Few experiences better sum up the unpretentious comfort of Portland's restaurant scene like Laurelhurst Market. You can easily spend $65 for a cocktail and a cut of meat, but you can do so dressed like you just finished pouring well whiskey at one of the area's many dive bars. It's a beautiful thing, but even more beautiful is the array of grass-fed beef and the many forms it takes under the steady hand of newish chef Ben Bettinger.
Staples like the LM Ribeye (at $39, the Market's priciest cut) and the braised pork shoulder with peaches, jalapeño, mint and blackberry mustard ($20) remain, but Bettinger's update of the tartare (an impossibly rich blend of cornichon, parsley, egg yolk and mustard vinaigrette) is a slight improvement on a dish that was already damn near perfect, and the blend of cherry tomato and corn that accompanies the flat iron steak ($28) is a potent garnish that's as flavorful and colorful as the heavenly cut of meat itself.
The cocktail list is a gauntlet of tart and bitter flavors mingling with the cloudy sweetness of ryes and digestifs, with the precariously titled 22nd Birthday ($10) serving as a delicious juxtaposition of clear liquors (vodka and Campari) and acidic fruit flavors (lemon, concord grape, orange bitters) that would quickly subdue the few 22-year-olds who have the scratch to overdo it here.
Pro tip: Like many of the eastside's finer establishments, you can treat yourself to a truly great burger (with bacon jam, white cheddar and fries, $14) and a draft beer without burning more than two hours' worth of tips from your bar or restaurant gig.
GO: 3155 E Burnside St., 206-3097, laurelhurstmarket.com. 5-10 pm nightly. $$$.