Four inviting neighborhood eateries with alfresco seating and superb small plates
Late summer afternoons, when the sun is still high above, are perfect for kicking back with a cool cocktail and nibbling on appetizers on a breezy patio. You might take advantage of the tempting happy-hour deals offered at many Pearl District eateries, but sometimes it’s fun just to splurge and order one of the fancier appetizers.
The former loading docks on historic NW 13th Avenue, now lined with terrific restaurants, are great for open-air feasting. At Irving Street Kitchen (701 NW 13th Ave, 503-343-9440, irvingstreetkitchen.com), try the famous platter of fluffy buttermilk biscuits with thin-sliced country ham and house-made pepper jelly. The chicken-fried oysters with herbsaint aioli, and tasso–andouille sausage jambalaya are also standouts from this Southern-inflected contemporary restaurant. A few blocks south, a scene-y crowd congregates under patio umbrellas at Bluehour (250 NW 13th Ave, 503-226-3394, bluehouronline.com) to snack on oysters on the half shell, burrata with quince paste and baguettes, and Dungeness crab salad.
Convivial Brix Tavern (1338 NW Hoyt St, 503-943-5995, brixtavern.com) has one of the best happy hours around, with fantastically priced chicken Cobb salad, cheeseburgers, and the house version of nachos, “Brix chips,” smothered in verde-roasted pork shoulder, baked cheddar, and grilled-tomato salsa. With one of Portland’s prettiest patios—overlooking Jamison Square Park—Hairy Lobster (900 NW 11th Ave, 971-229-1166, thehairylobster.com) is a must for such shareable eclectic treats as hamachi crudo, crispy pork belly with cheese grits, and pan-seared scallops with brown butter. – Andrew Collins | Photos by Paul Wagtouicz