Portland’s Screen Door

by Sarah on March 2, 2010

Surgery yesterday = one-handed typing today. And pain. And more importantly, pain MEDICATION. These things all lead to a non-cooking blog post today. Instead, I will tell you about Screen Door, a pan-Southern restaurant I visited on my recent sojourn north.

According to their website, the objective is to use local and organic NW produce and turn it into Southern classics.  The menu is constant, with weekly specials of local/organic produce—for the week we were there, there was a roasted beet salad, roasted cauliflower, stewed parsnips, and a squash bread pudding.  You can order these as a starter, a side dish or as part of a sampler plate.

Lining the walls were canned goods–pickled eggs, fruits, peppers, etc….that my friend insisted were not just for show.  If so, that is pretty cool.  Restaurants should do more of their own canning and preserving.  If they make their own charcuterie, why not?

We started off with some fried okra.  It was good and crunchy.  Way too much of it though.

I went with appetizers because they sounded more interesting than the regular menu.  First up was a crispy pork belly on brown bread with a wee salad on top.  WAAAAAA the pork belly, while tender, was decidedly not crispy.

I also ordered Lowcountry shrimp ‘n grits, the sleeper hit of the night.  I haven’t been the biggest grits fan in my life, but I will admit to only having them in the 7th grade at my friend’s house with ham and a side of cigarette smoke.  The shrimp were cooked and seasoned perfectly (overcooked shrimp are a deadly sin in my book) and rested on a puffy bed of grits and accented by piquant red and herby green sauces.

K had a “Screen Door Sampler”—3 sides and cornbread.  She got fried catfish (catfish is a side?!), those white-wine and butter stewed parsnips, the beet salad and coleslaw in place of the cornbread.  The parsnips were very tasty, cooked with Pink Lady apples.

F ordered his favorite, fried chicken with Tasso ham gravy, mash and greens.  It really was juicy and delicious, and the gravy…mmm.  I need to figure out that recipe…   BUT–boneless  chicken  breasts?  I cannot condone boneless chicken breast fried chicken.  Edna Lewis is surely spinning in her grave.  No.  Non.  Nein.  Nyet.

Screen Door is a good place.  They’re not blazing any new culinary trails here.  I feel like it has the potential to be a GREAT place but then again, they’re successful with what they’re doing so why push the envelope?  But really guys, get some bone-in chicken, it’ll taste better.

Screen Door

2337 E Burnside
Portland, OR 97214


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