1473 NE Prescott St., 298-5007, grainandgristle.com.
[STARTER CHARCUTERIE] Grain & Gristle is straight from central casting. You'll know you're in the archetypical Northwest gastropub just as soon as you're eyed by a flannel-clad server who greets customers as they scrawl their name on the list where the hostess should be. It's small and understated, a log cabin with exposed joists, a spectacular maple wood bar and rotating cheese and beer selections scrawled onto chalkboards. The simple menu celebrates quality protein and a salty kick above all. The butchering and charcuterie for Grain & Gristle is done just up the road at brand-new sister restaurant Old Salt (page 61). Begin with the rotating boards ($10 each) depending on your preference for salty or sweet. There's a meat board with house pickles, mustard and bread, and the ubiquitous cheese board by Steve Jones of Cheese Bar, here adorned with fresh wheat bread and honey-drizzled almonds and blackberries. And because it's a Portland gastropub, there's a great burger ($10) that can be dressed up with egg, bacon, cheddar or mushroom (all recommended). The servings are not large, but are priced accordingly. The most expensive item on the menu is just $11, so even those with thinner wallets can order in long, complicated sentences.
Ideal meal: The cut of pork with wilted chicories, tomatoes, anchovy butter and caper relish ($11) practically defines this place.
Best Deal: The house pickles ($4) or potted rillettes ($5) are good snacks that complement the salt-forward flavor of the menu.
Pro Tip: If you were planning to dine al fresco, be aware the front patio doesn't serve food. There is, however, a small tucked-away back patio (but the ambience inside is much cozier, anyway).
Noon-midnight Monday-Friday, 9 am-3 pm and 5 pm-midnight Saturday-Sunday. $$.