Ox

I get a lot of foodie updates about what is new in Portland.  So even though I have a laundry list of established places I’ve been wanting to try, I find myself tempted by all the new stuff.  I’m a neophyte, what can I say?  Ox, an Argentinian inspired joint, peaked my interest.  The menu sounded delicious so I dragged Big Spoon, The Gunner, and Dumpling Man (of course) here to see what all the hype was about.  Unfortunately, we were a bit underwhelmed by the food and completely overwhelmed by all the heavy smoky odor from the open bbq.

Amuse Bouche

I think this was a chilled asparagus soup.  It was cool, just a bit creamy, and a nice way to start the meal.

 

Bruschetta kampachi sashimi, avocado mousse, radish, cucumber, shiso 

Very beautiful to look at, but the bread was way too hard and crispy.  The kampachi was nice as was all the other accoutrements, but the dish failed to wow us.

Empanada sunchoke, broccoli, fontina, oregon black truffle

I’ve tried to be a fan of empanadas, but I can never seem to get past the the flaky dough being too greasy and the meaty filling being too dry.  Despite this empanada’s ho-hum appearance, it was actually quite tasty and interesting.  First of all no dry meat here, just veggies and cheese.  I’ve never had sunchokes prepared this way.  All in all, better than I was expecting.

Tuscan Kale sweet gem lettuce, feta ranch dressing, fried chickpeas, kalamta olives, roasted beets

Another pretty dish, but the dressing was bland.  Everything was bland except the olives and beets.

Chimichuri

I really enjoyed this chimichuri here.  It packed a lot of flavor that paired well with the grilled meats.

Salad

When you order the large order of grilled meats, the salad comes with it.  It wasn’t very uninteresting and lacked that tangy kick you expect in a great salad.  It did manage to cut some of the grease from the meat.

Fried Potatoes

I really wanted to like the potatoes because I almost like all fried or homestyle potatoes.  The creamy sauce didn’t add much depth.

Asado Argentino grilled short rib, chorizo, morcilla, skirt steak, sweet breads

So here is the large order of grilled meats, which I think is meant for 2 people to share, but considering all the other things we ordered it was more than enough meat for 4 of us.  I would say my favorite cuts were the skirt steak.  Others like the short rib but I found it too fatty.  The chorizo was ok, a bit too grainy in texture for me.  I don’t like sweat breads and the morcilla was glistening in fat and did not taste very appealing. Overall, the meat was too greasy.

Roasted Sea Scallops mussels, tomato puttanesca broth, roasted fennel, cauliflower, capers, olives

You can never go wrong with scallops!

Sauteed Mushrooms foie gras, spring onions, spinach

Good, but I think I could have made this at home.

Hawaiian Prawns

Oh I loved the prawns.  I love almost any prawns as long as their not overcooked.

The four of us were pretty stuffed after our meal here.  Big Spoon and The Gunner are not gigantic eater fatasses like myself and less so, Dumpling Man, but we did well for ourselves.  While the menu was nicely varied and offered many interesting selections, the food needs some more tweaking.  It feels like it’s on the cusp of something delicious and with it being one of the few, if not the only Argentinian BBQ inspired restaurant, it definitely has potential.  The one HUGE downside to the restaurant is the fact you come out smelling like you spent 2 hours in the heart of a campfire.  It’s worse than a night at a Korean BBQ restaurant because at least there you’re smelling the wonderous aromas of grilled meats.  At Ox, all you’re smelling is burning wood.  It’s just way too smokey in there and it really kills the mood for the night if you plan to go out and do something afterwards.  I aired my clothes out for days before they were somewhat back to normal.  Anyways, we dined here months ago, so maybe they’ve fixed this aspect to the restaurant.  I’d only come back if someone could convince me they’ve made things more spectacular.
2225 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd
Portland, OR 97212

 

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