Captured by Porches does not make Belgian beer. That wasn't a problem until Steak Frites PDX moved in across from the little green bus in the pod behind Crema coffee shop at Southeast 28th Avenue and Ankeny Street. Suddenly, the brewery's old pale ales and porters seem wildly inadequate.
Steak with fries is a Franco-Belgian bistro classic and perfect fodder for a food cart. It's a hot pile of starch and protein to be dipped in fat, courtesy of five aioli options. It's gratifying right down to the grease-slicked white butcher paper.
Each meat-and-potatoes plate is $8.50. The cart offers three cuts of steak—tri-tip, hanger and teres major on our visit—plus vegan-friendly seitan. (Vegans should go to neighboring Wolf & Bear's; the seitan has the flavor of overchewed gum and the consistency of a soggy cracker.)
The meat is prime. Teres major steak is a poor man's filet mignon, a tender cut taken from the long, thin shoulder muscle. Four slices as thick as a novella come cooked medium-well, tucked into the pile of fries. You want both mushrooms and onions, which each cost 50 cents extra.
You can substitute sweet potato fries for a 50-cent upcharge, but don't. The regular fries are the perfect pub fries—skin-on, English-style, medium-thick chips that were crispy on the outside but limp enough to bend and dunk. The sweet potato fries are thinner and crisper, cooked into rigid orange bows. Both types of fries fare far better with Brussels sprouts, quartered and tossed into the fryer with the tubers.
All are meant to be dipped in one of the aiolis, which include blue cheese, horseradish and three house specialties, including curry-rich garam masala, a thin garlic-and-white bean sauce and, my favorite, a white rosemary-mushroom sauce.
The only thing left to want is a good dubbel to wash it down. Je vous ai a l'oeil, Capturé par les Porches!
- Order this: Teres major steak with regular fries, onions, mushrooms and Brussels sprouts ($10).
- Iâll pass: Seitan and sweet potato fries.
EAT: Steak Frites PDX, Southeast 28th Avenue and Ankeny Street, facebook.com/steakfritesportland. 11 am-7 pm Tuesday-Saturday, noon-5 pm Sunday.