Updated 7/23/19 – The Country Cat is now closed.
It’s been just over a year since Country Cat opened, and I thought it was time to go back and take a second look.
Ever since it opened, Country Cat has been a subject of heated debate. Should the fried chicken be boneless? Should it be drizzled with maple syrup? If you look at the comments below from my original look, you’ll see some of the back-and-forth that has taken place.
Country Cat does not try to be an epicurean destination, but rather sets the bar much lower. This is not a restaurant of subtle flavors and cutting edge technique. Instead, Country Cat welcomes everyone from families to retired folk and tries to make everyone happy by providing good food at reasonable prices. Though the road is sometimes rocky, this restaurant has provided a much-needed blessing to what used to be a somewhat seedy neighborhood.
My experiences have varied quite a bit from meal to meal. On some evenings most dishes are a home run. Other nights the food can be disappointing. Service follows along the same lines – sometimes excellent, sometimes a bit below average. They need to work on greeting people with at least a glass of water or taking a drink order in the first ten minutes after you’ve sat down. However, once your server has made it to your table, they are quite affable and don’t make you feel rushed.
The restaurant itself is a comfortable space. The large bar area provides a good place to wait for your table. Much of the seating is booths, a nice touch these days when restaurants tend to maximize every available foot of space. There is an open table area off to one side; I’ve noticed families with small children tend to get seated over there, which keeps them from bothering other diners if the kiddies get noisy. Sound baffling is strategically placed throughout, but it still gets very noisy; one evening I couldn’t wait to get out the door and away from the din. Lighting is very good, though I’ve always dined here on the early side when it is still light outside, so can’t speak for late night. There is an open kitchen on the back wall, with a terrific chef’s counter. I’ve had enjoyable meals sitting there and watching Adam and company at work. If you enjoy that sort of thing, it’s a great place to watch the action.
A full bar is available with ten specialty drinks, like a Kentucky Housewife – Bulleit bourbon, sugar, soda, and fresh mint over crushed ice, Hickory Wind – Maker’s Mark, Pernod, sugar, & bitters served up, and a Courvoisier Side Car. All of them have great potential, but every drink is missing that oh-so-important balance of flavors. The beer list is excellent, four on tap, and eight by the bottle, ranging from Boulder Brewing Sweaty Betty, to Bud Light and everything in between. A mix of about twenty red and white wines are on the list, eleven are available by the glass. This is a simple list at low prices with a low markup. Not an oenophiles’ dream, but some good choices for everyday drinking.
So let’s talk about the food. As I said, the aim here seems to be to provide a good meal at a reasonable price. Owner Adam Sappington worked for many years at Wildwood, so it is not a surprise that many of the entrees at Country Cat are grilled. Choices include items such as grilled artichoke skewer ($12), a mixed pork grill with rolled belly, brined chop and smoked shoulder ($20), molasses and hickory-smoked duck legs ($20), grilled Strawberry Mountain beef ($20), and bacon-wrapped trout ($16). I’m sure you notice the trend.
There are items on the menu that will appeal to just about anyone. The butter lettuce wedge salad with green goddess dressing is a throwback to a more simple time, and when done right, is creamy with bright herbal notes; easy to make, but difficult to make really well, it needs the correct balance of spice, acid, and salt to go along with the herbs which can actually be a bit bitter. This dressing deserves a comeback though, and props to them for thinking of it. The butter lettuce wedges were huge but still buttery and tender, and the dressing is the best I’ve had in ages though the balance could be a bit better. Though the egg is billed as “soft-boiled”, it is actually more hard-boiled ($8).
Adam’s bacon-wrapped trout is so traditionally mid-western and mid-century it could be on the cover of the Time Life Foods of America series circa 1966. Large, fresh, beautifully cleaned, perfectly cooked and moist, wrapped in generous strips of crispy bacon – a textbook example of how to do this dish. In general, Country Cat seems to excel with fish. Another night I had pan-roasted Arctic char with also was perfectly cooked. It was a more modern presentation, glazed in mint crème fraiche, with the ubiquitous fava bean, orange & fennel salad. A solid dish ($20).
The braised Strawberry Mountain beef did nothing for me. Though it looks and smells really good, and the meat is fork-tender, it is so dry it’s hard to swallow. It is served with chunks of cornbread and pecans, a few pieces of arugula, and basil and balsamic dressing. The one time I had this dish it was inexcusably disappointing ($20).
Skillet fried chicken is a tricky dish, and very regional, much like BBQ, meaning that one person”s ideal fried chicken can be drastically different than that of another’s, especially if you grew up in a household that made really good fried chicken. It is difficult to find a restaurant version that is moist, juicy and still has a crackling crust. The Country Cat version is pretty good. The chicken comes in a tower atop a mound of bacon braised collard greens. Interestingly enough, the chicken is boneless, which I thought was quite nice (though they seem to have switched back and forth since they opened). It is technically perfect and retains a vinegary and spicy aftertaste. It comes with a large, fluffy sweet cream biscuit; nice and flaky, tasting of butter. All in all, it’s a very filling entree. Would I order it again? Damn right, I enjoyed this dish ($18).
Another decent dish is the Cattail Creek Farm lamb. It isn’t a huge portion, but is big enough, especially if you have a salad too. It is served with snap peas tossed in hazelnut butter, roasted mushrooms, and little gnocchi-like goat cheese and potato dumplings. The lamb has a nice mellow, slightly gamy flavor, and arrives cooked to order. The potato dumplings are light and tasty, soaking up the sauce from the lamb. Overall, a fairly good attempt ($22).
A “heritage burger” comes on a French onion bun, with a thick slice of cheddar and garlic mayonnaise. Both times the burger was cooked exactly as ordered. House-made catsup on the side is a nice touch. Is it the best burger in Portland? Not to me, but for those that prefer a thick patty, you are going to like this incarnation. A liberal amount of excellent onion rings were piled on top. Thin, crispy, salty, I loved them ($11).
Finally, we get to desserts. They have an interesting selection, though I wonder if they aren’t suffering from ‘make a few days ahead’ syndrome. I’ve had warm rhubarb pie with buttermilk ice cream, sour cherry pie with ice cream, “fudgy” Bundt cake with “Manhattan” cream, topped with hot chocolate, and lemon-ginger meringue tartlet with candied lemon. Unfortunately, most of the items are average restaurant fare. The Bundt cake is the standout – chocolaty and moist, it should make any chocolate lover happy. It’s nice to see a restaurant in town that is managing to hold the costs of all the desserts to $6.00
Overall, Country Cat shows good potential and is a wonderful asset to the neighborhood. Unfortunately, things are uneven and frequently fail to live up to their potential. Adam has made a commitment to putting out quality food at a fair price, and for the most part, he exceeds, though rarely excels in this endeavor.
Photos by John Valls.
- Phone: (503) 408-1414
- Address: 7937 SE Stark, Portland, OR 97215
- Hours: Daily 5pm – close. Brunch daily 9am – 2pm
Wonderful food. FABULOUS, professional service! Can’t wait to go back. Considering this restaurant just opened, you can only imagine what it will be like in a year.
Nice review but I’m perplexed by one thing – excellent beer list with 4 on tap and 8 in the bottle. That’s “excellent”? Maybe I’m a bit spoiled after living in PDX but 4 draught and 8 in bottle (which inevitably include the regulars, e.g. Bud Light, etc.) does not an excellent list make.
Food Dude says
Hunter, does quantity count for more than quality? I admittedly am not a huge beer person, (though give me a dark, dark porter on a rainy fall night and I’m happy), but I liked their list.
Terminal Gravity IPA
Ahnderson Valley Boont Amber
Deschutes Brewery Buzzsaw Brown
Deschutes Black Brute Porter
Wolaver’s Brown Ale
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
Rogue River Valley Brutal Bitter
Boulder Brewing Sweaty Betty
Montana Bayern Pilsener
Speakeasy Brewing Big Daddy IPA
Keep in mind, they wanted to keep the prices as low as possible, and appeal to the neighborhood. I think with these restrictions in mind, they succeeded.
I dunno…as a hip 30-something neighbor, I’m kind of disapointed. Not from the food mind you, but from the prices. What I wanted in my neighborhood was a Junior’s or a Cricket Cafe or a Genie’s or a Cup n Saucer.
Don’t get me wrong, I love clarklewis, bluehour, and lauro’s, but I just wasn’t ready for that in the neighborhood until we had the basics together….like a breakfast spot.
Just don’t know if, as a Montavilla local, I am going to be able to support this business with $; and I’m just not sure the avenue is ready to sustain this high quality just yet. I wish them luck, they’re going to need it.
Dude, I meant nothing of the sort and I expect you know that. However, at some point quantity counts. I appreciate the need to save $$$ and I admit it’s a good list for its size. But I don’t see it generally as an excellent beer list. My opinion to be ignored as you see fit.
I visited the Country Cat a week ago with my mom, who has tried probably half the restaurants in Seattle. Overall, we both enjoyed our meal, although I could certainly see some kinks needing to be worked out.
I ordered the burger — tasty, flavorful and with a fantastic bun. The only problem was that the first one I received hadn’t been flipped (under the cheese was a layer of raw meat.) Not what I expected when I ordered. They were extremely quick about getting another, however. The second one was fully cooked, and they sent out a tasty little grilled-asparagus bite for me while I waited.
My mother had the steak, which she liked but found tough in several spots (maybe not the best choice of cut?) Mashed potatoes that came with the steak were lovely, she said. She did say, though, that she felt everything was over-salted. Even the house salad we split had noticeable amounts of salt, we thought. I know that professional chefs use more salt than what most of us would use at home. But they could afford to back off the shaker a bit.
We had a great server, she was very quick and responsive. I would go back, but I think it will be hard for me to choose Country Cat over Ya Hala, one of my all-time favorite haunts, which is just across the street.
Food Dude says
Hunter, I didn’t mean that as an attack on your opinion, but rather discussion point.
I just mean, for the size of the list, the choices are pretty good. I suppose one could take ‘good list’ to mean several things. My ‘good wine list’ is another man’s plonk. Quality, quantity, price – it’s all semantics.
And I would never ignore your opinion!
Sir Loins says
As someone who lives nearby, I’m with Sharon. The owner needs to make a living, and I’m not knocking that, but, c’mon, $19 fried chicken? Put it on bibb lettuce, add grilled asparagus, it’s still a very simple, humble dish.
I’m not sure why this, in particular, gets under my skin so, but it does. Maybe it’s because I grew up dirt poor.
Mr. Sappington may have a blue collar heart, but his menu’s got Pearl District prices. I doubt that many of his customers will come from the neighborhood.
Ta* hic from me, yer old friend schliemeat, ish one hella list.
easy to navigate too, you could even start at the end and work back if you were drinking kosher.
But just between you and me, and you know I wouldn’t lie, Black Butte
without Mirror Pond is like a mirror with no reflection. Or in this case a reflection without a mirror, either way, pretty f-ing disturbing when yer tryin to navigate the list.
(memo to self; no pissing contests wih Hunter!)
I’m with Sharon and Sir Loins. I’m a neighbor of the Country Cat, and as much as I like the idea of our humble domain becoming a foodie destination, it’s not really what we need. We need an eatery that a guy can take his family to a couple times a month and get an honest good sandwich, burger, soup, salad, and pint in a clean and pleasant atmosphere.
I wish them the best, but I just don’t see the kind of clientele who could support a $19 fried chicken living around here, nor do I see them driving past 30 excellent restaurants to get out here. At least not often.
Good food, a bit pricey, location iffy. Best of luck to ’em, and if any aspiring restaurateurs are reading this, we need a good diner in Montavilla.
to contradict the perspective of other neighborhoodies; (no offense of course, opinions are opinions)~
from the perspective of someone who has lived in the neighborhood their entire life, it’s been very exciting to watch stark st. grow so much in the last year or two, and the Country Cat is a very welcome step! Though it is spendier than other places in the area, we’re happy to put our money towards the general betterment of the street! and those onion rings. . . .we’ll put our money on those anyday
I understand your take Dude and I do like most of the beers on the list. I’ve just been spoiled by excellent lists in PDX restaurants.
And meat, I can micturate with the best of them. But my prose is lacking.
I respect your opinion as well, and to an extent I agree with you: the presence of Country Cat on our commercial street is a postive thing. It brings people and action, thereby adding great value to our neighborhood, and I don’t just mean property value, I mean quality of life. Won’t we enjoy strolling our streets more when they are full with happy, fed folks?
It’s just that I personally don’t forsee making Country Cat a part of my life, and all other things being equal, I’d prefer a place that I could regularly afford to patronize. I think it would add even more value (as defined above) to our community if it were more welcoming to the cross-section of the population that lives nearby (as Pho Van, Ya Hala, and the Academy do).
Don’t be humble you wordsmith you! I recall with fondness your use of ‘MYRMIDONS’ in one of your posts last year.
BTW On topic and funny.
(Meat not good linker, Google pee mail)
Ah yes, definitely one of my more “full of myself” posts. Gotta love ’em.
Did you say contest?
Speaking of opinions, I find Sweaty Betty to be one of the most disgusting beers on the planet. Granted, I’ve only had it in bottles, so maybe the tap at country cat deserves a try.
Food Dude says
I can’t even imagine what ‘MYRMIDONS” was supposed to be.
Interesting contest idea: disgusting beers.
I don’t remember it either but it was brilliant, insightful and absolutely hilarious.
I hear ya peanut. And I guess I might clarify that I want -any- small business in my neighborhood to succeed. That being said, the reason I am hesitant at their presence currently, is that I cannot see them becoming fiscally sustainable…
As someone who has been around portland awhile, as an example, I’ll bring up alberta: if Zaytoon had moved into Alberta district back ten years ago when food-wise all there was was La Seranita and Chez What, they would have bombed. More than that, super bombed, even with the Gaurdino Gallery there. But slowly came in a couple places here and there – the Vita Cafe, the Tin Shed, a couple other mid-cost restaurants. After those places gained fans, and the avenue itself began to expand (not getting political here folks, please don’t respond with opinions on gentrification, this is just a response on business building), then the avenue could sustain a place like Zaytoons (where i have often gone.)
It’s like a pyramid of business building; the base must be businesses that fill in their niche very well, and have cultures and cost effectiveness to them that matches what the current neighborhood can sustain. (eg think Tin Shed on Alberta) Because after the base business are in, they create a culture upon an avenue or neighborhood. Once that culture is in place, it becomes a destination in the mindset of city dwellers. After it’s a destination, the pyramid can start stacking up with lauro’s etc. With, say the Pearl, this ‘destination’ phenomenon was artificially created – very quickly and well (again please disregard with political manifestos – I loved Olde Town too, but that’s not the point to this exercise.) So it can sustain most anything currently.
So, to reiterate what allbutter said, I don’t see Stark St. as a destination just yet, and hence can’t imagine folks “driving past 30 excellent restaurants to get out here.”
But I do wish them all the best.
And, yes, I have too much time to think about these things being currently unemployed and all ;)
All right! Weird Beer Names!
Bluebeery from Marin Brewing
Yellow Snow Ale from Rogue
Monkey Knife Fight from Philly’s Nodding Head Brewing
Moose Drool from Big Sky in Missoula
Old Leghumper from a brewery outta Ohio
He’Brew: the Chosen Beer
from Schmaltz Brewing.
It’s actually quite good!!
Sharon, You explained my position better than I could have ever done!!
wow – i can’t believe you’re comparing Country Cat to Zaytoon, sharon. either adam is doing something completely different than i expected or we live in different universes. Zaytoon may be great for meeting friends, drinking a lot and smoking yourself to death but i hardly think of it as a restaurant – it’s a bar. granted a big one with lots of seating, but still a bar. i hope mr. sappington has created an eatery and from the sounds of it, people contributing here are focused on the food. so i’m not sure what your comparison is really about. i get the point that he’s the first guy putting a sophisticated food business in a neighborhood that didn’t already have one, for which i applaud his efforts and bravery. whether he makes it or not has to do with so many factors, but if nothing else it makes it more likely that perfect little diner will now consider the Montevilla neighborhood because it sees the likes of Country Cat open for business and drawing in customers. i’ll have to get over there soon to check out the food, but for your alberta analogy, i think perhaps ciao vito was the better example of the guy who put a higher-end restaurant in an up-and-coming neighborhood and not only succeeded but also drew a bunch of new interesting businesses to the street. before him, as you mentioned was la sirenita, chez what?, bernies and don’t forget la bonita.
Doctor Stu says
I agree that $19 for fried chicken is silly, but there are hundreds of places charging people $15-$20 for a plate of pasta (that probably costs less than a dollar to make) and getting away with it, so there must be someone willing to pay there high prices. I’m not. What I am constantly on the lookout for is good food cheap.
That being said, the reason I am hesitant at their presence currently, is that I cannot see them becoming fiscally sustainable…
Bet ya you’re wrong. How about a dinner @ Country Cat 12 months from now? Or your choice elsewhere if you are right.
If the food is a value for what you get, the crowds will come. And for you doubting Montavillans and dedicated cheapskates like the good Dr., sub-$20 entrees is a good value pretty much everywhere in this city at places with well-crafted food and some semblance of atmosphere and comfort.
Adam is paying for newly refurbished space, new eqt and nice, new furnishings. Eyballing the place, I figure he’s in for $1/2 million in upfront expense. He is using top quality ingredients, I am certain. He’s probably wishing he could charge over $20 for his entrees, but I’m guessing he knows that the ‘hood isn’t ready for that.
If you are looking for clean space (or don’t care) and entrees under $15 or maybe even under $10, I’m afraid you’re fated to an existence of fast food and one-notch higher corporate swill. Montavilla (and all Portland neighborhoods) deserves better and I’m guessing that’s what Adam believes too. I’m sure he wants to be as welcoming as can be to the neighborhood, but he is running a business, not a charity.
Gotta chime in re: the beer list. The problem with a short list, even if all the selections are top notch in their own right, is that you can’t get the necessary breadth without a certain quantity. For instance FD, you mention a certain affinity for the “dark, dark porter” and yet this list has only one dark beer and that’s the decent, but incredibly commonplace, Black Butte.
Having said all that, I am impressed by the list, considering it’s relatively short length. It’s got decent variety and a few that you don’t see many other places (which is key IMHO). Still, without a good, unique dark beer, and also notably lacking any Belgians, it’s tough to get too excited.
“wow – i can’t believe you’re comparing Country Cat to Zaytoon, sharon. ”
Yeah, you’re totally right – I realised later that it might not be the best comparison because, as a food related blog, I might be misconstrued as relating the content of the businesses. You’re right; restaurant is nothing like bar. So the content is quite different. However, I’m not actually comparing the content, I was comparing the fiscal tier of the business and the probable financial footing of the clientele. To which I would propose that they are indeed quite similar. Sorry for not being more clarifying, but I do stand by the concepts beyond the, albiet bad, comparisons.
Yeah Ciao Vito! They opened in, what 2004? Mmmm…making my mouth water now to think of the ribs and the grappa… And I really should give Bonita less of a mental hard time; I still think of em as newbies since they’re right next door to the Serenita which is the O.G. of mexican gut-pounding grub in Pdx.
Now, lunch time! :)
“Speaking of opinions, I find Sweaty Betty to be one of the most disgusting beers on the planet. ”
Maybe they collect the sweat of hot snowboarder chicks coming off of the Rockies slopes, and add in a pinch of this ‘special ingredient’ to every beer batch.
Come on now, honestly that’s kinda hot.
(Women in snowboarding are called ‘Bettys’)
Hi mczlaw –
I could never bet *against* them! :)
I wish them -all- the best…
Thanks for the support! We went to the Country Cat again tonight, was packed, and the burger was perfectly rare, the service pleasant and quick, the Kentucky Housewife stiff and delicious! No worries about it sticking around!
Kim Nyland says
I sincerely hope I am wrong and that customers make their way out here to Montavilla, and keep the Country Cat busy for years to come, and that the presence of this successful venture inspires others to open establishments of various stripes.
I wish Adam and his crew the best of success in their work, and I wish them to recoup the 1/2 million or so they invested in the space. Certainly there is no lack of enthusiasm from some of the contributors of this blog.
Just if he had asked me, I would have advised him to scale it down and keep it simple. Lower initial investment, lower overhead, lower prices, lower stress. And I GUARANTEE you that place would be full, just like Ya Hala is, every night of the week for years.
And at Ya Hala, by the way, one can choose from a SCORE of outstanding dishes for less than $15.
Straight to the point:
Great food: Whole Hog, Bacon Wrapped Trout, Chicken.
Cost: Appropriate for the quality of the food
Service: Attentive without being overbearing
We’ll be back within the week! Great addition to the neighborhood whether or not we thought we needed it.
Lisa B. from Vancouver, WA says
My husband and I went to the Country Cat last night and brought another couple with us that we dine out with frequently. The Country Cat hit a “home run”!! We loved it! Everything we ordered was superb, the drinks at the bar mixed with a great smile by “Marco”, the appetizers, the entrees, and the dessets and coffee where all a big hit at our table. Everything that came to our table was steaming hot and fresh! Heather our waitress was friendly, pleasant and helpful. Coming from Vancouver was a breeze and we will definitely make this “easy” trip over 205 many more times. I will be telling my friends in Vancouver about this place. Too bad you don’t have another Country Cat in Vancouver….thank you for the great food and atmosphere at a great price! Oh…and the well orchestrated cooks are fun to watch and cute too!
montavilla muncher says
I just wanted to chime in as a Montavilla neighbor. Why can’t we have good food here? Is it really a crime to put 3 huge pieces of sustainable chicken on a plate fried lovingly to order in a single-batch cast iron skillet? Other restaurants charge higher prices for a smaller serving of roasted chicken. Is this something that you make at home often? Have you tried the chicken at Chicken Little? If it is too expensive then order the burger, but please, all of you, I am so tired of having to drive somewhere to eat, and though I mostly cook at home…for quality and value…I am glad to have a neighborhood place to go to with quality ingredients. The food was good, not out of the park, but give them a chance and let them try to make it right. They seem like nice, agreeable folks.
Maybe more wine and beer choices will come when their feet are firmly on the ground.
OK..this is off topic, but montavilla muncher has peaked my curiosity….what is the deal with Chicken Little??? I have sat at that stoplight and tried to figure out if that is really a restaurant, it just looks like a back room or something. Do you go into the bar next door for the chicken? I assume from your comment that it’s not very good.
Adam spent 11 years in one restaurant to develop his relationships; that’s the plan here. Yes, $18 is on the high side for friend chicken but one of his paid employees had to spend time boning the thing and making the batter, cooking it and putting it on your plate after some delivered it to the restaurant from the farm where someone else had to care for it’s well-being before slaughtering it. No one goes into the restaurant business to make money. The prices are set accordingly and fairly.
And yes, the restaurant probably cost a 1/2 mil since all of the wood work was custom on top of all of the kitchen equipment, etc.
I was informed that Adam is committed to his purveyors and supporting their livelihoods which is that “slow food” mentality that Portland boasts to maintain. We all work hard for our money and strive to get a deal and eat well at the same time. I think that choosing to build this type of restaurant in the Montevilla neighborhood was no accident. Smart, working class sophistication seems to be the modus operandi here.
Let’s support Adam and his team so that he can support you.
montavilla muncher says
Kelly, Chicken Little is not my type of fried chicken. The place (next to the bar) is a sparesly decorated store front with a deep frier. You can order the chicken from the bar, I think, or order it at the little counter and take it out. I found it greasy and not that flavorful. My biggest concern, however, is where the chicken comes from…which I must admit I don’t know.
That said, it does get written up as some of the best fried chicken in Portland.
I have to chime in…
Betty was the name first given to the groupies of the skateboarding world- not snowboarding- snowboarders inherited it.
as for Country Cat, Adam is doing exactly what he said he would- which in this town, concerning places to eat, is a wonderful thing. Good food with an environment that is as good for the vendors as it is for the guests. What a concept! My guess is that he learned from the best- oh right! he did! I haven’t been in yet, but ate his food often at Wildwood. He knows his way around the kitchen, yes, but what will make Country Cat a place full of “regulars” will not have much to do with the price. I suspect it will have a lot to do with the consistent good quality and his warm & engaging personality. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I feel better paying a little more to someone I like…
P.S. He was heavy handed with the salt at Wildwood. Notorious for it, even. Just ask for light salt.
Is anyone else disturbed by the fact that it is acceptable in the blogosphere and other online forums to completely dissect a restaurant that has only been open for about fifteen days? The SF Chronicle had an article on the negative effect of Yelp! and other online consumer feedback websites on new restaurants in a Sunday addition back in March.
Food Dude threatens to “sharpen his pencil” if the kinks aren’t worked out at Country Cat within a couple of months. Jeez, really? After three (!) visits in the first ten days of opening, isn’t that what you’ve already done? Why not a minute by minute review: “…the first minute was promising–the restaurant smelled great–but ten minutes later, I was disappointed because I wasn’t seated yet…”?
New restaurants are made or broken by this kind of hasty, unprofessional and sometimes snarky “review”. Most people open restaurants because they are passionate about food. New restaurants can be an anchor in the revitalization of a neglected neighborhood. As pointed out before, with such slim profit margins, they are obviously a labor of love. People work too hard at restaurants to be undermined by amateur “foodies” who spend ten minutes at their keyboard after spending their meals thinking up witty new ways to “critique”.
pollo elastico says
Same old canard — the irresponsible “blogosphere”. Red herring…as if ethical conundrums don’t exist in traditional media.
Doesn’t that fact that there’s 44 comments (45 including this lame one) re: a restaurant that’s been open only a few weeks count for something? Ten years ago, would a new restaurant generate this level of conversation?
So, no, I’m not disturbed. I might I find MySpace, Twitter, selling body parts on eBay, or amateur porn incredibly tacky, but it’s not disturbing – it’s a reality that can be dealt with by just choosing to ignore.
Nice to see lots of discussion on Country Cat. While I strongly disagree with the opinions that veer toward the “too expensive for our neighborhood, where is the good afforadable breakfast joint, etc” I think it is hardly Adam’s fault or lack of vision, it’s your expectation that may need a makeover. The fact that Country Cat and Academy Theater are anchoring a revitalization on this street gives me hope for more quality businesses and a broad range of choices for neighbors. At least a step up from the foam mattress company and the meth-head taverns of the past. We have eaten there 3 times and while prices are moderately expensive, they are reasonable compared to most other restaurants of this caliber in town. And kids eat free on Sundays, that hardly shows that Adam is tone-deaf to what a neighborhood may want.
Oh yes, the FOOD! I found it good to excellent, nothing dissapointing. Chicken was good, a touch on the dry side, but that was on opening day. Loved the beer batter fried rockfish. The burger is very good, the onion rings that come with it are orgasmic, incredible. Artichoke skewer was a little small, but very tasty with a delicious coral mushroom or two on the skewer. My favorite so far is the whole hog. Wow! So it’s hearty fare, no doubt, but there are light offerings to be found. Beer list is short, but it is a high quality selection. This is not the kind of place that requires 25 on tap, it is not that big of a place. Best yet, I find the personnel there to be top notch. We saw first day jitters, but since then, service has been warm, knowing and prompt, no timing problems, no goofs. Love to eat by the kitchen. The staff is genuinely engaging and eager to please without being forced in the least. We feel comfortable and welcome each time there and while folks are quibbling about the price, it is NOT that high and we have left completely stuffed (or carting home a box) every time for our money. A family of three can hardly get out of Burgerville for less than 30 bucks these days and spending $40 for 3 at a fine place like Country Cat is well worth what you get and what this neighborhood is getting in return. Next comes the Farmer’s Market in July. The street is changing and I hope the naysayers and skeptics are willing to give businesses like this some time to evolve and get their legs before we pass too much judgement on its viability in the neighborhood.
I ate there on Wednesday and enjoyed the meal. The chicken was very good–but the braised lettuce needs to take a hike. The green goddess dressing is to die for. The trout rules. The hand pie is sublime.
The restaurant seems overly loud and there’s a little too much light. I really, really love the space but I think some curtains would help. There was a table of loud diners, which is okay, but everytime they burst into laughter it was deafening. Seems they should take a measure or two to improve the acoustics. That’s my only compaint.
Had dinner there last night with a couple of friends. Overall an enjoyable evening. Service was really great, attentive without being overbearing. We had a bottle of wine and our waitress was great about coming over to refill our glasses. Speaking of the wine list, it was nice. If you’re into high end wine, it’s not the list for you, but I found it well matched to the prices of the food.
The lettuce wedge with green goddess dressing and soft boiled egg was delicious.
The entrees we ordered were the “Whole Hog” and the Fried Chicken. The chicken, while good, was very undercooked in the center, almost raw. I noticed another poster had an issue with her burger not being fully grilled, sounds like they need to do some work on cooking times. I had mixed feelings about the Whole Hog – a combination of pork shoulder, belly and a chop, served on grits. The smoked pork shoulder was delicious, as were the grits, gravy and pork belly. The brined pork chop was just ok. Surprisingly dry and tough.
Desserts were good, the fallen ice cream cone offered three types of ice cream: vanilla with caramel sauce; pistachio; and coffee. They were all good, but the coffee was phenomenal. Strawberry shortcake will be better when the berries are at their peak in June.
We’ll definitely go back. Adam came out during the night to check on all the tables and see how everyone was doing, a nice touch. Seems like they’re still working out some kinks, but what do you expect? It’s pretty great in my opinion for the short length of time they’ve been open.
We hit Country Cat on Wednesday night. It’s way out of our way, but was delicious enough to warrant more visits. We thought the menu was really inexpensive, considering the quality of the food and the portion sizes. Sorry to say, I have to disagree with you regarding the wine list, kabe. IMO, it’s mostly big name, not very interesting stuff. There are a few small, local producers on the list, but other than that, it looks as though Columbia or Mt. Hood or some other big-time wine distributor owns the rest.
That hand-pie rocks. (And I like braised lettuce!)
My first pick of a new business in the ‘hood (moved in 2 yrs ago) would have been a funky breakfast spot like Junior’s. No matter because I am still very happy the Country Cat has opened. I haven’t been yet, but do have plans for next week…maybe they will put the menu online by then.
Glad to see so much discussion on this.
Lynne, FD has done that for you:
Food Dude says
Thanks Jill! I’m trying to get around enough to link all the reviews with the menus, as I’m going to keep them separate from now on. That way I can update the menu, and the review will reflect it. So much to do, so little omph.
Thank you FD!
I think people should feel privelaged and flattered by the Country Cats selecting the Montavilla neighborhood. I live near Woodstock, and would love a restaurant that dedicates itself as much to the food and the community as Adam and his restaurant have.
My mom wanted to try Country Cat on Mother’s Day. So, of course, we went. The hostess was lovely, promptly seating my party of eight, though they were busy and had reserved tables waiting. The restaurant was very nice and new, obviously a tremendous remodeling project. We were quick to get our drinks and our food, both of which satisfied nicely and my mom was happy.
I have to chime in about the spendy meals. This place is spendy. All the “pearl” and “alberta” food afficianados may scoff at the comments regarding the price of the meals at Country Cat. Many no doubt moved to Portland from another city where meals were far more expensive (as were houses). But for my Portland dime, Country Cat is asking a lot. It’s asking me to pay $20 for fried chicken. It may be the best gourmet fried chicken in town, but it’s still fried chicken. I, and most of my party, did exactly as another commenter snidely suggested, and ordered the burger. It was okay. (The onion rings were terrific. Probably the best I’ve ever had.) The point I think so many are missing is this: many people cannot afford to take their families out to restaurants where meals are $15+, and where some have to order and pay for salads separately from the cost of their meals. That’s it in a nutshell. So, when Country Cat bills itself as a family restaurant, one assumes that a family in Southeast Portland can afford to eat their maybe once a week. Well, my family can’t, and won’t. This probably won’t matter one bit to the owner or those who can afford to eat here. But it does matter to the people who were hoping to have a place to take their families, and discovered that they don’t have the means to do so.
Finally, the underlying snobbery of so many of the comments is both distasteful and unnecessary. It’s a fact that even lower income people would like to take their families to a nice restaurant. This sentiment in particular is troubling:
If you are looking for clean space (or don’t care) and entrees under $15 or maybe even under $10, I’m afraid you’re fated to an existence of fast food and one-notch higher corporate swill.
Wow. I guess I didn’t realize that cleanliness and a proper meal were so utterly beyond the grasp of the working class. Guess you have to keep the riff-raff out somehow, eh?
Yes, keep the riff-raff out by all means. In the mean time, $20 for the best fried chicken in town sounds like a hell of a deal to me. Just because a place is billed as a “family” restaurant doesn’t mean it has to be affordable. There are rich families that need to go out to eat too…
I think restaurants should raise their prices, especially the ones that don’t take reservations. Then there would be less of a wait for tables. ;)
So where can a guy go in this town for some $50 fried chicken and onion rings…
wow, not sure who’s harsher – Elizabeth or Apollo. E, i doubt Adam can afford to go out for a $20 entree these days based on how much of himself he’s poured into his new restaurant, both financially and personally, so i would think he cares greatly about value in what he puts on the table. if it’s the best fried chicken you’ve ever had and one time it cost you $20 to have that life experience, what’s wrong with that? if you’re upset that you can’t afford to have that amazing experience every week, then join the club with the rest of us who also can’t afford great meals all the time. Apollo, sounds like you’re in the opposite camp where you’re happy to chuck money at anything if you get whatever you want back in return. Portland seems an odd choice for you to be living. So more power to you for realizing your dollar goes a lot farther here in P-town than other cities, but really not nice to sling your wealth in other people’s faces.
With all due respect ELizabeth, look at the menu beforehand. Too expensive? Go somewhere else. It’s not snobbery, it’s common sense.
With all due respect Elizabeth, look at the menu beforehand. Too expensive? Go somewhere else. It’s not snobbery, it’s common sense.
At what price point do riff-raff become diners?
Money isn’t everything, but it’s all some people have.
My wife and I have eaten at “Country Cat” four times since it opened. Our experiences match many of those noted here–fantastic food, but uneven sometimes–one week the duck was meltingly soft, the next week, it was tough–and adding tabasco to the green goddess dressing? Please note those kind of south of the border shenanigans on the menu! The chocolate pudding is wonderful, though pairing it with a single sugar cookie seems anti-climactic.
We really like the place, food, wine–and the bar stools are comfortable!
It is a bit expensive, as noted here, but since we periodically (And I mean now and again, not every week), eat at places like Fife, Carafe, Castagna, Ken’s Pizza, etc.–the prices are quite in line with those establishments–the food quality is getting there too, and we can walk to the Country Cat from home. One pet peeve is the silly name–if anything would put people off, I think it would be “Country Cat”–one expects gingham curtains and all the mediocre coffee you can drink–so what’s with the name, anyhow? (I know, who cares about a name if it’s good food–but I’m curious); we also still will be eating at Ya Hala–their lamb, etc. is sooo good.
Welcome to the neighborhood County Cat! Hooray!
Hey, I just happen to spend all of my disposable income on food. I think “the best” of anything is priceless. I just might not be able to afford it. BTW, I was born and raised here, and I happen to be one of the few fourth generation Oregonians left… However I do prefer the way it is now to the way it used to be around here.
To me “riff-raff” are the ones that complain about prices. If you can’t afford it, don’t go there. It’s not like you see me complaining about the prices at El Gaucho. You also don’t see me eating there either. But you will see me complaining about restaurants that don’t take reservations. And I bet if those same restaurants raised prices there would be fewer people that would be willing to wait in line.
Elizabeth: Please accept my apologies if my post seemed elitist. That was not my intent. The simple fact remains that if you want high quality, locally sourced food in new surroundings, whether it’s called a “family” place or otherwise, it is going to be tough to find for under $10. That is simple food service economics. For Country Cat to be providing what it is at less than $20 per entree is an excellent value. Honest.
What is sad is that the corporate swill-meisters have so co-opted the term “family restaurant.” As a result, many folks equate family dining with the likes of these huge distantly-owned chains that couldn’t give a crap about supporting local agriculture or putting the highest possible quality product on your plate or even being a good neighbor. Instead, they choose to compete almost solely on price which they can do because they buy their supplies in huge quantities from god knows where, distribute them around the country and give you as little quality as they figure they can get away with.
So, look, I’m sorry you can’t afford to take your family to Country Cat every week. If you’d rather spend your limited restaurant budget at bogus “family” joints like Shari’s or Denny’s or whatever every week, your choice. But I honestly hope you and other family diners will consider patronizing instead a stand-up guy like Adam Sappington—who actually lives near the business he owns and cares what he serves you—as often as you can afford it.
I’ll bet he’d do the same if you owned a small, independent business in his neighborhood.
Oh, yeah: me 3d gen Portlander and this is where I like to spend my dimes too.
It’s a fact that even lower income people would like to take their families to a nice restaurant.
Well, sure, but sometimes — heck, most of the time — the family is going to have to be willing to pay $20 a person. Most “nice” restaurants, in any city, don’t bring the salad gratis. Times have changed. Also, as mcz said, the owner has to charge what he’s got to charge. As someone who owns a business, I will tell you, when the price of, say, paper cups go up, I feel it, and so will you.
We hear a lot about how Portland in days of yore was, if not better, than more comfortable; more affordable. I would be interested to know which nice restaurants Elizabeth, or other readers, are talking about, so that those of us that do not have a point of comparison, will. This is a somewhat loaded request, as I suspect there was not in 1976 the quality-equivelent of the Country Cat serving chow for four bucks. But, I could be wrong.
Nancy – I got here in 1977. I was pretty broke for the first few years. We didn’t go out to eat much. Cheap but pretty good was Mountain Moving Cafe. Their cheesecake is some of the best I have had anywhere. I think it was pretty much vegetarian.
I remember that two could get out of Pettygrove House (when NW was just coming out of redline) for around $20. Sometimes my grams would send me $20 and it was almost always spent on a meal out. I am not sure what inflation would be on $20 of 1978 money but Pettygrove House was a pretty nice place (not L’Auberge or anything but darned good) back then. So I guess that’s my answer to the question about the past.
I’ve been to Country Cat. For what it is, it’s a bit spendy if you compare it to a Simpatica dinner (4 courses) but it’s not a family dinner either. Still it’s not outrageous.
Al B says
Saying “if you don’t like the prices, don’t eat there” and in the same paragraph berating someone for saying they won’t go back because the prices were too high is just ridiculous. Anyone has the right to post here, and some of the posters think the prices are too high, and want to express that opinion. By your own logic: if you don’t like what I have to write, don’t read it.
Believe, if you will, that one can’t get a good quality dinner for less than $25 per person in this town. I won’t bother to enlighten you; you’ll only make the wait longer at the places I love to eat. You just keep on thinkin’ it’s Applebee’s.
BTW, I’ve peeked into CC a few times at 6:30 – 7 in the last couple of weeks and saw it mostly empty. Not a good sign. Montavillians of Modest Means may get their friendly eatery yet.
Hey Al –
I’m guessing you’ve not worked in the restaurant business in Portland – during the summer, most of the upscale restaurants here don’t get busy until much later. We walked into Country Cat at 7pm one night. It was half full, but by the time we finished our meal at 8:30, the place was cranking. Same story for Clyde Commons when we went last week.
I’d much rather pay a bit more for local, sustainable, organic product than pay $10 for something made at a joint with questionable purchasing habits. Yeah, I occasionally like my pho at some of the dive spots on 82nd, but I don’t make a regular habit of it. (that sure ain’t hormone free beef in there at $7.75 per bowl.) It’s all about choices – I’ll eat out less often and feel safer about it, but that’s just me.
It sounds as though some in the neighborhood have a grudge against the “fancy” new restaurant. Hopefully the outsiders will appreciate Country Cat and keep it crankin’.
And here’s a crazy thought (and something I occasionally, very politely, suggest to my customers when they start a sentence with “You know what you should do….?”) Why don’t one of the folks complaining about high prices at CC open a restaurant of their own in Montavilla? In all seriousness, if you want a particular style of establishment in your hood, why not quit your bitchin’ and get your ass in the kitchen? It might be an unqualified success, or you might find out just how slight the margins are for most restaurants.
oh ellie, -loved- your post!
and this is hilarious:
‘quit your bitchin’ and get your ass in the kitchen’
do you mind if i use that as the title of my next book?
haha…pure genious. :)
Corny Adjunct says
It’s all a part of the Gentrification process folks. It only gets better. For some people.
Yeah. Blame it all on gentrification. Convenient.
I agree mczlaw… Gentrification is a total non-factor in the case of businesses on Stark St. Not one business has been “priced out” of their spot. No, not the foam mattress company, not the ramshackle bars and certainly not one of the many empty storefronts that have sat vacant for YEARS. In fact, many small businesses have begun to set up shop. Horror of horrors! Generalizing about evil gentrification is, well, generalization and I can tell you (Stark St will never be a NW 21st or SE 28th) from having lived near Stark for 15 years, the history of that steet has involved benign neglect for years. I think it is wonderful that Adam at Country Cat, the folks who run Academy Theatre, Bipartisan Cafe, the small spa, the gift shop, the little wine shop, had the courage to take a chance on opening business on the street. It’s a big risk, especially with attitudes some folks have about gentrification and “this restaurant is too expensive for us, therefore it doesn’t belong and we won’t go”… yeah, I guess you greatly preferred the empty, abandoned drug store that sat there for years before Country Cat moved in. And for folks whose wallet isn’t deep enough for regular visits to Country Cat (like us), we still welcome Country Cat for what it offers and their presence will actually make it easier for some person to hopefully open great, cheap funky diner on the street. Give it time, it’ll happen.
But please don’t blame the folks who really nurtured that opportunity by taking a chance on the street. Take your battle to the big box joints if you must, but count your lucky stars that an otherwise drab, rundown street now sees folks going to movies, dining, safely walking around and interacting, making our street a neighborhood-finally.
I imagine if you asked the wonderful folks at the fine Ya Hala restaurant if they were happy Country Cat is across the street from there, they would say, “yes”. I bet their business has not suffered one bit from the choices folks now have.
Oh, and I think the food is great at Country Cat. No, we can’t afford to go that often, but it sure is nice to have that option and the folks there are making a big effort to be great, friendly neighbors. Do you think the coming Sunday Farmer’s market on Stark would have happened without the street being more liveable, oops, I mean, “gentrified”?
Gentrification is not a slur. But it is real.
Is Mr. Plywood still there? How about the sheet metal place?
Oh, never mind,
Nothing says home, like low prices and E.Z. parking
Marshall Manning says
As Eddie Murphy (as Mr. Robinson on an ’80s Saturday Night Live skit) said when the white guy moved in, “Here comes the Neighborhood!”
Give me a break. I lived on 76th and Halsey ten years ago–right across the street from a meth house. Prostitutes and gangs were not-uncommon along 82nd. Worst of all, there was nowhere memorable to eat.
Unlike the throngs of (mostly new) Portlanders bemoaning gentrification, my family has been here five generations. My older relatives are ecstatic to see certain parts of town being enlivened again–such as Alberta (where my grandfather owned a grocery store) and Mississippi (near where grandparents lost their house to the Interstate project–talk about gentrification.) Sure, people get displaced–but a lot of people are happy to stay–and happy they can finally lose the security door and the cyclone fence. Nice that we actually have diversity in our neighborhoods.
As for Stark, it’s a little ridiculous to blame Adam’s 18-dollar fried chicken for spoiling the neighborhood. The restauarant is only a few blocks from Mt. Tabor–where real estate has long been expensive. Plus, Stark Street used to be a busy artery of commerce. It’s nice to have a walkable street that’s so close to car-heavy 82nd Avenue. And yes, Stark does need a diner or a brew pub with everyday fare, but that’s not what Country Cat is trying to be. I’m sure someone will open one soon.
Quote: “Gentrification is not a slur. But it is real.
Is Mr. Plywood still there? How about the sheet metal place?”
I think Mr Plywood is still there, despite Home Despot being closeby. I think folks still go there because the staff has a clue, the quality of lumber is better and even though the price is a bit higher, you know you’ll receive better service, advice and attention. Kind of like the difference between Red Robin and Country Cat, without the lumber of course! Sit with the hordes at Applebee’s or Red Robin for your $12 chicken dinner or try something a touch more, uh, serene and tasty for $18 at Country Cat.
Guys, calm down. Nobody is saying that the CC is ruining Montavilla! The food is good, it’s a great room, it’s just pricey and not “just what I wanted”.
It’s not gentrification pro vs. con. It’s $50 dinner vs. $25 dinner.
Meanwhile, the westsiders and Sunnysiders can drive their cars over Mt Tabor to eat all the hormone-free beef they want.
By the way, has anyone tried Country Cat’s burger? Worth the drive, walk, MAX, however you get out there.
CC is within walking distance of my residence. And I’m eager to try said top dollar fried chicken. And I’ll willing to pay it if it means that I get to eat a fantastic meal, not clean it up, support local small business and oogle at the pretty tiled cat at the entrance.
I appreciate the entire package CC brings to the neighborhood.
I can walk to Country Cat, too, from my house, and I have to say, the food is fantastic. It may not be what the “neighborhood needed,” but who cares? It has very good food, and I can feel good about spending a little more because I know where the food comes from. How many places in the US can you go and say that?
I will patronize this place as much as I can afford to–and I agree that it will only bring more businesses to the Stark St. corridor.
I know where the food comes from. How many places in the US can you go and say that?
Thousands? Hold it, no, this is a trick question.
I’m going with hundreds of thousands.
I went to Country Cat for the first time last week. I LOVED it. I’m surprised that no one has mentioned the bar option. As much as I would love to eat out anywhere once a week, it’s not in the family budget but I did enjoy a great martini (ok not just one) and a couple of shared appetizers at the bar. It was delicious, reasonable and I’ll do it as much as I can. Besides, just because many people in the area can’t afford a full meal for 4 once a week doesn’t mean they can’t come in for a beer and housemade preztels on a regular basis. Or, like I saw two seperate parties do, dessert and coffee. And how great is it to have a decent place to get a drink in that neighborhood? Somewhere that serves cocktails and I can actually see in the window from outside? What a concept! (I’m not counting the atmosphere-free wine bar thing. I haven’t heard a good word and I’m scared to try it for fear of great disappointment)
Besides all that, if this place is successful then other businesses will open too. And we can all get breakfast now! Yay!
Ate at CC for the 1st time last night. I really liked the atmosphere…if a bit noisy. Unfortunately, we were not at all impressed with the food. I ordered the Heritage Burger, and the taste of the so called ‘garlic mayo’ was a real turn off. I am not usually a picky eater, but I had to remove the top bun in order to taste the burger. My father had fried fish, which he said was decent, although wished for more than two pieces of fish, and he didn’t touch the coleslaw after the first taste. The onion rings were nice and plentiful, but otherwise we were both a little disappointed. Overall, I got the feeling that they were trying a little too hard to create a simple-yet-hip country style menu.
The service was a little brisk: we had the feeling that we were being rushed out and weren’t well attended to despite at least four waitresses in the small dining room.
I will probably go back for another try… maybe lunch will be a little better.
New Haven Pizza says
I’ve been won over after two trips. Both times I sat at the counter. The first time, the place was hopping and I have to say it was almost worth the price of admission to watch these guys ply their craft. The night I was there, the dish that now features mussels was done with razor clams. Adam handled them like a poker player handles his chips: rat-tat-tat-tat-tat in the pan. Even though they were moving at a non-stop pace, I was asked every step of the way how I was doing. On top of that, Adam noticed that I was drooling at the site of the clams, so he gave me a little sample bowl, which were absolutely delicious. The broth with the accompanying bacon pieces… very good.
Dining alone, I read about the fried chicken here, so I ordered that. While I can’t say I loved the sauce, the dark meat pieces were fantastic. As usual, white meat just isn’t as flavorful and juicy. I disagree with a previouis poster who had a problem with paying $18 for friend chicken. This is 2007, and besides, this isn’t KFC we’re talking about.. this is a wonderful dish prepared by masters at what they do. I also ordered a side of rings, which was more like a side of a building, it was so large. I couldn’t stop, although at one point I just had to. They are amazing. Alas, I noted a little secret. Read on…
I then went back with my son. It was late on a Thursday night, and the room was nowhere near as busy as my prior visit. We shared two dishes–the Heritage burger, which is made from excellent beef they grind in house from a whole side, and the bacon-wrapped trout.
Being able to watch these guys work, as I said, is a treat. While the burger is grilling, a big slab of cheddar is dropped in a pan with some butter, and melted in the pan, to be poured on top of this delicious charred mound of meat. The onion bun is grilled perfectly. I think this was the best burger I’ve had in ages… better than the one I throw on a Thomas’ English Muffin. But here’s the deal, with the burger you get a mound of those amazing onion rings that even my 18 year-old son and I couldn’t finish between the two of us. For $10, this is easily the most amazing value in town. Think about it. An onion brick anywhere is what? Six bucks at least? Throw in the burger for $4, and bam. You’ve got yourself the most delicious arterial clog this side of Mt. Hood.
The trout and the accompanying vegetables were perfect together. Yes, perhaps more bacon than necessary, but then, when is too much bacon too much?
We also ordered a side of the most amazing cholesterol inducing butter covered mashed potatoes on the planet.
The service was great both times… no problems on the really busy night, and my server made me feel really welcome, since I was all alone. Adam introduced himsef while making sure I was satisfied, and was exceptionally friendly in the midst of juggling what would have me broken down crying if I were doing that much multi-tasking. I have no clue how these guys do what they do, and get so much so right.
Having been completely stuffed, I figured, what the hell, let’s do the Country Cat, and piled on a blackberry cobbler and the brownie sundae with honey ice cream, both of which, with a cup of excellent coffee, were worthy toppers to this great meal. My son said this was his favorite meal in a long time, and while I eat out more than he does, I can say that my two trips to the Country Cat have me thinking this is worth the drive from Lake Oswego any night of the week, except for maybe Monday and Tuesday, when they’re closed.
I ate at Country Cat for the first time last night. I had a great dinner. My husband and I started with the fish cakes. We had the fried chicken and the pork for entrees with sides of mashed potatoes and onion rings.
A lot has been said about the price of the items on the menu. I’d like to add that the portions here are quite LARGE and in my opinion, were definitely worth the money. Also, I find that $18/entree is pretty standard fare these days and if it’s prepared by a chef with the history that this one has, I’m pretty happy to pay that.
Also, as someone pointed out recently, there is an interesting bar menu too (and beef jerky for $10/pound).
country cat is too pricey for the neighborhood. for those who ask what we expect to pay for locally sourced foods, I’ll give you this: tonight at home I made entirely locally sourced foods from the farmer’s market the day before, excepting the lemon and olive oil: albacore tuna, tomatoes/basil, zucchini, fingerling potatoes – our 3 plates together cost $8 total. 30 mins or less in the kitchen, and enjoyed time at that.
so sorry, buddies. local sourced fresh food costs very little here in portland. when something costs me $2-3/plate to make, there’s no need to spend $20/plate at a restaurant.
country cat might bring in other businesses, but what kind? the streets and neighborhoods become safe etc with local businesses that thrive with the local residents – not out-of-towners. great example: peter luger’s on broadway in williamsburg brooklyn – for decades they existed among gang-infested streets, on the paychecks of wealthy manhattanites and long islanders – only in the past couple years did the street become better, and it wasn’t from peter luger’s (best steakhouse in ny), it was from affordable places for the new residents in williamsburg.
Whistle, It is completely absurd to use the cost of making a meal at home as a basis for determining the value of a meal at a place like Country Cat. And it’s quite questionable whether you have any clue as to their real costs. I highly doubt that it’s $2-3 a plate as you say. Look at the portions of chicken, duck, mussels, etc. The accompaniments may be $2-3, but not the heart of the dishes. No way.
When one goes out, they go for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the convenience of having someone else prepare a variety of meals (if you’re going out with someone other than yourself) with the talent and skills that Adam and his team in the kitchen have–and then clean up after you! They, as well as other restaurants, have comfortable seats, atmosphere, attentive staff who attends to your needs, lights that help you see your food, heat or air conditioning that makes the experience comfortable, pots, pans and cooking implements that make your meal possible, and then of course, people need to actually make a living owning an establishment like that. Everyone who works there needs to have a reason to show up for work, and that’s a paycheck.
I’ve been to The Country Cat a number of times, and drive from quite a distance to visit. The real proof as to its value is very simple–whether people continue to pack the house, as I’ve seen be the case during most of my experiences there.
There aren’t many dining opportunities in that neighborhood, as far as I can see, so you’re most likely comparing the costs there to the fast food or chain joints in 82nd. In relation to Portland overall, the prices are very much in line. As a matter of fact, while I could make this same argument about the Whole Hog, BBQ Beef, huge plate of fried chicken, if dining budget is an issue to you or anyone, I would venture to guess you won’t find a better value anywhere in Portland than the incredible burger and plateful of amazing onion rings at the Country Cat for a mere 10 bucks. Most places charge $6 for onion rings that can’t hold a candle to Country Cat’s. To get a mound of those with the house-ground beef, pan-melted cheese and homemade ketchup on that burger puts anything to shame out there, fast food or steak house. And while a few years ago one would look at a menu and think $10 for a burger was a lot, that’s not the case now. Go to your neighborhood Red Robin if you have the stomach for that and see what they’re getting. Or even Carl’s Jr.
Peter Luger’s? You don’t think its reputation permeated the areas way outside of the Williamsburg Bridge to bring people there over time and change the neighborhood? My grandfather used to have us drive up from Connecticut and he’d have a cab take us there from his apartment in midtown Manhattan. And what does this have to do with Country Cat?
It’ll either thrive, survive or falter based on a mix of people from around the area appreciating it, and those like me who don’t find it a big deal to drive out there and enjoy it. I have to drive to go anywhere, and it’s no big deal to go there versus 21st Ave to Wildwood, where you’d have the same group preparing your food a year ago (and spend a lot more), for example. I can tell you from first-hand experience that it’s very much appreciated by Adam and his staff that those of us who have to pass many other restaurants to get there do that. They’ve made me and whomever I’ve brought there feel very welcome. That’s more than I can say for many other places. And you can’t put a price on that.
Cuisine Bonne Femme says
When traveling through Asia a few years ago my boyfriend and I came up with an expression, “it’s worth what you pay for it.”
The meaning was that depending on the circumstances, prices are worth it if you are willing to pay for it. This was specifically referring to wildly varying prices for the same things depending on where you were (Hong King vs. Laos for example), what you could bargain it for, how badly you want it, and how much money you make. Sometimes you pay for not having to do something yourself – which is the point of dining out in many cases. You pay for someone else to buy, prepare, serve, clean up, and for their space and labor. Also, these are the huge costs of running any business. duh. Monetary costs aside, there is the cost of time that you did not factor into your assessment above.
So, because you don’t mind spending the cost (time and monetary) to shop, cook, serve, and clean up, and use your own rent for your own kitchen and dining room, Country Cat is not worth it to you. Fair enough.
However someone else might think it is worth it, and in fact owing to the popularity of Country Cat, many do.
Can’t say if it “serves the neighborhood though”, whatever that means. It probably has increased the tax base of the neighborhood which in essence does serve some of those the neighborhood very well in that regard. I also think your Portland / Brooklyn comparison is way off. These are two very different cities in very different eras with different sets of economics, land use, demographics, and real estate patterns as well as overall planning and city service deliveries. That’s like comparing Brooklyn in the early 1980s to Portland in 2007, oh wait, that’s exactly what you did. Doesn’t fly – sorry.
Oh, and for the record, I’m not a big Country Cat fan either but recognize that obviously they have found a niche doing what they are doing and people like to eat there including people that live within the “neighborhood” and outside of it. So what’s the big deal?
What kind of restaurant would serve the neighborhood anyway? Or should people just stay home and cook?
I just don’t get your points.
Nancy Rommelmann says
Whistle – Comparing the price of what you buy and cook at home with what you eat in a restaurant is not apples and oranges, more, pea shooters and truck tires. You might buy a pound of coffee at my husband’s place for $13. Go home, use a little to make a latte, add the price of the milk, and think, huh, why do I pay $3 for this at Ristretto when it cost me something like 40-cents to make at home? Here’s why (pasted from previous comment):
Rent, electricity, gas, appliances, dishes; replacement dishes; licenses; health insurance for employees; cash register tape; inspection fees; ice machine; fire insurance; workman’s comp.; taxes (state; local; Trimet; equipment); security system; computer system; accountant; bookeeper; lawyer; advertising; hardware; contractors, cleaning supplies; paper goods; take-out containers; phone, coffee beans, dairy, and payroll.
Sheesh, four new posts and nobody’s even mentioned this morning’s Oregonian review (from Roger Porter)?
I suspect “Whistle” is really just Doctor Stu writing under a different nom de cheap.
Personally, I’d like to know which farmers market Whistle shops at where you can supposedly buy all the stuff he or she lists for “$8 total.” Because I know if I tried buying all that at any of the farmers markets I frequent, I’d expect to be paying at least twice as much.
Food Dude says
People still read the Oregronian?
Yes, well, where else are you going to look for entertainingly mockable food writing around here nowadays? [I suppose you could count the Big! New! Food! Magazine! they’ve just launched — at least I assume that with all those ads, MIX is an Oregonian-backed venture — but that would actually involve going out and buying a copy separately.]
Interestingly, Porter likes the onion rings as well as the rest of us, but he apparently had really bad luck with his fried chicken….
Cuisine Bonne Femme says
Wow. Didn’t Willamette Week, the Tribune, The Mercury, and of course Portland Food and Drink already do reviews of Country Cat several months ago?
Always on the cutting edge, the Oregonian.
I have to ask though, am I the only one besides Porter that doesn’t like the fried chicken at Country Cat? I thought it was too brined, too salty, and didn’t like the breading at all. Yet it seems to be so popular. What gives?
I had the “Whole Hog” a couple weeks ago at Country Cat. I really enjoyed it, though the chop was a smidge dry. The creamy grits more than made up for it though. In fact I want to go back for brunch to try the grits with breakfast! I lived in this neighborhood last year and a few years ago, and I wish it had been an option then – would have saved me the drive to downtown/Pearl just to get a decent meal.
You can read the whole account on my site:
Wow, this may be the most interesting comment thread on the site :) Yes, food, politics and socioeconomics are too intertwined to just talk about the “food,” which brings us back to gentrification…is it just me, or does the utterance of the very word make folks uncomfortable? Lots of posters got very defensive, very quickly.
As an Outer SE resident, I’ll go out on a limb and say that the Cat is probably not serving the current needs of most Montavilla residents. It’s more in the “if you build it, they will come” camp…and if you don’t think that the CC and the Academy will be the cornerstone of the “Montavilla Arts District” in years to come, stop deluding yourself. At the risk of being presumptuous (again), the “longtime” Montavilla residents who are accessing this site and in favor of the soon-to-occur gentrification are not the best representatives for most low-income and/or minority Montavillans.
Look, the food at CC is very good: the Whole Hog was delicious, complemented nicely by a carmelized tomato sauce, the Strawberry beef was fork tender, and then there’s that infamous chicken. As someone who occasionally does the Chicken Little thing, I’ll gladly pay for CC’s chicken as long as my wallet allows…which brings us back to the heart of the matter. Having been to CC, it feels decidedly unpretentious, perhaps as big a plus as it’s good food and incredibly eclectic beer selection ;-). If the neighborhood remains affordable, then everyone wins. But having seen the way Portland replicates the “urban elitist model,” I fear it will be a harbinger. But I’ll still be back to the Cat. Anyone try the jerky or brunch yet?
[And yes, there are “solutions” and/or alternatives to gentrification, it’s called affordable housing, inclusionary zoning, real estate transfer fees, etc…but the powers-that-be would rather have poor folks swept out to Gresham]
I have been to CC ’round 5 times and I LOVE IT! I just can’t stop thinking about the fish. It was so lightly FRIED and was on a lovely bed greens with a lemon vinigrette. And then a drizzle of a pesto or basil something. Two weeks later and I can instantly bring the taste memory back to mind. I hadn’t had such a good piece of fish since my grandad fried it on the bank of a river in 1981. And then the chicken, ah sh*t! I need to get back soon!
New Haven Pizza says
I just happened upon this page the night Food Dude re-reviewed Country Cat.
I’ve been to the Country Cat now probably a dozen times (and travel quite far to get there), and it appears to me that the Food Dude might be getting a bit taken with himself. To give the Country Cat two stars, and find the faults he did with the food, to me seemed off the mark. I rather enjoy the beef, and I’ve heard others rave about it, too. I think the Country Cat’s burger is second to none. In his review, Food Dude voiced only positives on the specifics (missing the fact that the cheese is melted in a pan and poured on top) but leaves the impression at the end that the burger isn’t anything special. Coupled with those rings, it’s great–and a notable value.
How about the jerky? Amazing.
I haven’t read much on this site lately, and I am grateful to the Food Dude for helping lead me to a few of Portland’s fun spots (tonight I was at Rocket), but this review seemed too critical for a restaurant that in his opinion doesn’t shoot for the stars. That’s exactly the point, and Adam’s passion, to me and those I know, always results in a great meal at the Country Cat.
New Haven Pizza – How do you square someone having an opinion different from your own with “it appears to me that the Food Dude might be getting a bit taken with himself”?
If I love the author JM Coetzee, and you think he’s so-so, shall I say that you are taken with yourself?
New Haven Pizza says
I just got the feeling that he didn’t want to like it. Perhaps, on the flip-side, I want to like it. I’ve been treated very well there, not only from a hospitality standpoint, but gastronomically as well.
I’ve read many of Food Dude’s reviews, and appreciate what he’s done to help me enjoy Portland’s food scene. Sometimes reviewers feel as though they have to find a problem to validate their exercise, whether it be movies, restaurants, cars, or even dates. Either way… my opinion most likely will be shared by others… just as his is too.
I don’t know if anyone’s been following the brouhaha over at Portland Monthly regarding the Beast ad of Naomi Pomeroy holding the piglet. The moment I saw it, I thought it one of the most beautiful, simple, effective and provocative I’d seen. Recently, PM has received (and run) many letters to the editor from people canceling their subscriptions to the magazine because of how distasteful and offensive and un-PC they find the ad, and how they’d never frequent Beast because of it. Such is the spice of life.
By way of illustrating: how fortunate we are to have the freedom to disagree, and as NHP writes, to share and not share the opinions of others.
I’ve said it here before and I think most PFD readers agree: Food Dude has more than earned his creds. I sometimes don’t agree with him, but I have never thought he was in someone’s pocket or writing from malice (with the rare exception of righteously calling out trolls/sock puppets on his site). It’s just not his style.
Anyway, carry on.
I would’ve likely written a similar two-star review of CC in the period after they opened, but I’ve found them to have significantly raised their game in the last few months. I think they’re a solid step above Screen Door now, and deliver one of the best brunch menus in town.
The smoked duck legs with braised apricots is easily one of the best things I’ve eaten in PDX all year.
I’m with Flynn. In addition I love seeing Adam at the Montavilla farmers market on sunday mornings stocking up on veggies. I also love that in the middle of winter I could still get a creative and seasonal veggie soup or other dish. I also had some inconsistencies in the beginning but always get a great meal. Their brunch is pretty amazing as well. The lemon hollandaise sauce on the benedict is to die for. The warm cinnamon roll basket is also amazing. I don’t think I need to even go into what a great addition it is to the neighborhood. I don’t think it’s 4 star – worthy, but 2 seems a bit low.
They have Brunch now?!?
I am SO there….
For my money, MANY nights there have been 4-star worthy, but NEVER has it been two stars.
When a reviewer tries the Strawberry Mountain Beef and says, “The one time I had this dish it was inexcusably disappointing”, it sounds a bit drama-queen to me. Sometimes, despite the proper cooking method, meat can come out a little tough. Dissapointing? Sure. Inexcusable? I dunno. I’ve had various beef dishes there at least 20-30 times and the cut may have been slightly tough (grilled) once. And likely not from improper cooking.
It’s curious. I thought it was generally a favorable (if a bit flawed) review, but subsequently giving Country Cat 2 stars seems, uh “inexcusable”. But thanks for coming to our “somewhat seedy” neighborhood for a taste.
New Haven Pizza says
See Nancy… exactly my point. Critiques of critiques of a critique of a critique bear out the fact that more cooks in the opinion kitchen are better than one.
Country Cat deserves more than 2 stars, IMO.
Food Dude, can I ask how much of this review is new & how much is from the original review?
Finally visited the Country Cat (YaHala was closed) and tried out the chicken and dumplings. Oh dear. Filled with bones and cartilage. Seriously inedible. The service was top notch; they comped the dinner and made numerous apologies.
Apparently, this was a new menu item that they had try to do in bulk, and for anyone who has every stewed a chicken, you know you HAVE to be vigilant to avoid getting bones/bits/cartilage/skin, etc. in the mix.
I would try them again. I think it was an honest screw up, and they handled it well. Hopefully the chef will rethink his chicken stewing methods. The dumplings were yummy, as was the salad that came with.
As mentioned before, the service was great, and I think I’d like to try out their dinner and the notorious/controversial fried chicken. Plus, they have a full bar, and are open seven days a week. How can you go wrong?
As to the whole “gentrification” debate; well, yeah, some restaurants don’t fit their neighborhoods (remember Olive Stick on 82nd?) but I think Country Cat has a niche it can work. I’m glad to see the street have a little more life. It’s about time the neighborhood got some decent retail/food outlets. (I remember Belmont and 34th in the early ’80s, if you want to remember seedy. Skinheads beat that Ethiopian guy, Mulageta Seraw to death just one block from my apartment. Now it’s the epitome of trendiness, but it still has affordable dining/housing.) And yes, Mr. Plywood is still on Stark, and the sheet metal joint, and Rose City Upholstery (we just got our couch done there, BTW, and they sure as hell weren’t cheap.) and Mr. Beet, and a Farmer’s market in a gravel lot, and Thatcher’s, and the hot tub joint, and Flying Pie, and the most excellent Academy theater, where you can get a great nosh and a movie for a truly reasonable price. I don’t think gentrification has eradicated Montavilla’s downhome earthy style quite yet.
I think you have to judge a restaurant on the merits of the food, service, drink and ambience, roughly in that order. If you want to get in a heated debate about the inevitable change every neighborhood faces, the horrors of gentrification sure beat watching your neighborhood become a bullet-ridden, crack-addled hell hole. I’ve seen neighborhoods go both ways, and I’ll vote for “gentrification” every time.
Glad to hear your review about your dining experience at the Country Cat. I’m glad they copped to their mistake with the chicken and also comped you; that shows they have set standards for themselves that they intent to meet and they care about your complete dining experience.
In regards to the rest of your post, importantly, I don’t think *anyone* on this whole thread, me most certainly included, had one thing to say good or bad about ‘gentrification’. As a matter of fact, we intentionally did not bring up the subject.
All we spoke about was whether the Country Cat was going to be able to do well or not given the socioeconomic classes in the surrounding areas; whether it would be fiscally able to be supported by the neighbourhood (and/or beyond.)…
And I owe someone a beer or something I think, after the one year mark, which was June. :)
I haven’t seen their books or spoken with the owner, but it seems to be doing well. I think all of us Montavillans are happy for that.
Actually, Sharon, I bet you a full meal (Comment #29), but you had the foresight to turn down the wager (Comment #33). I wouldn’t have held you to it anyway. I am pleased enough that CC seems to be doing well. I don’t get out that way all too often, but when I have, it has been well worth the visit. You folks who live in the neighborhood are fortunate to have CC nearby.
Dave J. says
I have to say, this is one of the few times I’ve read a FD review and found myself surprised by the number of stars awarded at the end. Not saying I think the actual rating should be higher or lower (I’ve yet to eat at the CC), but just that the text didn’t seem to match the rating. If there’s a single review that captures my sense that rating systems like stars and grades should be abolished, perhaps this is the one. I know that stars/grades provide an easy way for someone to get your assessment at a glance, without troubling themselves to read through the entire piece, but in cases like this I think a 2 star review can been as poor, when after reading the review I thought FD’s assessment was pretty positive.
Food Dude says
I think it was a pretty average restaurant, so awarded it two stars. Eating there again after this review came out confirmed the rating in my mind, though I think I might have been slightly generous.
A two star review is only “poor” on a five star scale. At the end of the day, FD says he thinks the food is “uneven” and “frequently fails to live up to its potential.” That spells “average” and the stars reflect that. One might also speculate that a restaurant which “sets the bar much lower” with “good food at reasonable prices” is never going to rate higher than three stars out of four, though I hardly think FD is a snobbish sort. Many critics and publications would give such a restaurant no stars, or shunt it to the casual dining or cheap eats section.
quo vadis says
Have to agree.
2.5 will generally mean a place that does well in general but has some hit or miss aspects. Three means usually means a place is very good to excellent on a consistent basis. At least the ratings I am familiar with…
Food Dude says
My ratings are as follows:
* 1 star = below average
* 2 stars = average
* 3 stars = above average
* 4 stars = significantly above average/outstanding
New Haven Pizza says
You do eat out a lot. What’s your cholesterol count, FD?
Perhaps you should change your scale from stars to Vytorin pills.
I think the use of the term “ratings” is better than “awarded.” Just a thought.
I haven’t eaten at Country Cat since they opened. The disagreement over Food Dude’s rating prompted me to go back.
I’m afraid I’m with FoodDude on this one: it’s pretty average, two stars.
Adam Sappington will compete for the Portland’s Original Iron Chef title next May 16th, going up against David Anderson of Vindalho. Adam won the People’s Choice competition at this year’s Iron Chef event (a fund raiser for Children’s Relief Nursery).
“Adam won the People’s Choice competition at this year’s Iron Chef event”
Wow, amazing…and from a chef at “two star restaurant”.
The wife and I had brunch there on Sunday. As ususal, we left very satisfied and extremely happy at our choices off the menu. I have never had a bad experience here and the food is always great. My quibbles are minor, and they are always fixed immediately and graciously. People’s opinions of food are based on their own personal taste, which means that plenty of them will not like what I like. Having said that, the fried chicken is boss! The best I have had in town. Period. It is brined for a whole day, then soaked in buttermilk for another day. No wonder it is so heavenly. Adam should serve it in buckets to pick-up. I would order a 10-piece twice a week…and probably die young, but happy. I like this place. My wife likes it, and we will continue to take our business there.
I’m pretty enamored with Country Cat, I’d say it has been consistent in food and drink under numerous circumstances. I’ve taken a picky eating mother in law, five rowdy nieces all under the age of 12, had Thanksgiving dinner, and many a brunch with a benedict that hasn’t ever been anything other than properly cooked (poor egg cookery chaps my hide.) The homemade pretzels up at the bar are great, the vegetable sides make me actually want to eat things like turnips, and the way the Chef and kitchen staff handles all pork products or whole fish as mains reminds me of what it should: better than home cooking with home cooking associations/good memories. Service from the bar is very attentive, service on the floor has been more spotty but I get the impression that the style of service is just more casual which I have no problem with as it has never verged on rude/ignoring. Generally I felt surprised that only an “average” rating would be given, they’re a boon to their neighborhood, they care about food quality, and in contrast to the meals I’ve had lately at some of the more lauded restaurants they haven’t left me wanting. I think they really deserve more credit.
Interesting that this “average”, “two star” restaurant was just included in the November issue of Gourmet Magazine.
Late to the comment party, but just in case anyone’s checking back: We stopped in for breakfast/brunch last weekend, not attracted to the idea of waiting in the rain at other places.
Verdict: Outstanding flapjacks. Best ever, maybe. Minimal downside of having powdered sugar sprinkled on them. Big upside: Caramelized apple compote; real maple syrup. My husband had your basic biscuits & eggs & home fries. The taters were outstanding. I never got a bite of the biscuit, which gives you an idea of how good it must have been.
Oddly, the coffee tasted off. Alleged Stumptown. Hmm.
Great service. Waiter brought me hot water, unbidden, when it was clear I was pretty darned chilly.
I ate there recently (maybe 3 weeks or so ago) for brunch and also thought it was good. There are still other breakfast places that I prefer, but the food was prepared well, the service was fine, and we actually thought the coffee was particularly good when we were there.
My husband and youngest son (5) ate at the Country Cat about 6 weeks ago. Delicious! The place was hoppin’, Adam was smilin’, and the chicken was terrific. I couldn’t get enough of the greens. My son was very comfortable in the busy atmosphere. He loved the chocolate cake, and I have to say I agree. I couldn’t forget about those greens so we went back about 3 weeks later, this time bringing my 5 year old and my 16 year old daughter. She is a picky one, but had the wedge of butter lettuce with the green goddess dressing. It was great. The lettuce was very fresh, and the dressing nice and light tasting. We all had the chicken again with a side of perfectly cooked carrots. How do they get carrots of all different “widths” to cook so perfectly all at once? Anyway, the boneless chicken is a hit in my book, and the service was spot on both visits. We will make this a regular family stop. By the way- kids do eat free on Sunday, but we’ve only gone on Saturday nights. We live in Beaverton, but my hubby worked with Adam @ Wildwood, so we try to frequent the place. No need to go out of loyalty anymore. I think y’all should try it again.
I think Adam makes the best hollandaise in town. I’m getting hungry just thinking of it. They do need to work on greeting customers at the door. I’ve stood a very long time before being acknowledged.
C’mon, I’m not driving over the hill for chicken and a poorly dressed hooker.
I have had really mixed results here. A couple of very good meals, and (on the last visit) a barely edible dish. Honestly just awful. What bothered me most was that when I sent back a plate with more than 3/4 of the food left and a comment that it didn’t taste good at all there was no offer of any sort. Just a comment that the waitress was sorry to hear I didn’t like it and the bill. I live in the area, but won’t be back.
I wanted to respond to Karah’s comment. I was really bummed to read of her experience at our restaurant. We strive to provide the best product and customer service possible and, judging from her comment, that’s not what she received. Karah, you should not have had to pay for something you did not like. That is not how we roll. We’d love to make it up to you and win your business back. Feel free to call ther restaurant and
we can talk further.
Heidi Yorkshire says
Had an absolutely delicious lunch at Country Cat today — the Benedict with smoked sturgeon on a biscuit for me, fried chicken with heavenly, creamy pecan spoonbread for my friend. I have traveled extensively in the American Southeast and have never had versions of these dishes that were even remotely as well prepared as Country Cat’s versions. For now, it’s hard to think of a better lunch in Portland, for sure.
Good review. I got the burger and was a bit disappointed. It was densely packed meat and while juicy it was rather chewy. However the onion rings were spectacular! And I agree with the other comments–a bit pricy!
Only one word awful including the service. The food the worst dried potatoes uncooked bacon the seasoning disgusting.