Dinner 5:30-10 pm Tuesday-Saturday, 5:30-9 pm Sunday-Monday, brunch 9 am-2:30 pm Saturday-Sunday. $$ Moderate.
[SOUTHERN] We know those lines are daunting. We know you're hungry now, and have no interest in waiting 40 minutes to sit in a crowded room filled with the din of your fellow patrons and the always-bustling open kitchen. We know it's not time for brunch, the meal for which the Screen Door is famous. But trust us on this: Go anyway. Your patience will be rewarded with some of the best food values in all of Portland. Order a starter like fried oysters or hush puppies, and the plate will be overflowing with golden-fried delights. Fried green tomatoes come mounded over with nicely spicy, not overly mayo'd shrimp salad. As for entrees, loosen the belt a notch or three before digging into a hillock of tender smoked brisket covered in a forest of fried onion slivers. Yes, as befits such a bastion of Southern comfort, they do like their fried food here, though lighter options can be found on the weekly "local organics" menu, where such market-fresh delights as a green salad with strawberries, fennel and figs add a little roughage to the mac 'n' cheese or the buttery shrimp 'n' grits. Order another cocktail (the Sazerac, while nontraditionally served on the rocks, goes great with this food) and congratulate yourself on making it to the head of the line. HANNAH FELDMAN.
Ideal meal: A guilt-assuaging salad from the weekly specials sheet, followed by enough fried chicken with gravy-doused mashed potatoes to kill a lumberjack.
Best deal: The Screen Door Plate, which gives you three sides—make sure one is the moist and meaty fried catfish— plus a square of cornbreadfor $13.95.
Chef's choice: Red beans and rice. "We get a pallet of beans from Louisiana every eight months and prepare them with housemade and -smoked andouille sausage and housemade pickle meat, which lends a nice vinegar taste. I eat a cup of them at least once a day. (Rick Widmayer)