When to arrive for dinner: Ox and Screen Door
Planning on a Sunday night dinner at Ox and a mid-week dinner at Screen Door.
I know Screen Door is legendary for the brunch wait, but what about dinner? If we show up at 5:15 before they open on a Wednesday, would we have a problem getting into the first seating?
As for Ox, I've seen people say in reviews that 4:15 is too late to get in the first seating. Is this still the case? Is it worse on a Sunday vs. mid-week?
Screen Door should be OK at 5:15 on a weeknight for first seating.
Last time we went to Ox we got there close to 5pm and waited 70 minutes. That was about a year ago. We had a drink at their bar next door and it wasn't bad at all. As someone who goes early to get in early, even I would not wait an hour for a place to open, even 45 minutes seems a bit much...YMMV, though.
I went to Ox a couple of months ago, on a Friday at 5pm, and had no problems getting a table for two. I also went with a group of 6 on a Sunday at 6pm, and we had a 2 hour wait. Thankfully, they treated us well in the adjoining bar, but 2 hours is a bit long for my tastes.
Decided to go to Ox on a whim on Saturday. Got to Whey Bar around 4:30, and it was empty. We had a drink and they put us on the Ox list, and called us at 5pm, just as we had finished our first drink. We had a choice of where to sit and opted for the cocktail bar (not the seating/bar in front of the wood fired oven...I do not know how folks can sit there it is so unbearably hot). The seats are comfortable and we love watching good bartenders do their thing. Justin was 'tending that night and took excellent care of us. We had a really nice time.
We ate a half dozen Barron Point oysters (some of my faves), an order of sweet breads (not on the menu but ask if you are interested), the amazing brussels sprouts, and shared the Uruguayan grass-fed ribeye. GF has a Fernet Flip for dessert and I had a great key lime panna cotta with a refreshing pineapple-mango sorbet and whipped cream.
The cocktails we had were great and Justin was awesome and poured us tastes of the wines by the glass so we could pick the one we thought best paired with our steak/sprouts.
I really love this place! It deserves all the accolades it gets.
Report: Screen Door, Ox and a few other Portland spots
I don't have time for an extensive review, just a few thoughts.
With respect to arrival times, on a Sunday night at Ox anytime before 4:30 was fine. After that, however, there was a long waiting period for the first seating to finish. We put our names in immediately at 4pm and then wandered down to the Reverend Nat's tap room to sample a flight of ciders (recommended). Back in time for the 5pm opening. I think we enjoyed Ox the most of the restaurants we visited. Highlights were the clam chowder with marrow, the hominy with braised pork belly and the grilled meats (we got a selection).
Screen Door: got in line at 5:25 on a Tuesday night. Any time after that and we would have waited an hour or so. I was less impressed. The food hit the right notes and was well-prepared, but it didn't have as vibrant or "authenitic" a taste as I typically get in the south. Every dish was close but just a bit off. The coconut layer cake was fantastic.
Our other dinners consisted of Ava Gene's (very good to great), Davenport (I echo another recent poster in that it's very good but could be better given the prices and what they are attempting).
We had nice lunches at Lardo (limited time lamburger special) and Grassa (Tasty and Alder was closed that day for a staff party).
The real star for us was the quality of the baked goods. Places like Sugar Cube, Nurvei and Bakeshop had so many delicious things, absolutely on par, in my mind, with the "great" places in larger cities. My old fashioned at Blue Star was forgettable (too sweet and cakey) but maybe I should have gone with a raised with stronger flavors.
In addition, the coffee was excellent, on par with any city in the US, IMO. We enjoyed Extracto, Roseline, Courier and Heart from a roasting perspective. The Exctracto and Either/Or from an overall cafe experience. The hazelnut milk latte was fantastic at heart (I usually drink short cappucinos and piccolos but this was excellent).
Overall, it was a pleasure walking around the different neighborhoods we enjoyed the seemingly intense focus on putting out what seemed to be quality products in a well-crafted space (both with respect to food, coffee and other products). We are looking forward to coming back in the summer when more produce is in season.