Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas Eve Afternoon in Portland: Lunch at Christopher's Gourmet Grill

My neighbor, Hob, gave me the low-down on an uptown joint that gets high marks for frying up fin flippers. Me and Books headed over there for lunch after dropping Dolly-girl at the moving pictures for a Hollywood number she'd been waiting to see. We set the brake at NE Shaver and MLK and moseyed into Christopher's Gourmet Grill. It's not much from the outside, but I'm used to that around Stumptown, and besides, Hob's lived here a long time and he's never given me a wrong turn yet.

The whaddaya-want's on the wall over the pass-it-thru to Missy. There were all sorts of eats on the wall, but we'd come for the creatures of the deep and we were stuck on our mission. I'm curious though so I spent some time looking over the fare, including the Man-up Cheeseburger and the BBQ ribs. Sides of greens, mac and wax, and gumbo pods were said to be at the ready, along with the fries that came with everything. We coulda had a dinner, but opted for the basket since it the noon whistle was sounding and Dolly-girl was planning something big for Santa eve. We ordered up the cod and Irish nails.

The joint is clean as my plate after dinner and was all done in blue including some blue light shades on ceiling fans and on lamps over the tables. Nice touch--makes you think of a blue-plate and a neighborhood spot, which it is. It was about a quarter full when me and books took a seat--good view out the front in case trouble was going to come join us. He didn't. They got some signs there to remind Mr. T that Christopher's is a place a whole family likes.

The hash slinger, and I'm guessing it's Christopher, was in the back. Turns out, he was trawling our cod through the corn patch and adding some spices along the way.

While we waited patiently, orders came out of the kitchen and Missy dropped them off at the hungry tables in order. Then, after a few minutes, she checked back to make sure everything was OK. It musta been 'cause there was a lot of chewing and not much talking. People called and then came in and out for orders with wheels.

Missy brought our orders and we both gave her the up and down and knew Hob had steered us right. The fin flippers were long fillets, with just a thin cornmeal coating and fried crispy on the outside and tender and moist on the inside. One bite and I was pulling the bobber to the bottom for more. Tartar sauce and mustard on the side and I was having rapture of the deep! Books nodded. Fish and fries was what he was mining and pining for and he hit paydirt.

It didn't take long to do the disappearing act with that flipper. With a feedbag that full, we had to pass on sweet potato pie that looked like someone knew his way around the yam patch!

If fish fried up just right is singing to you, I haven't had better anywhere than Christopher's Gourmet Grill. Lots of what they call high-brow joints in Stumptown could learn more than a thing or two from Christopher. Plus, a Jackson and a Christmas Eve tip got us out the door with an invitation to come back that won't be laying on the counter long.

1 comment:

Karen said...

sounds southern. fried catfish. looks good!