I was not expecting originally to blog on dining in Portland, but we had a couple of good meals and that made all the difference. One meal was at the Urban Farmer at The Nines. The other was at Henry’s Tavern on the edge of the Pearl District.
Urban Farmer describes itself as a modern American steakhouse. It definitely does not feel like a steakhouse inside. It feels more like a contemporary lounge/bar deal. It’s situated in the atrium of The Nines in Portland, so it feels very open and expansive. The restaurant service is not restricted to these tables. You can also order food at the sofas and lounge chairs just outside the main part of the restaurant. The idea was to create a Roman piazza kind of feel. However, there’s nothing really Roman about the decor; it’s all chic and modern.
We got back to the hotel just in time for happy hour. Almost all the restaurants in downtown Portland have a happy hour between 4-6pm. We were originally going to go out and scrounge up some food. Since it was happy hour, though, we thought this would be a good chance to try out the Urban Farmer. I wasn’t expecting much of the food there except for the higher price tag. We ordered some of the happy hour appies to get us started.
Our neighbouring table also had an interesting dessert. It was Carrot Cake. Again, it sounds simple and basic, but the presentation was astounding. It was a three-part dessert with the carrot cake itself, a carbonated carrot juice drink, and an ice cream on the side. Our neighbours had read about the dessert in The Oregonian, but they didn’t think much about the taste, but definitely appreciated the presentation.
Henry’s Tavern was just a restaurant we walked into somewhat randomly. We got boot off the Streetcar because the car was going out of service. We walked for several blocks and were quite hungry because it was around 8pm. We found a restaurant on the tourist map from the info centre and decided to make a B-Line for it. After a 10-15 minute walk, we arrived at Henry’s Tavern. At 8pm, it was still very busy, which boded well for us. We got a table fairly quickly and ordered our food.
We got the customary bread right after we ordered. For a restaurant of this size, I would have expected a better choice of bread. It was very, very plain bread. It was a sliced bun, but it tasted like only a step above Wonder bread. The butter was also a wrapped packet of butter from Seattle. It was almost what you would expect at a highway diner. Thankfully, the bread seemed to be the worst of the meal.
The other dish was a Beef Tenderloin Strips. This was good as well at the start, but it did not have the same true beef taste as the Blue Cheese Steak. Also, as I ate more of the strips, I noticed just how salty the sauce was. You could start feeling the salt content by the time I finished the strips. The mashed potatoes on the side were helpful in helping to dilute the saltiness, though.
There was no room for dessert on this night. We were just way too full because we forgot how large American portions are compared to some of our Canadian portions. It was a pleasant night out and the streetcar wasn’t showing up any time soon (I don’t like waiting over 10 minutes for any transit), so we walked off our meal. It wasn’t all that far in the end. 15 minutes was all it took to get back to The Nines. Besides, I got in at least one nice photo of a Portland sidewalk 🙂