Produce Row Cafe – SE Portland

Produce Row Cafe - Southeast Portland
What I Ordered

Review By: Kurt Spickerman

Exploring Southeast Portland on my bike, I came across this place. I was hungry, and I could smell their hamburgers, so there wasn’t much I could do in the way of resistance. I took a seat at the big wooden bar, a few seats over from a group of businessmen with beers. After a short wait, I was presented with a couple of menus. One of the menus contained beverages, including an extensive tap list, divided by style, and on the other side, a unique list of whiskey and beer pairings – which is so Portland. I resisted the urge, though, and ordered a Coke (I had to work that night). I ordered a burger with fries, and after being asked for a temp, requested it medium.

Once my food order was in, the bartender immediately brought my check. I understand the rationale for this – I was clearly not going to be ordering round-after-round of tip-worthy beverages, but it still struck me as rude. What, no dessert?

When the burger arrived, I was pleased to be presented with an appetizing plate of food. The sandwich itself was plump, with fresh lettuce spilling out beneath the meat, and there was a large pile of golden brown fries. Unfortunately, the flavor wasn’t so impressive. The meat was overcooked (more like mid-well) and bland – not what you would expect from a ten dollar burger. The fries were alright, but they featured some sort of breading, and had clearly come out of a bag. When the bartender saw me splitting the patty to check doneness, he asked me my impressions. “Overdone,” I said.

He apologized, of course. “It’s all about the touch-test,” he said. “The problem is that we have a new sous chef training a new cook.”

“Oh,” I wanted to say, “somebody decided to clean house, huh? Maybe that’s something you should keep to yourself.” If nothing else, it says that your food will be unpredictable for at least a couple of weeks, if not a month – and you don’t really want to advertise that.

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