Grüner isn’t a “German” restaurant, nor does it bill itself as such; rather it is Alpine. This is a vast region that includes pieces of France, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Slovenia, Hungary, and even a bit of Balkan and Mediterranean influences. All of this is alongside the distinct regional cuisines of Germany. Like billing a restaurant “Italian”, most of us know the cuisine of Tuscany can be quite different than that of Modena, Venice or Rome. The same goes for Germany as well as the Alpine Region. This makes Grüner a bit more complicated than just schnitzel and wursts, although they have those too. For example, Maultaschen has its roots in the Swabian area of Germany, such as Stuttgart while Schinitzel is a traditional Austrian dish. Tarte flambé is the French name for a famous Alsatian dish named flammeküche. Grüner bills theirs as “Alsatian Pizza”. It’s not quite true to the original, as the crust is thicker and more pizza-like in Grüner’s version, but the bits of smoky lardon, crème fraîche and subtle sweet onions are textbook. It’s a nice starter to set the mood for Alpine cuisine, and substantial – split it with your companions. The tarte and a salad would be enough to serve two for a light supper. Everything on the charcuterie sampler is made in-house, except for the speck which is from Italy, and the salame gentile, which is from rotating vendors such as Olympic Provisions. Currently they are joined on the plate by spicy coppa, Chop salami, house-made rabbit mortadella, country pâté, liverwurst canapés, excellent pickles and grain mustard. With these vendors, it is hard to go wrong. Few chefs in Portland show salads the respect they deserve. Grüner’s are in perfect harmony with the seasons and made with a deft touch. For the price, they are an excellent deal. The shaved radish salad with pumpkin seed oil, pumpkin seeds, herbs and vinegar was light, harmonious and was pure early spring. Beautiful paper-thin concentric circles of pink, red and white radishes contrast against the plate while a little mound of greens brightens the center. The salad is lightly dressed with Styrian (Austrian) pumpkin seed oil, cider vinegar, dill, chervil, chives, and pumpkin seeds. The pumpkin seeds and oil are a traditional touch. You can read this entire, detailed review by clicking here.
- Address: 527 SW 12th Ave., Portland OR 97205 Map
- Phone: (503) 241-7163
- Website: Grunerpdx.com
- Hours: lunch Mon-Fri 11:30am – 2pm. Dinner Mon-Thu 5pm-9:30pm, Fri-Sat 5pm – 10:30pm
- Happy Hour: Mon – Fri 4:30pm – 6pm in the bar
- Reservation Policy: OpenTable
- Noise Level: low/moderate
- Price: expensive. Entrees $18-$30, appetizers/salads $8-13, desserts $8.
- Social: N/A