My brother came to visit November 17-19, 2011. We started out with a first meal- well, really a snack- at Little Big Burger after we met up at Powells City of Books. After we settled in at home and relaxed for a bit, then we had a steak dinner at Urban Farmer. He selected Urban Farmer barely over my other multiple choice options to him of the happy hour steak of El Gaucho and the quality local butchered steaks of Laurelhurst Market because the Urban Farmer menu offered a larger variety of steaks to choose from on the menu.
All of these photos are courtesy of his skills and Canon EOS 60D camera.
We started out with the appetizers. I went with the smaller order of Artisanal and house-made selections of pâté & cured meats pickled vegetables, preserves, mustard. None of them are local unfortunately, and my brother left before I got to show off Chop‘s pate or Olympic Provisions charcuterie which I love… and now that I’ve had those, this homemade/imported offerings plate from Urban Farmer just couldn’t measure up to my new higher bar.
His choice in appetizer, the Foie gras, veal sweetbreads, roasted peach, hazelnut plate, was better. We weren’t sure we liked the roasted peach as part of the plate as only a small bite was so sweet and seemed to overbalance the savoryness of the meats. But, the foie gras and the sweetbread were very flavorful and I liked the slightly crispy outer texture. It’s hard to believe how far we’ve come from the very first time my sister accidentally ordered sweetbread during our family vacation in Las Vegas a long time ago but thought it was actual bread (she was vegetarian at the time) and the waitstaff took it back graciously.
Anyway, back to the Urban Farmer dinner. After they took our appetizers away they presented us with the cornbread and warm rolls to tide us over while waiting for our main meal.
We were torn by the sides we should order, and settled on the waitress’ recommendation of the Creamed spinach gratin (which was super rich and melt in your mouth but also greatly helped by the crunchy topping for texture) and we meant to order the fries but were so torn by either fries or mashed that I accidentally said Potato purée instead… so we got the mashed. This was also super decadant, very buttery and cream.
For the entrees, he and I conspired together where I would order the 24 oz Painted Hills, Oregon, grain-finished, bone-in Ribeye and he would help me, and he was also ordering what I wanted to taste compare, the New York Steak Tasting of 6 oz each of Oregon grass fed, Brandt prime, and Painted Hills twenty-one day dry aged. Both were ordered medium-rare. Of the NY steaks, I liked the aged, while he preferred the grass fed. Both of us loved the juicyness of the Painted Hills grain finished ribeye best of all the entrees.
Unfortunately we did not have room for dessert. I really like Urban Farmer’s atmosphere, which unlike most steakhouses which seem to be full of wood and shadows and are remisicent of a old men’s club, Urban Farmer is located as part of the upscale and trendy boutique Nines hotel in the Macy’s downtown (originally the Historic Meier & Frank Building, circa 1909). So, its atmosphere is much younger and hipper with its decor a cross between a nod to nostalgia of the farm with canned fruit and flaked wood and animal print, but also the modern urbanity of clean lines and layout that makes it almost seem like it’s all outdoors (while still being indoors as part of a hotel). It is located on the 8th floor is also the atrium of the hotel, so you don’t feel as enclosed and can even get a peek of the sky via their skylights. Their menu also celebrates a lot of local meat (except for their charcuterie, as mentioned). It definitely reconfirmed its place as one of the steakhouses I recommend.
As a side story, this was also the same day that the Occupy protestors took theier walk and only a few hours earlier, were pepper sprayed at the Chase Bank area just on the other side of the square…