Thursday, November 20, 2014

Portland Restaurant: The Alameda Cafe

What: The Alameda Cafe 
Where: 4641 NE Fremont St
When: Wednesday - Sunday 5 - 10 PM
Honeys Heart: Steamed Mussels 

The Alameda Cafe and I go way back. I ate there with Mimi and Papa as a kid, I bussed tables there in college, I blogged about their happy hour in 2009, but it has since been reborn and deserves a blog revisit in a big way.

The restaurant has been an Alameda neighborhood joint for 30 years- hence the new owners hope to keep the name, but revive the image- but for the last few years it has struggled with it's identity, consistency, and ownership. Cameron Addy, formerly a chef at Ava Gene's and Papa Haydn and owner of Belly has, with partners, purchased the cafe, remodeled the dining room and kitchen, and gave the menu a much needed overhaul. The small, but particular menu has a Pacific Northwest focus with occasional southern influences (Addy's roots).

We had a family dinner there a few weeks ago and left pretty impressed. Mimi opted for the Pan-roasted Halibut ($22) which was arguably the best dish at the table. The generous portion was cooked perfectly with crispy edges and a sauce worth eating in spoonfuls.

Adam and I shared the 40 Day Dry Aged Ribeye (for two- $40) with "twice-baked potato" which were really once baked, once fried, but who cares- they were delicious! The meat was really flavorful, though Adam felt it was a little too fatty making the $40 price tag seem a bit steep. 

Pork Chop ($24), one of the six main dishes to choose from, was my mom's pick. I believe her exact words were "this is the best pork chop I've ever had." I tried it, it was pretty damn good. The pumpkin puree and pear mustard gave it a taste of fall and it, like the fish and steak was perfectly cooked.

A unique option is the Primetime Special which is served every night around 7pm until it is gone, allowing the chef to feature dishes that are best served immediately. The dish and price varies. On this particular night it was a White Lasagna ($14) with homemade pasta, chicken, braised greens, and a white sauce. Definitely a great comfort food.

Of course all of this was accompanied with bottles of wine or, in Adam's case, Manhattans. I started taking pictures too late so you're missing Steamed Mussels ($11) with salsa verde aioli and grilled bread, Roasted Cauliflower Salad ($7), Cheese Sticks ($8) of crispy fried taleggio with apple butter, and Apple Salad ($7).

I'm sure we'll be back as Fremont Street and The Alameda Cafe hold a special place in our hearts. The menu will evolve and I'm waiting for a happy hour (hopefully!), but I'm liking what I see, and taste. I could go for those mussels again soon. So good.