10 June 2013

Rachel's Guide to Portland: Ox

How does this sound: Argentinian inspired food with a Northwest flare? You would think that a vegetarian like myself would have a hard time finding something to eat in such a place, but I am here to tell you quite the opposite. It was hard to narrow down which veg-friendly dishes to try.

I will admit that my first experience at Ox was a little off-putting. In fact, I did not stay to eat that first time. It was a Friday night at 6pm in Winter, a very rude lady barged in front of me and was seated before me and my dad, and then we were told that it would be about a 90-minute wait. No go. This girl gets hangry. So we left and I made a mental note to never come on a Friday night (they don't take reservations for small parties- I hope that changes soon). Visit #2 was Wednesday night- the night before Valentine's Day. Arriving at 5:30pm my mom and I were given an hour wait, but told that we could wait in the Whey Bar right next door- the restaurant would call me when our seat was ready. I can handle waiting a bit for dinner if a drink and some nibbles are involved.

Sorry for the iPhone photos- my DSLR was having a meltdown :(
 So Wednesday night this past week was my 3rd experience at Ox, this time with my dad. He arrived before me (thank you insane traffic on a sunny day in Portland), so he snagged us a seat at the bar in front of the grill (precisely where my mom and I had been seated in February). After my traffic fiasco, I was in dire need of a drink and was delighted to see a cocktail named Barbarella on the list. I love Jane Fonda, and Barbarella was a wacky movie, so I had to get this drink. It didn't hurt that it had rhubarb in it. Seriously, you can't go wrong with gin, rhubarb shrub, lemon, and powdered sugar. So freaking good and way to easy to drink.

My last visit to Ox proved to be delectable, so I was hoping that it was not a fluke. We were brought some tasty bread with chimichurri and complementary cauliflower-mushroom soup. I tried to suck as much soup as I could out of the little teacup because, man, was it yummy.

My dad and I started with the dungeness crab bruschetta, and I about died. It was so delicious. Like a party in my mouth. I swear every flavor profile was represented. There was sweet, salty, tangy, rich, and something I couldn't quite place. That's what happens when you combine toast, dungeness crab, avocado, radish, roe, and a mystery sauce.

Next up, we ordered the carrots and endive salad. That might sound boring, but both were incredible. The endive salad came with toasted pecans, blue cheese, and rhubarb sauce. Rhubarb! I let my dad have all the blue cheese (tastes like a musty cellar to me), but man that rhubarb sauce was a nice touch. The carrots were equally delicious (I could tell because I didn't save either of them for last- I ate them both equally, time-wise)- soft, but not mushy, with goat cheese (my fave) and truffled pistachios (say what?!). You guys, these veggies were awesome!

Finally, I managed to save a little room for dessert (have to keep that dessert pocket open, always), so I ordered the chocolate option: chocolate cake with malted chocolate mousse, peanut butter creme anglaise, and malbec marshmallows. Individually, each element was delicious, and together it was magic. The cake was perfect- soft, moist, chocolatey. The mousse was divine (I love malted chocolate anything), and the peanut butter creme anglaise...needs to be replicated at home. And the marshmallows? So fun! The perfect way to adultify a kid favorite.

My verdict? I love this place. I love sitting at the grill and watching the guys prepare all of the meats. I love that this is another place where dishes are served family-style and are meant to be shared. I love the amazing food and the equally delicious cocktails. And I really love the desserts. Go! Just try to make it early on a weekday night.

Have you ever had Argentinian food? What is your favorite cocktail you've ever had? Let me know in the comments below!

Ox on Urbanspoon
 photo Rachelsig_zps92ed9769.png

10 comments:

  1. I love chimichuri sauce. I used to work in a restaurant where we served it over steak (so that wouldn't really be your bag), and that's what got me into it. This food all looks amazing. I have to admit though, i find experiences where you have to wait that long (each time), a big turn off. That being said, sometimes it just has to be done.... especially when the food looks that good.

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    1. It really is a turn-off to have to wait that long, and it's pretty typical for all of the popular spots in Portland (and just forget about brunch- the Portlandia skit about brunch isn't that far off the mark). That's why I try to get to the popular spots when they open for dinner, so as not to wait. But this food really was delicious.

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  2. The carrots and endive salad looks delicious... I would have never thought to order it, but I'll keep it in mind. How cute you went with your dad and made him eat the stuff you don't like. I agree the 2 hour weight is ridiculous, although having drinks at Whey Bar helps but even that place gets packed. I haven't been there when the weather is nice (like it is now) and they did seem to have a big outdoor area, I wonder what they will use that for, hopefully more eating seating?

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    1. It looks like the outdoor seating is actually for the bar. The one time I did wait in the bar, it was indeed packed. But it was also the night before Valentine's day, and everyone thought they were so smart to not go out on Valentine's day. Ah, well.

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  3. ALL of this looks incredible. Bookmarking, starring, adding to the list.

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  4. I had no idea they were so veggie-friendly. I eat meat, but good to know for when I dine with veggie friends! Thanks for the tip!

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    1. I'm glad you found it helpful! Some places can be really difficult for vegetarians (despite it being Portland), but this place does it right!

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  5. OK, you are making me want to get to Portland ASAP. That Barbarella cocktail is just awesome-looking, too.

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    1. Haha, this town doesn't do too bad as far as food goes. And I'd go back to Ox just for another Barbarella.

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  6. Again, so smart with the week-night eats - and go you for saving tummy room for dessert, something I need to get better at.

    Get better, poor DSLR!

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