Portland, OR – Savoy Tavern & Bistro

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This happened to be next door to the Scandinavian restaurant I hit the other day, so I thought I’d take Mrs. BDB out on the town and try it out.

I had perused the menu the other day while waiting for my lunch partner, and I was really excited that they had one of my favorites, poutine, which I have written about here before.   For the few of you that haven’t heard, poutine is pretty much the national dish of Canada, consisting of french fries, covered in brown gravy, and topped with cheese curds.  The menu has a distinctly “Wisconsin” feel to it, and only in Portland could you find a Wisconsin-specific restaurant.

The inside is shiny and techy, with an open kitchen and metal trim.   There are separate seating arrangements in the bar area, and in the open kitchen part.   We chose the latter, a table for two by the window, sat down, perused the menu, and the daily specials.  Each day, the Savoy features a special cocktail, salad, soup, burger, and dessert.

Today’s burger was the BB King, a monster with BBQ sauce and other trimmings.   They offer a number of interesting appetizer plates, and a heavily-discounted happy hour menu from opening (5pm) until 7pm.

I was curious that some of the offering and table treatments were very similar to Broder, next door, and wondered if it was common management, but didn’t ask.

We started with a smoked trout appetizer, which came with large pieces of rye crisp, a horseradish sauce nearly (if not) identical to Broder’s, a few gherkins, and some pickled onions.

Mrs. BDB went with the pork chop, greens of the day (sauteed escarole – very tasty) (escarole is a green, a type o endive)  and “deviled’ mushrooms, sauteed with some nice herbs and spices.

I went for the Cheesehead burger, which was so new, the waiter had to check the menu to see if I was saying it right.   I knew when I saw it on the menu that I would skip the poutine tonight, even tho people on line praise it, for the Cheesehead burger was like having poutine on a bun, so it was a slam dunk choice for me.  A third pound Cascade beef burger, brown gravy, cheese curds, house-cured pickles, on a lightly grilled sesame brioche.   Fries, rings, or salad came with it, I chose the rings.

The burger was fabulous.  So fabulous, I ate it disassembled, as if it was a multi-course meal, eating the curds, gravy laden burger, and bun separately.   For me, the pickles were over the top, nicely dilled, great crunch.   The curds didn’t disappoint, and the meat patty itself reminiscent of  a fine chopped steak.

The rings were fine, but not up to the standards of the other things we dined on. They had a nice flavor, and a nice crunch, but were a tad oily. Seeing plates of fries at tables around me, they would have been a better choice.

Service was good but uneven, better at the beginning, less great as the place filled.  We didn’t save room for dessert (tiramisu, creme brulee, house made gelato), and there were quite a few people waiting for tables by then, so I was feeling like we should vacate, anyway.

Mrs. BDB had a cosmo or six, the bill for two drinks, appetizer, two entrees landed at $52.00.  I had heard elsewhere the cosmos were good, and Mrs BDB concurred.

There are so many things on this menu that I like, I am sure we will be back.  For one thing, on Friday nites they feature a Wisconsin fish fry, walleyed pike, which is a grand fish no matter how it’s prepared.   On Sundays they feature a special fried chicken.

I’m also sure I’ll be back to just graze my way through the appetizer one night.

By the way? If you’re looking for poutine in PDX, check out portlandpoutine.com

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