Newly appointed Executive Sous Chef of The Nines Hotel, Chris Starkus, is not one to rest on his laurels. After starting our rooftop garden and beekeeping operation last year, he is ready this year to expand its output and effect on the hotel. We’re doubling the number of hives and, with a year of study under his belt, Chef Chris is ready for the title of fulltime beekeeper. (As if he doesn’t already do enough!) We’re also expanding the garden under his direction and should be able to incorporate more delicate herbs and vegetables into the dishes here at Urban Farmer. The new bee colony and expanded garden boxes will be unveiled on April, 22nd, Earth Day so stay tuned for more!
Spring Menu Changes
Chefs Matt and Chris are ready to share a few of their latest menu changes with the world! They’ve worked hard to maintain our commitment to sustainable practices by continuing to work closely Monterey Bay’s Seafood Watch and sourcing fun springtime vegetables from local farms. One of our favorite new menu items is the wild Pacific salmon. The chefs delicately place the seared fish on a bed of broccolini, charred grape, olive and salsify puree
We proudly feature some of Oregon and Washington’s best farmers and ranchers on our menu because of the quality of their product. Sometimes this means working with a farm seasonally, to get the region’s best tomatoes, for example, while other times it means working on breeding and feeding methods of cattle, as Chef Matt has done with Scott Laney of Eat Oregon First. One of our most fun relationships has been working with Bob La De Route and his 100% Wagyu. Bob raises only eight animals at a time to ensure each one is nurtured properly. He processes and sells only four every year! That means once a year we get a whole cow in to butcher and work our magic. This Valentine’s Day we’ll offer a special ribeye for two and you’ll see some choice cuts offered on our special’s card for the next couple of weeks! If you want a one-of-a-kind experience come in soon!
Daily Menu Additions & Butcher’s Cuts
Guests of Urban Farmer can never complain about a boring menu! Not only does our menu change seasonally to feature fresh, local products but we also feature daily menu additions and butcher’s cuts. The menu additions and butcher’s cuts allow the kitchen to utilize the whole animal to result in less waste. It also allows for our chefs to showcase their creativity on a daily basis! If you stopped in over during the Christmas week, you may have seen a PB&J Duck on the menu additions card; which was inspired by the classic childhood peanut butter and jelly sandwiches! This seared duck features fermented chestnut pesto (the “peanut butter”), drunken cherry gastrique (the “jelly”), finished with a sage crumble (the “bread”), and garnished with micro greens. Be sure to check the daily card each time you stop in for lunch or dinner to see what creative dishes our chefs have developed!
It’s been an amazing year here at Urban Farmer! With our new location in Cleveland we’ve seen a lot of our staff grow their careers and not just take on new roles but excel at them. We couldn’t be prouder of the team we’ve built! Next year looks to be just as exciting, not that we’re quite ready to share any of that news yet… But 2014 isn’t quite over and we’ve still got a wonderful Christmas feast to share with you and your loved ones. Chef Matt has prepared a menu of classics and new favorites. We hope to see you before the New Year!
The Flying Stag
Although we’ve been barrel-aging cocktails for some time now, our bartenders have really started to understand the nuances of the craft this year. They’ve developed partnerships with many local distillers to create delightful twists on classic cocktails that mellow and ripen with the right amount of aging. One such collaboration is with the gin experts over at House Spirits. They provided us with a barrel and some of their award winning Aviation Gin, which Tyler combined with Hennessy and Cocchi Americano. It was in the barrel for twenty-one days before we tapped it. The result is an earthy, slightly sweet but entirely quaffable beverage that only improves as it breathes. We’ll definitely be making this one again!
Being a hotel restaurant we have the advantage of opening for three meal periods every day of the year. Through rain, sleet and snow we follow the intrepid postman in our perseverance, providing hospitality to everyone walking in our front doors. Because we’re available everyday we look forward to the holiday season knowing that it’s an opportunity to go above and beyond the usual expectations of a restaurant. From decorating to inventing playful new dishes that riff on family favorites, our entire staff takes pride in hosting families that are looking for a less stressful dining experience as well as weary travelers who aren’t able to be with their loved ones on a special day. If you find yourself in need of a little warmth, hospitality, or just a glass of wine and home cooked meal, we’re here for you. Happy holidays
Urban Farmer, Portland’s Steakhouse, Portland, OR
What a blessing to have been able to host not only the public stars of Feast, the chefs and media darlings that spent a week of hedonistic pleasure in our city, but the quiet multitudes that worked behind the scenes making sure everything stayed organized and everyone was fed. Chef Matt demonstrated our casual approach to “High Comfort,” the theme for a marquee event hosted in the Nines Hotel, with flat iron pastrami dipped in melted asiago cheese and served on a stick; and the entire culinary team executed a flawless media brunch that left many bloggers questioning their ability to partake in the lunch event. (Don’t worry, they all managed to make enough room.) It was a pleasure to host visionary chefs and show them what we’re working on here as well as have a chance to sit down and listen to their vision of the future. Forging lasting relationships is why we do what we do and we’re happy for such a wonderful opportunity.
Chefs and fellow cyclists recently partook in the Chris King Gourmet Century, a 100km ride that began in industrial Portland and wound its way through the rolling hills just west of the city. The ride featured stops with snacks and drinks for all of the riders and culminated at Chris King’s headquarters for a full on dinner. Not only did chefs Matt, Carrie, Chris and Ben create some of the best snacks of the ride, all of them completed the 100km AND cooked dinner for 500 afterwards! There may have been some sore muscles and a couple tumbles but our culinary team definitely slept well that night!
Last month, Chef de Cuisine Chris Starkus hosted the first meal in his dinner Under the Antlers series. Chef Starkus conceptualized this dinner series after we got a wooden tabletop made to fit over the pool table that sits in the middle of our library. This transforms the upscale casual lounge space into a private dining affair that offers a unique experience. In his first dinner, Chris partnered with local seafood purveyor Flying Fish Co. to highlight sustainably caught fish. He put uncommon delicacies on the menu such as escargot caviar and monkey-faced eel – both of which were highly regarded. Look forward to a new dinner Under the Antlers at least once a month for the foreseeable future!
Embracing the world’s fervor surrounding this year’s cup, barkeep Tyler has prepared a play on the famous Brazilian cocktail, the caipirinha. The Brazilian features Leblon cachaça, falernum and lime bitters and was put into one of our barrels on the opening day of the World Cup. We’ll be tasting as the cup progresses but if all goes to plan we’ll be tapping the barrel on the day of the final. We can’t think of a better way to celebrate the world’s greatest sporting event and hope to share our appreciation with you!
Imbibe and Campari are celebrating one of the world’s great cocktails by organizing a week of negroni inspired specials and promotions. Not only does this mean tasty cocktails all week long but a portion of all negronis sold will donated to a charity of the bar or restaurant’s choice! As this event was partially inspired by local barkeep Douglas Derrick of Nostrana, our head barman, Tyler, has been working on a special negroni that we’ll feature exclusively from June 2nd through the 8th! We’ll be donating a dollar from every drink to the Oregon Wildlife Conservation. Make sure to stop in for a negroni come June!
NEW DESSERT MENU COMING SOON!
Pastry Chef Carrie Merrill has been hard at work revamping our dessert menu by tweaking old favorites and designing many new dishes. Her focus has been on shareable desserts – moving away from larger portions of one heavy dish (though we’ll still have some of those!) and adding smaller, cheaper bites that you can get a few of and share with your dinner guests. This approach allows her and her team to be more creative as well as refined with their work. As everyone who works with us here can attest, she’s doing a fantastic job! We’ve all had the pleasure to taste her creations and give what feedback we can between bites of rare ice creams and unheard of cookies. Some of us may never want the menu finalized…
A few favorites that you may seen soon are a candy cap mushroom creme caramel (it tastes like maple syrup!), whoopie pies with whipped cream and homemade kisses and a rotating selections of ice creams with appropriate pairings (think rocky road ice cream with fudge brownie sticks and candied almonds). We hope to have all of these delights available soon otherwise we’re going to have to buy a new, larger, wardrobe
Here at Urban Farmer we’re excited to celebrate one of Oregon’s favorite seasons—Dungeness crab season. This January, we are offering an exclusive 5-course tasting menu available for the entire month right alongside our regular menu.
The 5-course Crab Menu will feature Chef Matt Christianson’s signature use of sustainable ingredients and straightforward preparations to showcase the bounty of the Oregon coast’s Dungeness crab. The tasting menu will cost $75 and includes:
Crab Salad, Hearts of Palm
Crab Bisque, Truffle
Crab Cake, Tasso Ham
Crab Risotto, Meyer Lemon
Dry Aged New York Strip Streak topped with Crab Hollandaise
Also be on the lookout for exciting specials such as the crab stuffing stuffed crab we’re currently offering!
Chef Matt and his team are constantly on the lookout for higher quality meat. Farm visits, cattle comparisons and, yes, tastings are an important part of their job. As such, our cooks are not only experts at preparing food and choosing quality ingredients but at knowing what it takes to foster a healthy animal’s growth as well as the sustainability of the industry. Because of this it’s always an exciting day in the kitchen when a new animal comes in from a new rancher. This happened recently when we received a rare 100% Wagyu raised by a local. Wagyu cattle, infamously massaged and fed beer in the Kobe region of Japan, are now common in the US but breeding and import laws make it very difficult to find a pure bred. Here at Urban Farmer we’re always experimenting with various levels of cross breeds but Chef Matt can count on one hand how many times he’s gotten to butcher a specimen like this. The marbling is unprecedented as well as the tenderness and flavor. Not only does this amount to better tasting steak, but it allows us to offer cuts of beef that are usually too tough to eat medium rare. Instead of having to relegate shank meat to be braised or ground, we’re serving a perfectly marbled cut that has a texture unlike anything we’ve ever tasted! Since discovering this rancher and his extraordinary cattle, we’re excited to consistently offer this beef on our menu.
We’re incredibly happy to finally unveil a project we’ve been working on this fall. With summer ending and the monotonous gray days rapidly approaching we thought it would be fun to engage our guests outside of the hotel. Since a lot of us are avid gamers (there’s a two player arcade table in our cafeteria) we made our own video game! Shadowvision
, a local design company, helped turn our dream into reality.
Taking one of our scrumptious English muffins and pitting him against our cooks was the inspiration. Archduke Muffington, as he’s been named, takes a cue from Pac-man as the player guides him through the maze, eating poached eggs and whatever tasty treats the chefs drop. Just don’t let the chefs catch him or he’ll be turned into a benedict! The game is silly and fun but challenging, a reflection of what it’s like working in Chef Matt’s kitchen.
But wait! We didn’t just want to make a game for people to enjoy playing, we wanted to make a game that people want to win! Therefore, every Friday through the month of November we’re going to give the highest score brunch for two! No fine print here, just delicious steak and eggs and, of course, benedicts waiting for the person who can guide Archduke Muffington to the biggest brunch possible. Well, what’re you waiting for? It’s Brunch Time!
We’re lucky enough in this city to have a plethora of fresh, local produce. There’s a farmer’s market in almost every neighborhood and some have two or three! Our closest markets are the big, tourist-friendly PSU Market on Saturdays and the smaller, more intimate Shemanski Market that’s open during limited hours on Wednesdays. Because we try to pick up as many fruits and vegetables as possible during these trips (usually leaving with hundreds of pounds loaded chin high in our rugged wagon) it’s become a tradition for the chefs and anyone else to head out on Wednesdays to shop.
We have our favorite vendors, of course, which we always pick up peaches, apricots and berries from. Unger Farms has been supplying us with late season strawberries that somehow retain that full summer flavor well into September. Baird’s peaches and nectarines are probably our heaviest pick up, especially recently as we’ve been making and canning peach jam as fast as possible so we can keep it on the menu during the rainy months. However, the best farmer’s market moments are when we stumble across a farmer whose stand we’ve somehow overlooked in past trips, and it turns out he’s got some wild veggie or herb that our cooks can’t wait to experiment with.
Most recently Chef Jessica has helmed the market trips and just today threw together this salad for our lunch tasting menu based almost entirely off yesterday’s finds: roasted peppers with Portland Creamery chèvre, zucchini and pine nuts. We highly suggest coming in for lunch on the days following Wednesday to experience something particularly unique and fresh!
We spend a lot of time talking about the diversity of meats we use in dinner preparations, how we partner with sustainable farmers and ranchers to bring our butchers the very best product to work with. We’ve even discussed the wonderful job our butcher’s do utilizing every part of whole animals so that we reduce waste and the need to outsource essentials such as stock. But when’s the last time we sat down and had a conversation about brunch?
We know, we know, Portlandia already parodied our city’s unfathomable love for the late-to-rise weekend meal
. Every local has their favorite place, worth every second, or more likely hour, of the wait. There are hidden gems known only to a few and greasy spoons perfect for sopping up any remnants of last night’s fun. (In fact, our pastry chef Carrie recently profiled her fave
.) Here at Urban Farmer we strive to bring the best of all worlds together. With an entire atrium to call home no matter how many faithfuls pour out of the elevator you never have to wait too long for a table. Chef Carrie’s house-made English muffins are airy but filling. No doubt after devouring one of our burgers or benedicts you’ll beg us for the recipe. (We’ve got you covered
Speaking of our pride and joy…
We offer six rotating benedicts, from the signature grass-fed, Highland Oak sirloin to a northwest staple, house-smoked Columbia River salmon. A current seasonal favorite features a healthy slice of heirloom tomato from Groundwork Organics
or Creative Growers
. With such large orders of tomatoes we like to share the love between our favorite farms! Also on the menu, fresh Dungeness crab, Tails & Trotters
ham and California avocados, not to mention daily specials
If you’re looking to get a feel of our ethos without investing in a full dinner experience, brunch is the perfect foray into what Urban Farmer truly means.
Urban Farmer, Portland’s Steakhouse, Portland, OR
Our butchery program has always been a source of pride not only here at Urban Farmer but for Departure, on the roof, and the Nines Hotel’s banquets program right above Macy’s. Chef Matt and his team, including recently promoted Head Butcher Ben Lerner, receive over one and a half whole cows, 156 whole chickens and two whole pigs every week – utilizing every part for all three kitchens. In doing so we hope to participate and encourage sustainability of the meat industry. Now, outside our restaurant we’re trying to increase beef knowledge by installing a visual guide to show you where all of our awesome cuts come from. Stop by next time you’re walking around downtown Portland!
chuck pot roast
pastrami & bbq brisket
grind for The Farm Burger
crispy fried braised beef
Matt’s Mom’s meatloaf
tartare of tenderloin
bone-in aged New York
tenderloin, bone-in & boneless
slow roasted leg
braised beef shank
bay-leaf marinated bavette
skirt steak skewers
24 hour sous vide short rib beef
crispy fried braised
broiled pipe marrow bones
Urban Farmer steak sauce
rich onion soup
sous vide beef heart
brandy beef liver pâté
pastrami beef tongue
tallow for candles
tallow for soap
Over the past weekend, in our post BBQ, beer and illegal fireworks haze we celebrated another American holiday: National Fried Chicken Day. Though it may have less patriotic roots, July 6th is a date well celebrated in the waning phases of Independence Day. In exalting a dish that was brought by immigrants and perfected by the South, we are continuing to honor the similarities that make us uniquely American. Here at the Farm, we were delighted to serve variations on the classic fried chicken all day.
For brunch we used buttermilk batter to create a benedict that that provided a nice salty crunch to counteract the tangy béarnaise.
For lunch and dinner Chef de Cuisine, Chris Starkus, played with the idea of chicken and waffles by utilizing fresh, local blueberries and a homemade truffle honey.