In Portland, there seems to be a push towards greater efficiency. Coffeehouses like Coava Coffee Roasters and Sterling Coffee Roasters decided that sharing space with another tenant makes more sense for their respective business model. In the world of meat, Olympic Provisions and Laurelhurst Market operate as butcher shops by day and restaurants by night. They’ve already got the product, space and know-how, so why not use it? We started at Laurelhurst, in an East Portland neighborhood by the same name, to experience food from chef-owners David Kreifels, Jason Owens and Benjamin Dyer, who also own Simpatica Dining Hall and Ate-Oh-Ate Hawaiian Plate Lunch.
My Laurelhurst Market experience started on the patio with a sessionable pint of pale ale from Hood River called Double Mountain Vaporizer ($5). My friends drank cocktails.
We transitioned to the dining room and split some small plates, including Fried Cardoons ($7) from “your kitchen garden.” This prickly cousin to the artichoke arrived battered and deep-fried, served with tangy green aioli and squeeze of lemon juice. These were heavy bites of cardoon stalk, since they were probably a bit too heavy on batter.
Their Shrimp & Grits ($11) was probably my least favorite version to date, with griddled scrapple, Gulf shrimp, tart cauliflower chow chow, and a centralized spring shoots salad, but it had very few grits, and a dry, unsatisfying slab of scrapple.
The Sausage Wrapped Pork Tenderloin ($21) turned my meal around, with a juicy mass of pork slathered with salsa verde and plated with plump seared potato gnocchi, fava beans, asparagus spears, spring onions and more that all bathed beautifully in the pork jus.
They had a blackboard diagram of a cow with the header – CUTS AVAILABLE TONIGHT – so of course somebody had to order steak, and it ended up being local coffee pro Ryan Willbur.
The dry-rubbed and grilled Grilled Hanger Steak ($21) came with punchy Fresno chile harissa and sweet grilled spring onions. Laurelhurst Market offers a key to different cooking temperatures at the bottom of the menu, ranging from Rare (red cool center) to Well Done (not recommended). Willbur opted for medium rare, which had a winning sear.
Laurelhurst Market offered several desserts that sounded great, including Black Bottom Cake with blood orange marmalade and pistachios, but people were eager to hit some SCAA parties, so we left sated and satisfied with our main courses and seasonal vegetable flourishes.