The Screen Door

While we were in Portland last summer, we got to sample some pretty good eats. However, there was not enough time or appetite (believe it or not) to try everything we planned to. Case in point, we never got to eat at the Screen Door. This time around, we were determined to give some good 'ol Southern cooking a go. However, with the kiddies, it upped the challenge quotient twofold. Not only were we faced with a 40 minute lineup with the kids, there might not be anything they'd want to eat. Oh, never fear when mac 'n cheese is near! Yes, prior to heading down to Portland, I scouted out all the menus for possible
eating destinations. The main criteria would be foods that my son is willing to eat. Yup, we're gonna eat at places with noodles, mac 'n cheese, grilled cheese or Doritos (Walmart counts right?). With the promise of cheesy noodles, we headed over to Burnside, right into a pretty imposing lineup. Luckily for us, we had purchased a really cool MagFormers set and the kiddies were so engrossed, 40 minutes blew by. Everyone else around us seemed quite mesmerized by these build-able magnets. Best $35.99 we every spent!

Luck would have it that we would be seated outside. The lighting was pretty good, albeit getting a little chilly. No matter, the whole family sacrifices for the good of eating and pictures! We were famished after a day of traveling; thus we got 2 appies to start. The Shrimp & Grits was beautifully plated with 4 large shrimp bathed in garlic basil butter atop grits with a crayfish? reduction. At first, we thought the perfectly "snappy" shrimp were a bit too salty. Yet, that was the necessary flavour for the grits. The crayfish reduction provided a very nice aroma and aftertaste. Our second appy was a plate of perfectly-fried Hushpuppies with honey creole dipping sauce. Consisting of fried cornmeal, corn and chives, these little bites were crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. The dipping sauce was on the sweeter side; but tasty nonetheless. Now for the star of the show, well at least for the kids... The Mac 'n Cheese! And in fact, it was pretty darn good. Very cheddary and with a side of spicy kick, this was very flavourful. Moreover, the mac was amazingly al dente,

For our my main, I went for the Crispy Fried Buttermilk-battered Chicken with Tasso ham gravy, mashed potatoes and bacon & hock collard greens. I would say this is the best fried chicken I've had up to this posting. The batter was crunchy, well-seasoned with a nice kick while the chicken was super juicy and tender, including the white meat. So much so, I could still see the juices running through the meat as I ate it. I really enjoyed that the chicken was de-boned (probably easier to regulate cooking too), so eating it was very easy and no batter was wasted. The mash potatoes were pretty standard; but the gravy helped liven it up with full flavour. By virtue of using Tasso ham, the result was a salty and spicy gravy. The collard greens were spicy as well and with a bit of tang. I found it too tangy and little in the way of bacon flavour. It was only okay in my opinion.

Viv ordered the Carolina Pulled Pork Sandwich with a side of sweet potato fries. It consisted of house-smoked pork shoulder with a mound of creamy coleslaw on a toasted bun. The darn thing looked impressive when it first arrived. One bite into it and the meat was ever-so-tender and nicely moistened by the generous amount of smoky and spicy BBQ sauce. The crunchy coleslaw had a good creaminess that really added to the sandwich. The bun was soft enough to conform to the ingredients; thus it mostly kept things together. She substituted sweet potato fries for the regular fries. They ended up to be more like crisps than fries. That is actually a good thing though. They were sweet and very crunchy. Very easy to eat. Not bad, not bad at all. The food here at the Screen Door is pretty darn good. No real big issues with anything and it's one of those places I would love to visit over and over again. If it weren't for that big lineup and being located in Portland, I'd be really fat from that fried chicken.

The Good:
- The food is carefully prepared and is just plain good
- Great vibe
- No absence of spice or flavour

The Bad:
- A bit pricey
- Huge ass lineup (although you can call ahead)

Screen Door on Urbanspoon

5 comments:

KimHo said...

Looks good! Alas, I had other places in mind while in Portland so I didn't end up going there! I guess that gives me an excuse to go to Portland once again! :D

Anonymous said...

Hi Sherman

Can you tell me where you managed to find Magformers? I went to Toys R Us without any luck...

Sherman said...

Yah, Toys r Us doesn't sell them. I actually got them in a toy store in Seattle in the Queen Anne District. It's called Once Upon a Time (http://www.queenannetoys.com/)

Natasha Reed said...

You missed the most spectacular part of The Screen Door experience--the banoffee pie. Go back, man. It's worth it.

Sherman said...

Natasha, you are right. I wanted to stay, but the kids looked wiped... I will return next time! Seems like I visit Portland every year!