Friday, August 3, 2012

Gotham Tavern (Insert Batman Joke Here)

I HAVE NO BAT JOKES; You're welcome. The clean, stark architecture of the Gotham Tavern is impressive, and with it's unique play on open space and woven walls, it's becomes somewhat reminiscent of the slate, marble and brick shadowed streets of NYC. It's grandiose floor to celing windows look out over the industrial district of North Portland, and with tri met dropping off passengers a few steps from the entrance, there's certainly a unique cityscape to ruminative over while you sip a pre burger lager. It's tucked away neighborhood is a tricky one to navigate, but once discovered, holds all the quirk natives and visitors hold dear.

BURGER: One of Portland's best low-key bar burgers. Hands down. Cooked to order and exploding around the circumference with juicy freshness. Toppers served off to the side included crisp romaine leaves, thick, ripe tomato slices, a long, wide sandwich style pickle, and a ring of thinly sliced red onion. The cheddar topped kaiser roll was overkill for sure, but totally admissible. The beef was succulent, moist and fragrant, with two slices of gently melted cheddar (or your cheese of choice) for good measure.

FRIES: Great, crispy, evenly seasoned fries in your choice of idaho spud or sweet potato.  Not a lot to fuss over, perhaps not as memorable as Killer Burger or Glisan Burger Barn, but with only one burger option on the menu, I can forgive them for focusing the attention squarely on the burger, and letting the fries just be fries.

SERVICE: An easygoing staff stays out of your way until you need a beverage refill and then, BAM, they appear with helping hands. Thumbs up to Team Gotham.

WHERE: 2240 N Interstate Avenue 503-517-9911

NEPO 42; Late Night Burgers and Innapropriate Servers

LET'S GET WEIRD; Looking for a quiet bar with a nice patio, and ending up at NEPO 42 provided me with one my summer's best cautionary drunk barback/server stories. My friend and I spent most of our night ping ponging between provoking and mercilessly shitting on a hammered  and/or extremely socially challenged barback/server/possible cook. He tried sneakily to mouth kiss my companion, give me a shoulder rub, and compliment our ample bosoms before we realized he was an actual employee. That story gets a lot weirder before we get to ingest any beef, but this blog is not about my crazy adventures in snark. That's my other blog; This blog is about burgers! Next paragraph!

BURGER; Overcooked 1/3 lb beef patty, limp and slightly discolored greenleaf and a sesame brioche burnt black around the edges. Frankly though, it was not a horrible burger when compared to any other burgers I could have been eating at 12:30am. It was serviceable when paired with a double vodka soda, however, I can not in good conscience  recommend this burger for anything other than late night soaking up of a few hours worth of boozing. That's rough because I generally prefer not to review burgers that are less than stellar, I mean, really, what's the point? But, look, once I take the picture the review is pretty much written.

FRIES: These fries were the redeeming factor of this plate of mostly burnt-to-heck business. House cut, twice fried, well salted and not overly greasy or disappointingly limp. I give the fries a solid recommendation.

SERVICE: Weird. Aside from seeing the sloshy barback tounge-blast a patron, then lean into my ear and wetly whisper, "I don't even know her name", I suppose the main bartender on duty was genial enough. Considering the shenanigans the barback was getting into, I'm surprised we didn't see her head pop off in a fit of weird rage. Mine would.

WHERE: 5403 NE 42nd Avenue @ Killingsworth. 503-288-8080

Glisan Burger Barn. Warning; Not An Actual Barn

OVERVIEW; I had to take a hiatus from constant burger "reviewing" (see: excuses for pigging out) so I wouldn't embarrass myself too much in my summer daisy dukes, but I had heard a lot of buzz around this little burger joint so tube dresses be damned, I set my jaw to "chew" and headed down Glisan until I found the newly renovated ex-Chinese restaurant that is now providing the neighborhood with fabulous charred beef.

BURGER; 1/3 lbs of glorious, hand formed painted hills natural beef,  heaped with shredded iceberg, slathered with mayo, and topped with tomato and onion (and on some varieties, an amazing local pickle). Cooked perfectly medium, and dripping with grease and juice and joy. A solid burger at a fair price and well worth the less-than-scenic-drive down Glisan.

FRIES; GBB takes what seem like frozen shoestrings and gracefully transforms them into succulent seasoned starch bombs. This fry seasoning is house made and speckled with fresh ground black pepper, which was a really easy way to ensure you stuff your face with them far after you hit your shutoff valve.

SERVICE; Awkwardly order at a counter after half sitting at a half dozen tables. My visit was an early afternoon lunch date, making us the Barn's first customers of the day. Our entrance lacked fanfare, no one greeted us and it almost felt like we took the counter worker by surprise. He was friendly, and attentive once we figured out how to place our orders. The atmosphere has a ways to go, it still smacks of old chinese restaurant, and the limited chachkies on the counter and walls just call attention to the lack of chachkies anywhere else. A few more random street signs and inflatable elk heads will really tie this place together.
Kid friendly, sidewalk seating, creepy back room for gambling.

WHERE; 7901 NE Glisan St. (503) 254-4285