Saturday, August 03, 2013

Another Perspective on the Urbanspoon Urbanhour at The Bent Brick

The Bent Brick
1639 NW Marshall
Happy Hour 4-6 p.m. daily

Disclaimer: Our food and drinks were complimentary, but all of our opinions are our own.

Urbanhour is an event Urbanspoon hosts for its top bloggers once a month. They partner with a local restaurant to present amazing food and drinks.  This month Urbanspoon partnered with The Bent Brick. Located close to the NW 23rd area, The Bent Brick has inside and outside seating. In the picture below you see lots of foliage, but the plants are not just for beauty--they are for the food and drink recipes created inside. The Bent Brick has an herb and tomato garden that surrounds its outdoor seating area. I thought this was a very unique and charming attribute of The Bent Brick.

We arrived a little early and had plenty of time to look over the drink, HH, and regular menu.  At first glance, many of the drinks were out of my comfort zone and a little pricy. For the first drink I stuck with my usual vodka, but what made this drink amazing was the mix of the house made blackberry pepper-mint soda. It was sweet, but not too sweet, and the bubbles were perfect; it was an excellent drink for a warm summer day.  These house made sodas can be ordered with or without alcohol.

I could have had vodka mixed with all their house made soda flavors (they were that good), but I pushed myself to try something new and oh, am I glad I did! The next drink was the old fashioned. It is on their menu but not located on their menu online. I'm not sure why, because this drink was sassy! It was house barrel-aged, blackberry-infused bourbon.
I was scared to try it but the waitress brought me a sample, and it was delicious! I actually ordered two of these through the night. Don't let the names or ingredients deter you--be adventurous, because the drinks at The Bent Brick are some of the best I've ever had.

Ok, I guess I should start talking about food, because I'm starting to sound like an alcoholic! Their drinks were that good!

The food was a smorgasbord of samples served family style from their menu. Prices given are for their happy hours. We started with the popped beans ($2). These were white and black beans that had been dehydrated and seasoned. They were good on their own as a little snack to accompany your beer, but I thought they would have been great on top of a green salad because of their salty flavor and crunchy texture. When I return I'll order a green salad off the happy hour menu ($3) and the popped beans and try it out.

Next, were the smoked salmon chips ($2). They were light, crispy and very flavorful. I had never had salmon chips before. They reminded me of pork rinds but much more tasty. I would order these again.

The next platter was a  country ham tray ($6) with several different ham slices from low to higher fat content. The waitress told us they buy a pig and then try and use as much of the animal as they can in their cooking. The ham had a smoky, salty flavor. To accompany the ham, The Bent Brick served Ken's bread and house made whipped lardo ($2). The lardo was made with the pig fat and had the same smoky flavor the ham had. It was a perfect complement for the bread.

It seemed like I would take a bite of something and another food item arrived. The food just kept coming. I don't even know what exact order the following arrived in,  but honestly it was ALL good. The duck fat jojos were one of my favorite of the evening ($4). Thick home style jojos with a well-seasoned, crispy fried outer skin. YUM! I wanted my own plate of these!

This looks like mac and cheese from afar, but it's smashed chickpeas ($4). I love garbanzo beans. This dish is creamy and, in my opinion, would make a great alternative to a pasta dish. I had to ask the chef what the recipe was because I want to try and make it at home. I thought the beans could have been cooked a bit longer, but the creamy texture was awesome.

This best dish of the night was the TBB hotdog ($6). Sorry, I don't have a picture. This is a house made pork sausage hot dog. I don't know how they season and make it but, I swear, it was the best hotdog I'd ever had. I want one right now, and I don't even like hotdogs! Chef and owner Scott Dolich said this hot dog has become a Portland cult favorite! When you go to The Bent Brick you MUST order this hotdog!

Like I said, I don't like hotdogs much, I'm more of a burger fan, but Chef Scott said he, "refuses to cook a fucking hamburger!" as he brought out to the table the hamburger dog. Yup, a hamburger that is made to look like a hotdog (his clever way around cooking that fucking hamburger). At that moment Chef won my heart! He was funny, sarcastic, and reminded me of one of those students I have every year who finds a way out of everything, but at the same time is so charming he's hard to get mad at. When I first bit into this my brain was confused. You know eating is as much with your eyes as your taste and smell. I knew I was eating a hamburger, but it's shaped like a hot dog; my mouth and my brain had trouble grasping this. It was good, but not as good as the real hotdog mentioned before. Okay, a hamburger-loving gal has been swept away by The Bent Brick's hotdogs.

During the dinner it was time again to fill up my glass. The other bloggers were raving about the "bearded lady" (bourbon, strawberry shrub, hum rhubarb liquor, salt and pepper), so I had to try that one too, right? I had to see for myself if it was as good as they were insisting, and it was! I never knew I liked bourbon until this adventurous drink tasting. 

The Bent Brick did not just serve amazing food and drinks, they also taught us how to make a drink. It is one of this summer's most popular seasonal drinks, the "on the veranda" made with house made rhubarb cordial. This drink is no longer available on their menu this summer, but you can make it at home with the recipe below. 

Overall, this was one of my favorite experiences. I loved the variety of the food and drinks we were able to taste. I felt like I got to know the chill, hip, friendly personality of The Bent Brick, and it's a place I would love to hang out anytime. I'm looking forward to taking someone to The Bent Brick who has never been there before.

Food: Exceeds
Drink: Exceeds
Service: Exceeds
Ambiance: Exceeds
Value: Exceeds*


*I can't remember the last time I gave out all exceeds!

1 comment:

  1. Wow, this place looks great! I'm definitely going to have to try it out soon. These happy hours that Urbanspoon puts on look awesome, I'd love to find out more about them! I'm a blogger that just moved to the Portland area :)