Chef and husband/wife team Greg and Gabrielle Denton’s widely worshipped Argentine-inspired Northeast Portland hotspot is many things to many people—a highly evolved steakhouse, a surprising source of superb plant-based dishes and allergy-friendly desserts, a purveyor of exceptional cocktails, aaand, originator of some of the best, richest, most memorable chowder you will ever eat. (And I eat a LOT of chowder.)
Despite the restaurant’s beefy image, vegans and vegetarians needn’t steer clear—”from the garden” options are as compelling as the fleshy ones.
The menu’s universe revolves around the big beautiful wood-fired grill in the center of the dining room, and the glorious smell of smoldering wood permeates the small but buzzing brick-walled dining room, where you’ll get your fill of grilled short ribs, ribeye, pork loin and lamb chops. Seafood dishes are just as beguiling, with offerings like the showstopping collection of five seafood preparations served side by side, spicy braised octopus with beef tripe, roasted sea scallops in bacon sherry cream, and the aforementioned clam chowder with accompanying smoked marrow bone, naturally.
Despite the restaurant’s beefy image, vegans and vegetarians needn’t steer clear—”from the garden” options are as compelling as the fleshy ones, occupying nearly a third of the menu with delicate salads and sautéed greens and vegetable gratins. As for dessert, Gabi’s prowess with sugar and spice are legendary, and her cheese pairings and hazelnut brown butter torte with honey-chamomile ice cream have a near-fanatical following.
No (marrow) bones about it, your morcilla and Malbec-soaked pilgrimage has a price–Ox’s unrelenting popularity leads to what feels sometimes like unbearable delays between arrival and amuse bouche, but thankfully the Dentons took pity on the well-heeled waiting listers lurking outside the front door/taking refuge in their nearby luxury sedans and created the stylish Whey Bar, a rustic chic garage-meets-woodshed-esque space a few steps west of the main restaurant, with a smart little bar pouring some of the city’s best cocktails and a roll-up door to let the smell of grill smoke waft in and provide everyone with a bit of olfactory foreplay.
Speaking of which, since by the time you leave brimming with braised octopus, ribeye and lobster mushroom risotto, you’ll smell like you’ve been camping or otherwise roughing it for days, you can probably score some phone numbers afterwards at the nearest outdoor store.
Executive Chef: Greg Denton and Gabrielle Quiñónez Denton
Owner: Greg Denton and Gabrielle Quiñónez Denton
Pastry Chef: Gabrielle Quiñónez Denton
Atmosphere: Unassuming exterior reveals a beautifully rustic brick-walled dining room that's buzzy, comfortable, upscale and super approachable all in one
Outdoor seating: No, but there's an adjoining indoor patio that feels outdoorish
Best Seat: At the bar facing the wood-fired grill
Noise Level: Boisterous
Dress Code: Anything goes, from hipster casual to sports coats...just remember that whatever you wear will smell like campfire smoke when you leave
Bring the Kids: No
Bathrooms: Back of the restaurant, down the left hand side hallway
Parking: Some parking in the adjacent lot, otherwise street parking is free and easy to find on surrounding residential side streets
Cocktails: One of the best cocktail menus around, a dozen signature drinks ($10-$12), a four-serving Mason jar of the beloved Dirty Grandma Agnes cocktail ($36), and four gorgeous boozy dessert drinks like the absinthe root beer float and Fernet Flip ($10-$12)
Beer: Five beers on draft ($6), eight bottled beers ($4-$24)
Wine: Fantastic list of sparkling, rosé, whites and reds by the glass ($7-$12) and bottle ($28-$285)
Teetotalers: Seasonal house sodas, Mexican Coca Cola, Steelhead root beer
Tea: Mint mate iced tea
Ideal Meal: Clam chowder, beef tongue with sweetbread croutons, five chilled seafood cups, chard and roasted beets with orange hollandaise, ribeye, lamb chop, hazelnut brown butter torte, Life After Paris
Vegetarian Friendly: Yes
Vegan Friendly: With modifications
Good for the following occasions: Dinner With Foodie Friends, Date Night, Meatapalooza, Surf n Turf, Just Desserts
Group/Private Party Details: Private dining arrangements can be made, call 503.284.3366 or email email@example.com for more info
Reservations: Accepted for parties of six or more