Sunday, March 31, 2013


527 SW 12th Avenue
Happy Hour: 4:30 - 6 PM, Monday through Friday

Gruner has been on my happy hour to do list for almost as long as it's been open. For whatever reason, we haven't had the chance to make it here. Must have something to do with the weekday-only happy hour offerings. But that's why Spring Break is my official Happy Hour week. It gives me a chance to try out some of those places that are almost impossible to get to during the school year. I haven't been able to keep up with all of the writing, of course...but have officially outdone my Spring Break record by hitting a dozen new happy hours within the week.

Gruner was stop number one of two, so we were a bit selective on what we ordered and did our best to share everything. We ordered a few snacks and one drink each. It was enough to allow us the flavor experience without getting too full.

I was excited to try the Schwarzwalder Sling because it sounded refreshingly delicious and I was able to pronounce it. (Many thanks to Frau Breckon and two years of high school German, I can successfully order cocktails.) The Sling was made with Gin, Kirschwasser (which--I'm fairly certain--is called for in a number of fondue recipes), house-made grenadine, and soda water. I've given up my love of black cherry soda (it's just too sweet) but I loved the light cherry flavor this had to it.

As a snack, we ordered a bowl of the roasted pumpkin seeds, the polenta croquettes, and an order of the Hungarian cauliflower soup. I was apparently too excited when the soup arrived because I failed to take a picture of it. And it was so beautiful upon delivery, too. It had been topped with grated gruyere and it was easy to see the sweet and hot paprika.

The roasted pumpkin seeds were equally enjoyed by all three of us at the table. They were a perfect snack to share.

It was the polenta croquettes that became my ultimate favorite. I've already checked and know for sure that these are available on the dinner menu, too. (And next door at Kask.) They are similar to arancini balls that are on happy hour menus across Portland but are made with polenta instead of risotto. The crisp outside and melted cheese inside is by far what makes them so appealing. It's a perfect texture combination and so fun to eat.

Service was nearly perfect at Gruner. I was almost disappointed that we weren't planning to stay longer. I might be limited in what I can order (which is true at almost any German restaurant) but I am so ready to return for a full dinner. Hopefully the menu doesn't change too often because I already know what I want.

Food: Meets
Drinks: Meets
Service: Exceeds
Ambiance: Meets
Value: Meets


Gruner on Urbanspoon


  1. It's been ages since I've been to Gruner but I really liked it. It made my top 5 list of the best burgers in Portland!

  2. I adore Gruner! Definitely one of my top three most frequented spots in Portland- you have to also try their INCREDIBLE burger at the bar as well as their alsacian chicken with spaetzle. To die for.