Friday, June 27, 2014

Quick Hits: Oso Market

In case you hadn't noticed, the latest thing on Portland's dining scene isn't spherification—using sodium alginate and calcium chloride to make balls of flavored liquid—or making bacon-flavored ice cream or even adding a surcharge to your tab to provide health care for a restaurant's employees (as worthy a cause as that is). Walk into a recently opened eatery in this town, particularly one that caters to a younger demographic, and you'll find shelves stocked not with the usual logo-ed t-shirts and shot glasses, but wines, beers and foodstuffs.

Luce opened with one wall loaded with hand-picked Italian dry goods. Laurelhurst Market boasted a full-blown butcher shop and deli sandwiches. Old Salt Marketplace integrated a meat case stocked with pork, chicken and aged grass-fed beef, along with house-made sausages and charcuterie into its whole animal meat program, as well as offering packages of the flours, beans and other products from local farms used on its menus.

Oso Market is just the latest bistro showcasing this trend, with wines, beers, ciders, honey, cheeses and bread stocked along two walls of its wood-raftered space at the east end of the Morrison bridge. Light pours in from the large windows on Southeast Grand Avenue and stop sign-red metal chairs glow against the clean, neutral-toned walls. But of course it's the food, served on mix-and-match vintage plates, that make this place worth checking out.

After a couple of lunch visits, along with a thumbs-up review of their by-the-glass wine pours from my brother, I'm ready to put this spot on my regulars list, especially after Sasha Davies decided to pull the plug on lunch at Cyril's (sob) my most recent mid-day go-to. Reasonably priced, with super-fresh seasonal offerings like sardines, wild boar brats and beautifully composed salads populating its menus, it's open for lunch, happy hour, casual dinners and weekend brunches.

Details: Oso Market and Bar, 726 SE Grand Ave. 503-232-6400.

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