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May 7, 2013 05:51 PM

Laurelhurst Market v. Urban Farmer Restaurant

I am looking for a great date night meal with my boyfriend. We are looking for some great steaks and awesome side dishes and starters. I have been doing quite some research and it seems the two heavy hitters that aren't chain-esq restaurants are Laurelhurst Market and Urban Farmer Restaurant, thoughts on which one is better?

We love our steak and also things like marrow, great Mac n' cheese and frah local vegetables, breads, cheeses and charcuterie. It seems both offer this, but which is better and where can we get more bang for our buck? We are expecting a pricey meal but getting the mist for our money is always nice.

Thanks All!!

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  1. I'd go to, in order of preference for a steak:

    Laurelhurst Market

    5 Replies
      1. re: JillO

        Why Those restaurants, and why that order? I have heard great things about all three, so knowing what separates them would be great. What would you recommend at each, what steak, and sides/starters?

        1. re: Rachael5000

          Everything I have had at Ox has been fabulous. The steaks are great, the cocktails are great, the veggies and seafood/fish options are great, etc. Downside is the wait - it is always crowded and they don't take reservations for 2 (6 or more only). They open at 5pm and last time the GF and I went for our anniversary we got there at 5:15 and waited an hour for a table (they predicted 90 minutes, though). Having a cocktail or two at their bar next door is not a hardship, though, and if you plan this into your evening, you won't mind the wait.

          I love Nostrana's cocktails, salads (which are big enough to share and are delicious), winelist and service (esp. when I sit at the bar - they take good care of you and the seats are comfy there). I adore their $60 2-kilo steak (and before you say OMG that is too much - that was a meal for 2, TWICE - 4 servings from a $60 entree is a good value) which, as a large piece of meat on the bone, cooks differently than a smaller steak. It's my favorite steak in town at the moment. But the Tagliata, a smaller steak with a smaller pricetag is no slouch in the tasty department. Also great housemade pasta and fish choices, and the butterscotch budino is a great dessert. Though you can make a reservation for 2, you can often walk in and sit at the bar. Also, the bartender really knows his wine too - nice that you can trust a rec. when you don't feel like immersing yourself in the list.

          Laurelhurst Market also has great cocktails, though I think the top 2 choices have a better winelist. Also good veggies and fish options too. I think Ox and Nostrana have a bit better atmosphere for a date night, but Laurelhurst is no slouch as a choice in this threesome. They also take reservations. I haven't been to LM in a bit over a year...I admit I patronize the other two more...or have recently.

          Also have had nice meals recently at Levant and Ava Gene's - but these are not steak-centric choices...though both would make great date nights.

          P.S. - Urban Farmer usually means a charge for parking (and the pain of dealing with Downtown), that you won't have with any of the other choices.

          Hope that helps.

          1. re: JillO

            That helps a lot!
            I have wanted to go to LM mainly because they have bone marrow, sweetbreads and other yummy fatty things, AND the have steak. But I really want a great steak and a great place for a date with cocktails and delicious sides. Looking over the menus I am thinking either going to OX for the Asado for 2 and maybe a starter and desserts to share OR getting your recommended kilo steak with perhaps a salad and pasta and maybe a dessert to go with for us to share.

            How are those options?

            Both good choices?

            This is such a hard decision!!!

            1. re: Rachael5000

              Well, if you live here and things are going well with the boyfriend, you will hopefully have other date nights to come! ;o)

              Yeah, expect to share a dessert or take it home or maybe have a digestivo for addition to taking some meaty leftovers home.

              Both are great choices...the only big difference is being able to make a reservation at Nostrana (and possibly even not waiting if you don't - if you want to sit at the bar) as opposed to waiting a while for a table at Ox. But I don't find the wait onerous at Ox because their cocktails are so good.

      2. I would say that I would not drive across town to eat at Ox. If it were in my neighborhood I would go there although I don't suffer waits very well (especially when one gets the sneaking suspicion that there is an artificial nature to the wait times there--at least in my experience). I've found only two or three exceptional items there and none were steak. The wine list is Chef's Table sort of cookie cutter boring and the service has the slight ring of "you are so fortunate to be here" that the whole experience has been just sort of okay for me. Laurelhurst is a jam packed place so atmosphere can be hard to come by if you are looking for a romantic evening out. While I think people rightly say there are mixed qualities to the meals (and service can be slow) they do have very high highs at LM. I don't eat steak out a lot because it is pretty easy to cook well at home. Urban Farmer has very good cuts but the atmosphere is posh hotel restaurant crossed with old school HoJo's swimming pool presence with the occasional dollop of high end call girls thrown in for good measure. Paley's used to do a ribeye and onion ring special on Fridays that was old school and terrific. Don't know if they still do. Aviary does interesting and occasionally excellent preps of beef. All depends on what your priorities are going to come down too guess.

        1 Reply
        1. re: oregonjim

          I never really go out for a steak either, because I make a mean steak at home, but we want to have a special, decadent, meaty date night. Steak would be awesome, but basically any meat-centric meal that may also feature some yummy cheeses and hearty veggies would be great. Any other suggestions basked on those wants?

        2. So I am reporting back after the date night. We ended up going to Ox and it was amazing. Here is what we had:

          Aviation martini & Malbec from whey bar, then the meal began...

          Clam chowder w/roasted marrow
          Roasted halibut collar
          Smoked beef tongue with sweetbread croutons
          16oz ribeye-rare
          Morcilla sausage
          Mushrooms with foie gras and spinach
          LOADS of bread and chimichurri
          Chocolate cake

          Conclusion: I never wanted the meal to end. The meat melted in my mouth, the chowder was delicious, I want it again, NOW.

          9 Replies
          1. re: Rachael5000

            So do I, and I wasn't even there! What time/night of the week did you go, how long was the wait and where did you sit? I've hesitated to try Ox on our recent visits because of the no reso policy so would really appreciate your thoughts.

            1. re: grayelf

              We went at about 6:15 on a Friday night, and we wanted to sit at a table, but there is an option for first available. But they text you when your table is ready, and they are honest on their wait times. we waited about 75 minutes, but because we knew there would be a wait we had a snack before, and had drinks at the dive across the way (Billy Ray's Dive, cash only) and at Whey Bar (associated w/Ox) So the wait went fast, and the service was great.

              1. re: Rachael5000

                That is really helpful, thanks. Thinking of going on a Thursday night which might help a bit.

                1. re: grayelf

                  Get the Chowder w/Marrow, that and the Ribeye were the best things we had. I mean everything was amazing, but those two dishes were must haves.

                  1. re: Rachael5000

                    The SO will be all over the chowder (alas, no clams for me) but I will make up for it by eating the lion's share of the ribeye :-).

            2. re: Rachael5000

              [polite golf clap] Well done, Rachel5000, well done!! [/polite golf clap] ;o)

              For my GF's 50th in a couple of weeks I have planned a special Surf & Turf weekend - Roe on Fri. and Ox on Sat. Haven't been to Ox since our anniversary in Dec. We are excited!

              1. re: JillO

                That sounds incredibly epic. If you are a dive bar kinda person, for sure hit Billy Ray's Dive across the way during the wait. I am a huge fan of dives, and I give it to thumbs up.

                1. re: JillO

                  Great plan! Call Wafu/ROE and request the chef's counter. It is always fun to chat with the chef's while they create the magic! We were there late on Friday night. YUM!

                  1. re: DanielLP

                    Well it happened that way because we couldn't get Sat. night (her actual b-day) at the chef's counter @Roe - so we booked it for Fri...and then I thought, but we need to go out on her actual b-day! So, Surf & Turf 50th B-day Weekend was born!

                    I might not eat at all on Sunday June 2nd. ;o)

                    We do like dive bars (Roscoe's, Slingshot, C-Bar...which is way less dive-y than it used to be)...but she LOVES Whey Bar, don't think I will be able to convince her to cross MLK.