Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Laurelhurst Market

Laurelhurst Market makes you fall in love with beef all over again. With an increasingly criticized beef surplus in the United States, you can't help but think that Laurelhurst Market is doing everything right. This isn't a place you go to to waste meat. This is a place where you pay homage to an amazingly delicious meat and savor every single morsel of perfectly cooked beef.

Tucked away in a relatively deserted area of Burnside Street, Laurelhurst Market bustles with excitement.

Though they only take reservations for parties of six or more, the line moves fast enough for you to grab one of their famous cocktails before getting seated.

The bar is well-stocked, from Jim Beam to celery bitters.

I had a chance to sample their two whiskey-based cocktails.

The Smoke Signals features Tennessee Whiskey, sherry, pecan, lemon, and smoked ice. Let me say that again. Smoked. Ice. Technique aside, this cocktail combines flavors that have the effect of feeling like you're drinking a city whiskey at a rural campfire. Addictive and delicious.

The Vieux Carre has rye whiskey, cognac, sweet vermouth, and benedictine. In a way, this tasted very much like a Manhattan with less citrus and more herbal flavors. This was also an excellent drink that made me wish I had the tolerance of a whale.

I've had the chance to sample Laurelhurst Market's food twice now, and each time has been amazing. The first time, I went with the insatiable baker and Doug, her hubs. The second time I went with effing dericious and his sister, Charlene.

Both times, I had the House-Cured Oregon Ling Cod Fritters with Aioli, and both times, they hit the spot. The fritters are nice and crispy, and give way to a well-seasoned mash of cod. Though the fritters were delicious on their own, the aioli adds a nice creamy balance to the saltiness of the fritters.

Similarly, the Fried Zucchini with Harissa were fried to perfection, and were extremely addictive, partially because I felt like the squash was healthier and warranted stuffing them in my mouth more quickly. The harissa added a nice amount of heat to the mix and the harissa also added that same creaminess as the cod fritters aioli did.

The Fried Sweetbreads with Whole-Grain Mustard are the last of the fried foods I've had here. Whoever is in charge of frying in the kitchen has some serious frying skills. This was basically a glorified chicken nugget with some glorified mustard dipping sauce, and both are glorified versions for good reason. Whole-grain mustard is one of those things that I could seriously eat by itself for extended periods of time.

And the sweetbreads had that nice, plump, juicy texture that makes sure you remember that you're not eating anything close to a salad. Overall, really good.

The Marrow Bones with Parsley, Pickled Shallot, Capers, and Toast are also addictive. The marrow is thick and comforting, and the parsley pistou adds a nice brightness to the dish. A scoop of marrow on the toast, topped with some pistou, capers, and pickled shallot made for an irresistible bite filled with umami, acidity, and freshness with crunchy textures from the toast and the shallots. Marrow bones is one of those things that tips you into knowing that this butcher shop doesn't like to waste parts of the cow.

Both times I had to get the "Egg in a Hole" with Chanterelle Gravy. The egg is cooked in a frame of brioche toast, which is then served on top of an addictive chanterelle gravy. The gravy is just salty enough, and soaks into the toast with the egg yolk. This was what inspired me to do a mushroom gravy for Thanksgiving.

The Dijon & Creme Fraiche Mussels Frites with Cippolini Onions and Preserved Lemon are a standard, and are also really addictive. The creaminess from the creme and the dijon balances really well with the citrus from the preserved lemon. The only bad part about this dish is that it's a little difficult to handle the Jenga tower of fries and mussels. Other than that though, I had a lot of fun soaking up the well-fried fries (again, who is in the kitchen frying these masterpieces) in the creamy, delicious broth. The mussels were standard, but good, as expected at a meat shop.

Of the sides, the Braised Lacinato Kale with Housemade Bacon is a perfect way to convince yourself that you're eating something healthy with your steaks and fried foods. The kale takes on the nice meaty flavor of the bacon, but not so much as to make you feel like you're eating pig leaves. The braise makes the kale soggy, but full of flavor. This reminded me of a solid bowl of Southern collard greens.

The Bluebird Grains Emmer Farro, Wild Mushrooms, Creme Fraiche, and Winter Squash is also a great way to feel like you're eating something healthy, but actually is healthy. The farro was cooked perfectly and the chunks of winter squash added little bursts of flavor. The creme also brought everything together to make the dish taste more like a risotto, and the wild mushrooms added one last earthy flavor to the mix.

The Pan Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Lemon, Anchovy and Piment d'Espelette were probably my favorite of the sides, and also my favorite preparation of brussels sprouts. The sprouts had a nice char, which added a lot of flavor to a sometimes unpleasant green. The lemon provided a great acidity to balance out the oils from the pan roast, and the strong flavor from the anchovy. The piment also threw in a nice, light heat to the dish.

Alright. Enough with the starters and sides. On with the meats!

As expected, the meats here were quality.

I've had three of their steaks so far, and my least favorite was probably the Grilled Piedmontese Ribeye with Blue Cheese Butter and Fried Walla Walla Onion Rings. Though the onions were beautifully fried (again, I know), the meat was a little dry for me. Even though the ribeye was doused in blue cheese butter, I felt like there wasn't enough fat or the cut was too dry to make for enough juiciness or easy chewing. I'm positive, however, that this was just a one in a million misfortune and I'm definitely going to try this again when I get the chance.

The Steak Frites with Marchand de Vin, and Hand Cut French Fries were killer. You already know that the fries are going to be amazing, but after trying that ribeye, I was a bit worried about how the rest of the meats would perform. Some traditionalists think that steak should never be pre-cut, but for me, I don't care, as long as it's good. This steak was good. Really good. It was a perfect medium-rare cut, and the outside of the steak was charred just enough to give it that delicious grill taste. The marchand de vin took on a delicious beef gravy flavor with a strong presence of onion. Dipping the fries in the marchand de vin was heaven. Dipping the steak in the marchand de vin was heaven. Dipping my hand in the marchand de vin was heaven.

The last thing I've had from Laurelhurst Market is the Niman Ranch Bavette Steak with Creamed Chanterelles. The steak was again cooked perfectly to medium rare with that nice outer char. The creamy chanterelles that sat on top of the steak oozed into each slice of meat. And if you know anything about me by now, it's that I love nearly anything with chanterelles. The light green onion garnish also added a light contrasting flavor to the creamy mushrooms and the heavy steak.

Overall, service was great, the interior was lively, and the bar scene was world class. I loved every part of both of my experiences there and I can't wait to go again soon.

Laurelhurst Market
3155 E Burnside St
Portland, OR 97214

GET: "Egg in a Hole" with Chanterelle Gravy; Pan Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Lemon, Anchovy and Piment d'Espelette; Steak Frites with Marchand de Vin, and Hand Cut French Fries; Niman Ranch Bavette Steak with Creamed Chanterelles.


  1. Ah, chanterelle gravy. Ask Dan what I had for an afternoon snack today.

  2. SWEETBREADS. Did we miss that the first time around, or was it just not on the menu? Mmm. Red meat. Drool.

    P.S. Yay! I love the shoutout!!

  3. "Dipping the fries in the marchand de vin was heaven. Dipping the steak in the marchand de vin was heaven. Dipping my hand in the marchand de vin was heaven."


    PS. you forgot to mention your attempt at getting the chanterelle gravy recipe! :P

  4. Oh goodness gracious. I want the chanterelle gravy. Also, that kale and farro both sound delicious. Pig leaves hahaha. I want to try this place. Actually, I'll bet even Matt will like it.

  5. Also, the word I just had to enter to prove I'm not a bot - "supho."


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...