A few months ago, the rumors of Chris Israel opening a Northern European restaurant were validated, with the announcement of Grüner, which means “greener” in German. Now comes the first official news.
The restaurant will be located at 537 SW 12th Ave, downtown. From the Grüner press-release: “Grüner is an adventure through the Alps and along the Danube River which begins in the Black Forest and ends at the Black Sea,” Israel explains. “As it passes through Germany, Austria, Hungary, and Romania, an alternate Europe emerges, with a hearty, earthier culinary tradition favoring savory, dill, caraway seeds, crème fraîche, horseradish and paprika as opposed to the more familiar southern flavors of garlic, basil, olive oil, fennel seeds and tomato. Much like the Pacific Northwest, this rich variety of cuisines is woven together by seasons and mountains and rivers.”
Grüner will have a tasting menu with items like smoked trout mousse with watercress sauce, beef short rib goulash, and shaved black radishes with sea salt and savory, along with dishes like German apple pancake, grilled quail with sour cherries, etc. A full liquor license will allow them to have a full range of cocktails, along with beer and wine to complement the cuisine.
An interesting side-note: Grüner is another project from ChefStable, the group that brought us Ping.
Now comes news of another restaurant with a similar cuisine – Spints Alehouse on the NE 28th area of Portland. It is opening at 401 NE 28th Ave, the old location of the crash and burn “401 Restaurant”. Owner Alyssa Gregg was most recently chef at Teardrop Lounge, before leaving last spring to focus on her new venture. Ted Charak, who you may remember as the affable co-owner of Teardrop, will man the bar. Catherine Cole did an Alyssa Gregg.
According to her press release, “Spints will be an alehouse featuring Northern European cuisine and eclectic blend of local and regional beers. In addition, our cocktail menu will focus on local distillers along with in-house craftsmanship. I will be acting as both owner and executive chef. The cuisine will be have its main focus on traditional German food, but have some influence from Belgium and Northern France to add some lighter fare.”
Both are hoping for a December opening.