As the still-spreading fat stain on my jeans can attest, my first meal from Nosh Kitchen Bar wasn’t in the least bit healthy – but OMG was it wicked good.
A few hours ago, Adam and I entered the hip, orange-painted environment of the new Congress street cafe starving and craving a bit of the naughty.
Our diet this past week leaned heavily toward salads and homemade soups, so we may have over compensated a bit with our choices — pig belly reuben, duck confit sandwich and hand-cut fries sprinkled with bacon dust and dipped in blue cheese.
Yes, yes — I’ve un-buttoned my pants in order to sit upright and type this.
Everything we ate tonight was terrific. Simultaneously crispy and meaty, the fries were piping hot and full of just-yanked-from-the-ground spud flavor. Sprinkled with sea salt and the aforementioned bacon dust, these puppies just may give the reigning champs at Duck Fat a run for their money. My only quibble? The quantity seemed a tad meager for the $5 price tag.
My duck confit sandwich featured shavings of braised duck leg, candied orange and cherries, fresh greens and cotija (a hard Mexican cow’s milk cheese) — all piled on a thick white bread grilled until brown and dripping with butter. Heavenly.
Truly a triple-bypass on a plate, Adam’s reuben almost defies description. I can’t remember the last time I sank my teeth into something so decadent and rich (and I’m counting desserts). Pork belly slathered in melted cheddar, caramelized onions and Russian dressing oozed out both sides of the grilled rye bread and caused that stain on my jeans. I could handle just a few nibbles.
The atmosphere at Nosh is lively, trendy and cozy all at once. A brick wall and poured concrete bar run one length of the room, while a wooden banquette and copper-topped tables extend across the other. At the far end, menu items cram an enormous chalkboard that hulks over the sandwich-making area.
Down the back corridor, the loos feature cheeky hand-painted murals of giant pudgy pigs – tipsy looking flying ones for the ladies and devilish ones for the guys. Check out the photo on the left (but you really need to see these for yourself. . .).
Not all the food is quite as caloric and artery-hardening as our first-visit selections — the menu includes albacore tuna and roasted turkey –- but none of the fare seems the least bit ordinary. Offering gourmet sandwiches and small plates along with local-leaning draft beer options and an impressive wine list, this mid-priced eatery is just what Portland needed.
In my humble — and very full — opinion, Nosh has hit it out of the park from the start.