Classy Meat and Potatoes in PDX
Greetings from Denver!
I am shopping for an anniversery gift certificate for my brother and his wife. They live in Woodburn, OR and don't get out to Portland much. I wanted to treat them to a nice dinner in Portland but not sure where to send them.
I've studied the NW board and most of the recommendations in the "nicer" category (Le Pigeon, Lucier, Sel Gris) tend to be a bit too "refined" for my brother. I'm looking for an independant restaurant (though he'd probably be happy at Applebee's!); high quality; great service; romantic. "En fin", something a little better than he's used to, without being totally alien.
Ringside steakhouse, or for more expensive and refined than that, El Gaucho. $250 should do the trick for two people including cocktails and wine.
Fancier, but still within the realm of meat and potatoes would be Country Cat.
I really love Ringside for Steak and their onion rings set the bar.
If he really would be happy with just meat and potatoes at Applebees there's Saylor's a place right out of the 60's including the "Eat the 72 oz Steak and Trimmings in an hour and it's free deal"
I don't think I'd drive all the way from Woodburn just to end up at Sayler's Old Country Kitchen. You can find an unspectacular steak a lot closer to home. And this is the first time I've seen anyone accuse them of being either "classy" or "romantic". They're more in the "family dining" and "value" categories.
On the other hand, Ringside fits the bill very nicely on all counts. The Westside location is preferred.
Gaucho is great, but might be slightly outside the brother's comfort zone .
IMO, from best to least best(because not of these are bad...): El Gaucho, Ruths Chris, Ringside(west), Mortons, Portland Steak and Chop house.
If you want a great steak with the least amount of stuffiness and pretense, I think Ruths Chris is the place for that. Gaucho and Ringside are swanky, dark, old school type places. RC is Brighter and much more relaxed, although still upscale and classy.
The best steak hands down is El Gaucho. but its atleast 50% more expensive then RC.
also first time i have ever seen Country Cat referred to as fancy!! At best its elevated diner food. Personally I think CC has slide considerably as of late, and is way off the radar scope.
steak and chophouse is forgettable. not worth it.
VQ is really nice. old school, clubby, mover and shaker vibe. definately classy. I havent been in a little over a year, so I dont have any up to date insight, but its always been solid in the past and im sure would be fine. The problem is that its kind of getting shown up by all the new kids on the block these days. Its really hard to go to the places that havent changed in a decade or more when there are scores and scores of places that are just killing it right now!!
Classy meat and spuds isnt really what Portland is doing right now, but the top three(El gaucho, ringside, Ruths chris) are definately good-great.....hope this helps