Dinner – Saturday, May 16, 2015

At Ox, chefs Greg and Gabrielle Denton serve “Argentine-inspired Portland food”. The backbone of the restaurant is the asado – the feast of grilled meats and vegetables. A subtle smoke from the hardwood fire permeates each ingredient – it melds their flavours together. Ox is about rustic food, served family-style, and it is delicious.

Mushroom-cauliflower soup, smoked paprika oil

Bread, butter, chimichurri
Worth noting – the bread here is excellent, by itself and for sopping up meat juices. The piquant chimichurri is so addictive that we were compelled to slather it on everything.

Empanada filled with roasted sweet potato, poblano, gruyere, fontina

Smoked beef tongue “en vinagreta”
Horseradish, ensalada rusa, sweetbread croutons

Grilled sweetbreads

Grilled skirt steak
A real highlight. Perfectly cooked, with pronounced beefy flavour. Eating it with the chimichurri brought it to the next level – those Argentinians know what they’re doing.

Grilled local oyster mushrooms, smoked sea salt

Peas and fava beans
Sweet spring onion, smoked beef bacon, chevre

Grilled house-made chorizo

Warm hazelnut brown butter torte
Honey-chamomile ice cream, honeycomb candy

The only dessert to have stayed on the menu since opening day, and for good reason. Toasty and nutty, with contrasts of temperatures and textures – a sure crowd-pleaser. We are not typically enamored by desserts in this style, but this was quite fantastic.

Let me say it here – I hate no-reservations policies. We arrived at Ox 20 minutes before opening, and cooled our heels for ~45 minutes before being seated. But was the food worth the wait?  Hell yes (and that, in the end, is the ultimate metric).

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