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Thursday, August 5, 2010

This Week’s Mercury Food Section: Alpine Wild

Posted by Patrick Alan Coleman on Thu, Aug 5, 2010 at 10:45 AM

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Well well well! We haven’t done this in a while, have we? That’s likely because I haven’t written an honest to goodness review in about a month (you lucky bastards). But I have returned from tacos and cocktails to work through a backlog of restaurants that need the ol’ PAC treatment. We begin with GrÜner.

I equate this “alpine” cuisine joint, which adds another much needed spot for fine food in SW Portland, to a sleek Mercedes super car. The comparison is apt considering how pretty and luxurious the food at GrÜner is. However, in all that polish it’s hard to find a whole lot of character. Maybe it’s just me, but I like my food to be a little rough round the edges. I like to be able to imagine the ingredients were barely tamed before hitting my plate. A little passion, you know? The food at GrÜner, while on the balance very delicious, is downright domesticated.

That is, except for a dish I failed to include in my review: The House Made Sausage plate. This is the one dish at GrÜner I felt was wilder than the rest. It was the one dish with the most flavor and medley of textures. Yes, it was immediately familiar—with its, two fat sausages, sauerkraut, and Yukon gold potatoes—but inside those casings was a wholly unexpected treat. The bratwurst had a nice snap to it and a fantastic, rustic, course grind to the filling, which was spectacularly savory and juicy. The saucisson on the other hand had a filling that bordered on creamy, with big aromatic notes of baking spices. When combined with an amazing, roughly chopped kraut and perky sweet mustard, I think it’s one of my favorite dishes of the year.

Why did it not get into my review? I have no idea. At any rate, it was the exception in a series of clean, beautiful plates that left me wanting a tad less sophistication.

What do you think, Blogtownies? Do you feel too much polish can hamper an otherwise wonderful meal?

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