Urbanhour at The Bent Brick

Disclosure: This meal was complimentary, but they did not require that I write this review nor did they request it.  The views and opinions expressed in this blog are entirely my own, and I will always provide my honest opinion and assessment of all products and experiences regardless of whether they were complimentary or not.

I was excited to be invited to Urban Hour event courtesy of Urbanspoon at the Bent Brick, which has been on my wishlist since it opened last year, but I have never visited. Now I had a fabulous excuse! I’m a big fan of Urbanspoon because of how they aggregate professional reviews as well as blogger posts along with user reviews, so I feel like I can get the full story of experiences before I go to a place. And, just yesterday Urbanspoon announced they are going to partner with another favorite dining out resource of mine, OpenTable, to provide online reservations.

As I approached the Bent Brick (tBB), the red bricks of this neighborhood tavern in the NW area of NW Marshall and 16th/17th welcomed me in a familiar cozy way, though I was pleasantly surprised by the charming outdoor patio area and that one of the walls was a garage door that they rolled up for us to enjoy the summer breeze.
the bent brick, neighborhood tavern, northwest portland the bent brick, neighborhood tavern, northwest portland the bent brick, neighborhood tavern, northwest portland the bent brick, neighborhood tavern, northwest portland

The inside is a mix of lots of brick wall that is echoed in red chairs, though the front lounge area has a cool “jenga” in its center.
jenga lounge at the bent brick, neighborhood tavern, northwest portland the bent brick, neighborhood tavern, northwest portland

I started with the cocktail “damson in distress” with averall plumb gin, rhubarb, lemon, egg white, tea bitters.
the bent brick, place setting the bent brick, the cocktail damson in distress with averall plumb gin, rhubarb, lemon, egg white, tea bitters

We shared lots of starters, including popped beans, smoked salmon chips (accurately bringing to memory Thai shrimp chips), ken’s bread with whipped lardo topped with salt, and the country ham plate, including Johnston County, Fincheville, and Wigwam. All four of these are part of their happy hour menu (happy hour everyday 4-6pm and 9-10pm).
the bent brick, starter of popped beans, appetizer, tavern, drinking snacks the bent brick, starter of smoked salmon chips, appetizer, tavern, drinking snacks the bent brick, starter of ken's bread with whipped lardo topped with salt, appetizer, tavern, drinking snacks the bent brick, starters, appetizer, tavern, drinking snacks the bent brick, starter of the country ham plate, including johnston county, fincheville, wigwam, appetizer, tavern, drinking snacks the bent brick, starter of the country ham plate, including johnston county, fincheville, wigwam, appetizer, tavern, drinking snacks

Then, we were so lucky to be able to see cocktail magic as bartendress Michelle schooled us in making a cocktail called “on the veranda” with mint, strawberry, simple syrup, rhubarb cordial, sage liquor, white verjus, and gin. They were even kind enough to share their rhubarb cordial, as you can see below. Also, how freaking adorable is she?

On The Veranda Cocktail from the Bent Brick, Portland OR
On The Veranda Cocktail from the Bent Brick, Portland OR with mint, strawberry, simple syrup, rhubarb cordial, sage liquor, white verjus, and gin

  • 2 springs mint
  • 1 strawberry
  • 1/4 oz simple syrup
  • 1 ounce rhubarb cordial
    • 2 pounds of rhubarb cleaned and cut into one inch pieces
    • 1 cup of sugar
    • 1 liter of vodka
  • 1/2 ounce sage liquor
  • 1/2 ounce white verjus
  • 2 ounces gin
  • 1 dash angostura bitters

First, for the rhubarb cordial: combine the ingredients for the rhubarb cocktail and shake it all up good, then keep chilled for up to one month but shake daily. Are you kidding, this would not last a month.

For the On the Veranda cocktail itself, muddle the mint, strawberry and simple syrup together. Then pour in that 4 ounces of other ingredients (wow! 2 ounces gin!) and shake it all up! Double strain into a chilled glass and garnish with a mint sprig.

Then we returned to the table and after sipping a taste of that amazing On the Veranda Cocktail, we were treated to more delicious food. Someone at the Bent Brick clearly knows drinking food: duck fat jojos with ranch, TBB Hot Dog with house ketchup and mustard, were were easting two more winning options available on their happy hour menu. I was soooo happy that I got to try the duck fat jojos because I had been eyeing that ever since I first saw the menu when I got the invitation. I maybe had 3 of those jojos too. They were just so crispy but not oily on the outside, but soft potato wedge goodness on the inside. I didn’t even need the ranch dressing they came with.

In addition, whaaa! There was a Hamburger Dog (because Scott Dolich of Park Kitchen, after explaining how the hot dog migrated from Park Kitchen to here at the Bent Brick, admitted that he just didn’t want to ever do burgers. And thus… a burger dog!) with cheese, bent sauce, and relish. Scott told us how his grilled squid salad with Mendocino seaweed and potatoes come s from his East Coach beach memories merging with the irresistible umami of seaweed. Also unexpectedly adorable: tea sandwiches with tomato, cucumber, gin, and goat cheese.
duck fat jojos from the bent brick, portland, neighborhood tavern, drinking food TBB Hot Dog with house ketchup and mustard, portland, neighborhood tavern, drinking food the bent brick, Scott Dolich Hamburger Dog with cheese, bent sauce, and relish from the bent brick, portland, neighborhood tavern, drinking food grilled squid salad with Mendocino seaweed and potatoes from the bent brick, portland, neighborhood tavern, drinking food tea sandwiches with tomato, cucumber, gin, and goat cheeses from the bent brick, portland, neighborhood tavern, drinking food

My favorite dish though was the side of smashed chickpeas that had an earthy creaminess from the chickpeas but a light coolness yet something that brightened it from what turns out to be sour cream and Frank’s hot sauce. Meanwhile, the cocktail of the bearded lady with bourbon, strawberry shrub, hum, salt and pepper was loved by everyone at the table, and was the perfect finish to the meal for me.
side of smashed chickpeas from the bent brick, portland, neighborhood tavern, drinking food cocktail of the bearded lady with bourbon, strawberry shrub, hum, salt and pepper was loved by everyone at the table, the bent brick

Clearly, the Bent Brick is specializing in comfort bar food that does try to push tavern snacks beyond the regular American fare of burgers and nachos and salted nuts. This is a change from its original concept which seemed more a exploratory deconstruction viewpoint that tried to push it farther than Scott’s other restaurant Park Kitchen, but then meant customers weren’t always sure what they would be getting. It looks like they have retreated from that to items that are more comfortable and recognizably home-y but definitely have a slight edge on them to provide a little mystery and surprise to the familiar. The duck fat jojos, hamburger dog and the smashed chickpeas, and all their cocktail concoctions (other ones I lusted after included their housemade beet shrub soda or pomegranate soda with choice of vodka, gin, or whisky, or the “g and tea” cocktail with smalls gin, lavender syrup, white verjus and black tea, or the “barrel and branch” cocktail with spruce tip ice cube, gin, heather cordial, and white pepper) being examples of this where it just had a little more something something.

Thank you to Urbanspoon, the Bent Brick, and Little Green Pickle. And, check out other fellow bloggers (soooo cool to all be taking photos together and gushing about deliciousness past, present, future!!) from the event:

the bent brick on Urbanspoon

Disclosure: This meal was complimentary, but they did not require that I write this review nor did they request it.  The views and opinions expressed in this blog are entirely my own, and I will always provide my honest opinion and assessment of all products and experiences regardless of whether they were complimentary or not.

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Comments

  1. Sounds like a really cool place! I love the Jenga wall!!!! And that ham looks goooood… =)

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