Restaurants & Bars

[PDX] Lagniappe on Alberta (Long)

mczlaw | Aug 3, 200502:08 PM     5

Visited the new Lagniappe site on Alberta last night with a friend, never having been to the former incarnation.

Overall, I'd give it a solid "B". We ordered a lot so we could sample. I imagine we spent around $50 but since I didn't pay (thanks, Emily), I'm not sure.

Hush puppies were yummy. Hot, fried deep golden, but not greasy in the least. Green onion mixed in the corn meal dough/batter. Tasty, but could have used a little more onion flavor. At least that's my taste memory from a long ago trip to the deep south.

Deep fried crawfish tails were also a treat. A substantial appetizer portion was served with a whole grain mustard/green onion dipping sauce that, frankly, looked and tasted like it was simply whole grain mustard--but good mustard. Anyway, the batter on the tails was light and not greasy in the least. Plus, they were served on a bed of shredded lettuce, so we figured we could count this as a salad course. (There is another menu item that is a somewhat more legitimate salad, but we were concerned about overordering.)

We split a bowl of the gumbo appetizer. Subsantial pieces of chicken and andouille. Broth was oversalted (and we both like salt), however, but the dish was otherwise underseasoned. Weird. Fortunately, they brought us out some gumbo file on request. With a bit of that plus a few liberal shakes of the hot sauce bottle on our table, the dish was salvageable. It was a little strange to have gumbo with no okra. Isn't okra mandatory? I actually enjoy that slime hit.

My friend's main course was the oyster po' boy. The sucker was enormous, with several thousand oysters both sandwiched between the submarine bun halves and avalanching out on to the plate. The cornmeal coating was reasonably crunchy and well seasoned. The oysters themselves were more medium-sized than small as billed, but that's a quibble. This sandwich was a meal unto itself. I'm not sure if Emily liked it that much, though, because she kept grabbing for the gumbo and my main dish.

I ordered the brisket plate. I love a good brisket. Probably genetic. This was good, not great brisket. The portion was substantial, probably a good half pound of meat, maybe even a little more. It had a nice, gently smoky taste. Only problem was that the meat was a little dry and the rind was hard and tough. I like that edge to be dark, maybe a little chewy and fairly salty. This didn't hit the mark. But, then again, maybe this style brisket is supposed to be as served. (Another negative for me was the near absence of any fat. I know, I know, fat kills, but all real food enthusiasts know that fat is flavor, and this meat really needed more flavor.)

The brisket comes with two sides. The hush puppies I have already described, the red beans & rice I had as my second side were pretty undistinguished. They also had collard greens, cole slaw, potato salad and maybe a couple of other side options we didn't try.

I hate to admit we skipped dessert. I feel I have abdicated my duties and should probably be punished. There was a chocolate fudge cake, a bread pudding and an orange-pecan pie. That's all. Only the first really appealed to me, but we were both so full, none of them sounded that good at the moment. Next time, I order dessert first--which is a strategy I have always wanted to try.

We sat outside on a lovely not-so-little concrete patio west of the restaurant structure. The place was obviously popular with one of the neighbor dogs (sorry, Trillium) who kept wandering in solo only to be shooed away. Tables were well spaced, some with shade-providing umbrellas, chairs reasonably comfortable. I never ventured inside to check out the vibe there. Emily went to the restroom, but I forgot to ask her about that, or the inside generally. I am assuming, in the absence of any complaint, that the facilities were acceptable if not worthy of note.

Servers were extremely friendly and efficient, one of whom was quite knowledgeable, the other not so much so, having just moved out here from St. Louis.

I'd go back for sure, but it would nice if they worked on the clarity and intensity of their flavors and maybe tweaked the brisket formulation a bit.

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