May 27th, 2009 5:33 pm | by BEN WATERHOUSE News | Posted In: CLEAN UP

First Look: Laurelhurst Market

The sign

Laurelhurst Market, the highly anticipated deli/butcher shop/steakhouse from the owners of Viande and Simpatica, opened for business last week. As I reported with glee in January, the new restaurant is just up the hill from my apartment, in the building that last housed the not-much-missed Laurelhurs Market (the "t" went missing long ago). Four months later, the building is unrecognizable.
From across the street
The false roof is gone, replaced by a stainless steel facade that still shows welding marks. The parking lot has been repaved, and landscaping added all around. Directly in front of the restaurant are a row of fruit trees (apple, I think) and strawberries. The is made up of sliding glass doors, which should make the dining room a semi-al fresco delight in the summer months.
Inside, Laurelhurst Market looks like many other casual dining restaurants in Portland, with an open ceiling showing wooden rafters, warm earth tones and an open kitchen. Check out the bar, though—I hope all those bottles never see any direct sunlight.
The butcher counter, which is open 10 am-7 pm daily (the restaurant is only open for dinner Wednesday-Monday), is only slightly larger than the counter at Viande's old City Market location, although the prep space in back is considerably larger. The offerings of house-made sausage, bacon, prepared meats, duck confit, all sorts of boned roasts and more, plus imported hot dogs and salumi, will be familiar to anyone who shopped at Viande. The difference? Now I can buy caul fat within a five-minute walk of my couch. This could be dangerous.
The sandwich menu is an expanded version of the one at Viande, and focuses mainly on good meats and good bread with minimal distractions. They are all $7, or $4 for a half. I ordered the roast beef on a kaiser roll with horseradish, cheddar, pickled beets and red leaf lettuce and my wife went for the ham on levain with plugra (Euro style butter), fleur de sel, shaved radishes and frisee. Both were good, but the ham was phenomenal—sweetly porky, with intermingled flavors of smoke and salt. The radishes added nice texture. It gives the excellent smoked ham and aioli sandwich at Meat Cheese Bread a run for its money.
Roast Beef:
Roast Beef
Roast beef and beet
We'll run a more detailed review of the restaurant later this summer.
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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