This year I decided to forgo the urge to dress up as a sexy something (nurse, nutcracker, UPS driver, banana, etc.), and instead spend my pre-Halloween Saturday night having dinner with an old friend at Roost. Located at 1408 SE Belmont St, the spare, bright, white-and-wood space with strips of coat pegs along the walls seemed like a good place to dine on a soggy evening.
I was also curious. This 40-seat venture belongs to Megan Henzel who apparently used to private chef for celebs in NYC. But I have yet to read a major review and only a few folks have weighed in online. When we walked in, another table was just leaving, but, other than that, the place was empty and stayed empty throughout our meal. So, here is my two cents, based on a one-night-only experience:
It was awesome. Really, really, really good.
Although the Maple Soaked Bacon Chop (a giant pork chop wrapped in bacon) with optional house-made marshmallow was tempting, as was the Open Faced Braised Beef “Burger” Wrapped in Caul (mmm… membrane), we opted for the Grilled Skirt Steak with “big red wine sauce,” blue cheese mashed potatoes, and sautéed spinach.
The steak, a perfect medium rare, was juicy and tender, which is difficult to do with skirt. The simple-seeming sauce enhanced the rich umami quality of the meat and the cheese in the creamy potatoes was subtle—perhaps a smidge too subtle, but less is definitely more when it comes to dosing dishes with the stinky stuff.
The Roasted Beet Salad presented large chunks of earthy beets (which I prefer over the from-a-can-style slices) in a pool of mild horseradish cream and topped with a handful of peppery watercress. On the side sat two pieces of a dense, moist brown bread that tasted of sweet dates (regardless of whether it was actually made with dates), each topped with a heaping spoonful of salty, creamy egg salad. It was unique, flavorful, and satisfying.
Cauliflower Fritters with Mustard Cream? Succulent and addictive.
A side of Deep Fried Brussell Sprouts? Juicy, with a light crisp, and they knocked the pants off the sprouts I had the night before at Ned Ludd.
The all-Oregon wine and beer list doesn’t go deep, but it has a great range, and it’s affordable.
I have it on good authority that Roost’s brunch may leave a bit to be desired, and I’ve only had one meal there myself, of course. But soon I’ll be able to write a more solid opinion, because I am definitely going back.