Portland >The Country Cat Dinner House and Bar
Adam and Jackie Sappington's brilliant restaurant looks like just another Americana / lardcore joint, but make no mistake: this is nose-to-tail cooking at its most sophisticated. That said, you can't, CAN'T, miss the fried chicken.
Consider the Country Cat Dinner House your gateway to the Montavilla neighborhood. You'll be familiar with the farm-to-table freshness of the greater Portland food scene, with Grilled Idaho Trout and Hickory Smoked Duck Leg, while the Country Cat's diner-style charm speaks to the local close-knit community.
It's hard not to love Country Cat--fresh, hearty, seasonal food made by very sweet people in a perenially-busy little restaurant right in the heart of Montavilla. Plus, they have some serious cinnamon rolls (weekend brunch only).
Chef Adam Sappington was one of the first supporters of Portland's nose to tail dining scene, and his love of meat is still evident on his menu. Check out the “Animal of the Week” specials for primal goodness.
Disappointment. The service was slow and unfriendly. The prices were high. The food, dry and flavorless. For being in a group of 6, I got the pleasure of being charged 20% gratuity for all this fine service. They claim this is the new industry standard. I guess they think they are a trend setter or something, but after researching this, I've found this not to be true.
Four of us had dinner there last night ( Oct 14,2011) and the general feeling was while the staff was fine and the ambiance OK the price / entree ratio left a bit to be desired. Two of us ordered the cast iron skillet fried chicken, one ordered the duck crepe and one the seafood pot pie. All were somewhat dissapointing. the fried chicken was overdone but the mashed potatos that came with them were interesting even if a little pasty. The seafood pot pie rated an "Ehh" from the lady who ordered it and my wife thought the duck crepe was pretty good to start but soon started tasting "odd" (I had a couple of bites and thought it much better than my chicken". All the entrees besides being lack luster were rather undersized portions to boot. Even the women thought so.
The side dishes we ordered, 2 salads. biscuits and collard greens, were pretty small portions and plain yet carried primo prices. I think a small serving of mixed greens with a bit of ~ blue cheese dressing for $7 (seems to be a favorite price for stuff) doesn't build customer loyalty. Three buttermilk biscuits (good) with a small paper cup of butterand a small conainer of honey for $7 again was a better deal, but not much.
The collard greens I found interesting, kind of a sour pickled taste, but weren't a hit at the table. Probably my fault since I was the one that said "oh I like them".
The high point of the meal was the shared desserts. we had a chocolate turtle ($7) tart that was delicious but way to small and the other couple shared a crisp of some sort. I wish I could say the deccaf coffee was excelent but I can't. Acceptable would be the best I could do.
The whole meal with 3 glasses of wine and a beer came to $125 which seems a bit steep considering the quality and amout of food consumed. We weren't positively impressed by our dinning experience.
I'd say if a couple went there with a coupon and ordered very carefully they could do better than we did, but it may not be worth the trouble considering the number of places with tasty meals and better prices in Portland.
Worst martini I've ever ordered.. We sat at the bar, ordered the fries, they looked cool, but were super greasy. Had the salad with egg, I could take it or leave it. As a non-meat eater, I was hard pressed to find much else to order. I wanted to leave at that point, just wasn't interested in trying anything else on the menu, especially after my martini wasn't even cold or dirty.
Citysearch Editorial Review. Tattooed hipsters, wizened 80 year olds and Montavilla neighbors of all ages meet up at this soulful, family-friendly dinner house where the chef cooks in overalls and vestiges of this former pharmacy set a retro-modern mood. The menu’s a marriage of countrified dishes with a Northwest twist and farm-to-fork focus from starters of potato-chive dumplings and entrees like molasses and hickory smoked duck legs or the aptly titled Whole Hog plate that presents local Sweet Briar Farms pork three ways on a bed of South Carolina grits. Desserts like a trio of puddings are the epitome of comfort food partnered with an air of refinement that leaves diners desiring round two.
Dinner birthday needs a re-do. My family took me out for my birthday to the Country Cat last night. We had good service from the servers to be sure. The menu looked interesting and my son chose the chicken, I chose the pork, and my wife the lamb. I have to say that we were not impressed with any of the dishes. The chicken was the worst.... almost not edible because of the hard, dry, fried coating. The pork and lamb looked good and the sauce was a good mix, but the amount of fat in each was way too much and by the time we sorted the fat from the meat, there was not much left to eat. I was really expecting a superb dinner from Cats but was underwhelmed.
Disappointed. Truly disappointed in our main courses. The chicken was dry, overcooked with a heavy tastless hush puppy breading, the Rib Eye was the worst cut I've ever seen served. We could tell from our neighbors plates that food is delivered generously so we skipped apps and wish we hadn't because those might've been good. The food menu sounds delicious and the drink menu is original and our choices were good. The greens shined while everything else just missed the mark. When the box for leftovers showed up I had to tell our excellent server it wasn't necessary...just didn't want to take any of it with me. Had such high hopes for this unique menu, but the cooks have to love the food too and they just don't seem to. Don't think we'll be back, but those greens may force me to give them another try.
Continues to be AMAZING!. I have been a fan since this restaurant opened. The food is soooooooooooooooooooooo consistently good! The emphasis is quality food with attentive service. I have to admit being irritated with reviews who say they aren't "seated quickly", and then grade a restaurant down. Everything may not be to your PERSONAL taste, but remains creative, sustainable and achingly GOOD! Take your server's recommendation... they know the menu and will insure a quality experience! Make sure you come BACK for brunch... OMG!
Little too city. Food was good but too pricey for the neighborhood. Seemed like I could get myself some Ice and a Lady of the night two blocks down!
A little bit country, a lot of good food.
We went as a large group. I had read the reviews prior to going, so felt I was prepared for any "issues" that might have come my way re: tough meat, curt service or over rated food. I didn't find any of those things.
The food was delicious - well balanced, NOT too complex or fussy, and very carefully prepared to bring out the best features of each item. Well worth the prices.
Our group tries everyone else's entrees, and usually orderes several shared aps too, so I had a taste of a wide variety of items. The only item I didn't care for was the salad greens - don't know if they were just unusually bitter, or if they were designed to be so - either way, the dressing seemed to enhance the bitterness, so I gave it to my sister, and she ate every bite. Maybe just me.
I had duck and it was excellent - a larege portion, so I shared. It was crispy on the outside, pan seered I think after roasting, and purrrrfect on the inside. Desserts were tasty too - cherry cheesecake was outstanding with dense not-too-sweet preserved black cherries.
Reports of fried chicken, burger, salmon were all positive as well. Ravioli - if you like truffles you'll love it: paper thin pasta, generous truffle flavor inside and a hearty slice of truffle on top of each rav.
Atmosphere - eh. Nothing spectacular - forgettable, actually. They could work on that a little to boost status from a neighborhood spot to a destination dining experience.
Service was attentive eye-candy. tattoos galore and fun jewelry. Nothing intimidating or "too cool for school" as far as I could see.
All in all, I will most likely go back.
the place kick back and chow down.
I went to Country Cat a few weeks ago for brunch for the first time. I loved the interior - contemporary diner setting with a cool color scheme of orange and grey with beautiful wood. It kind of reminded me of the doug fir a bit inside. The menu was simple, with a clear point of view. Adam Sappington, the head chef, was running around with his overalls on - adorable! I opted for the WT - biscuits, sausage gravy and a fried egg on top...mmm. It was delicious!! The gravy was chunky goodness but was not heavy and didn't leave me feeling like I was about the heave over from a heart attack. My partner had the eggs benedict which were good, but I preferred my WT (White Trash?!)
Anyways, I LOVED this place. Good people, great food and warm setting. Definitely one of the best brunches in town!
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