126 SW Alder St

Steve Jones lives to share his latest cheese finds—the American farmhouse beauty, the insider artisan wheel, an oddball delight from a local or global up-and...