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Friday, June 11, 2010

Snap Judgement: City State Diner

Posted by Alison Hallett on Fri, Jun 11, 2010 at 1:00 PM

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[Patrick is letting me do a Snap Judgment! Woo! I get to eat somewhere and write about it based on a single experience! Consequence-free judging, here I come!-AH ]

I feel proprietary about NE/SE 28th Avenue—I've spent a lot of time drinking and eating there over the years, and new restaurants are cause for both interest and concern. Spints? Can't get excited about it. Tapalaya? A contender for worst restaurant name in Portland (the decor's pretty terrible too), and it sure didn't help that it replaced Taqueria Nueve, but I overcame my biases after a few $2 martinis and some fried pickles during happy hour one Sunday (their fried chicken is excellent, too).

Yesterday we had lunch at City State Diner, which just opened in the storefront that formerly housed Wine Down. The interior is completely unrecognizable: Where once the space was cozy and old-world and a little fancy, now it has an industrial diner chic (chique?) thing going on: booths, gray walls, counter seating. The menu is full of gussied-up diner classics; as such it does not acknowledge the existence of vegans, but has maybe heard of this "vegetarianism" thing the kids are into. (A forest mushroom scramble; really good, thick pecan french toast; veggie sausage). I had a flawless turkey Reuben on white rye; it came with a side of vinaigrette-based slaw (too sweet) and slice of sweet pickle that tasted housemade. Ned's sandwich came with three preparations of pork (sausage, mortadella, and... pork loin?)—I've never before seen Ned defeated by a sandwich, but he had a hard time finishing it. Also on the menu: Fancy mac 'n' cheese, a variety of scrambles and sandwiches, with prices hovering under $10. Cocktails: Yes. Hibiscus margarita, a couple kinds of Bloody Mary, around the $6.50-8 range. The service was cordial but very slow—the place just opened, they're clearly still figuring a few things out (like, on our visit, how to use the espresso machine). They're open from 8 am-10 pm daily; breakfast is served all day. I'll just go ahead and call it: This place is going to be successful. Welcome to the neighborhood.

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