Restaurant Guide 2013: Old Salt

5027 NE 42nd Ave., 971-255-0167,

[MEAT PALACE] A stately Cully pleasure dome for food, Grain & Gristle's sister spot Old Salt encompasses a whole-animal butchery, deli, pastry shop and cooking school. Its supper club cooks with a hearth and is an intimate affair, a wood-slatted space that wouldn't be out of place on Twin Peaks. The food emphasizes the foraged and fresh; the viandes tend to showcase the natural flavor of the animal, with produce picked to complement the flavor of meat as much as cheese is chosen for wine. A recent duck dish was served two ways, tender confit breast and lightly crisped legs glazed with sweet Brooks cherries. Flavorful hearth-roasted beef was served rare and paired beautifully with meaty heirloom tomato. The drink program is inconsistent, and some appetizers go afield, but Old Salt nonetheless has the makings of what could become a quintessential Portland eatery. For now, stick to the entrees, and order the dish that looks the most boring: pork, roast beef or ham hock. It will not be boring. It'll feel like coming home.

Ideal meal: Roll with a meat entree and don't miss the biscuits. They're the best in town.

Best deal: Even unaccompanied, the hearty protein entrees sate for a price ($15-$18) that some comparable restaurants would charge for a second course.

Pro Tip: The deli offers $10 full-meal to-go plates on weekdays from 5 to 7 pm.

5 pm-midnight daily. $$.


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