After a long morning of shopping in downtown Portland, we stopped Grüner for a quick lunch. Known as the home to one of the best burgers in the city, this was the one thing we weren’t leaving here without.
Grüner is located downtown, a short walk away from the main shopping district. According to their website, their concept is “Old-world comfort meets new-world sophistication.” You won’t find your typical German food here.
Mike started with a bottle of Stiegl (something he orders every chance he gets) and I opted for something non-alcoholic, the Elderflower Housemade Soda ($4). It really hit the spot. Especially, since it was 40 degrees outside.
I decided to go with the Grüner Grinder – black forest ham, spicy coppa, rabbit mortadella, fontina, pickled green tomatoes, red onion & arugula on a toasted hoagie roll ($10). If you want something light for lunch, the grinder would certainly do the trick. I expected it to be a big sandwich but there wasn’t a ton of meat on it. There was one layer of each item described in the menu. While it was a solid sandwich, it didn’t really wow me.
The sandwich was served with a side of Yukon gold potato salad, which I really enjoyed. It’s not a traditional creamy potato salad which was a nice change.
My sister went with the Tarte Flambée – Alsatian “pizza” with sweet onions, smoky bacon, fromage blanc & chives ($10). After we were seated, we couldn’t get over the mouth-watering aroma which was coming from the table next door. When we realized it was the tarte flambee, we knew someone at our table had to order it.
Luckily it tasted as delicious as it smelled. We all loved the sweet and savoury combination coming from the sweet onions and bacon. The ingredients were all sitting on top of a light, thin crust which didn’t leave us feeling too heavy after eating it.
Now, onto the item we were here for, the Grilled Hamburger – on a potato bun with smoky bacon, cheddar, pickled onions, bread & butter pickles, aioli & arugula ($11). Their famous burger is only served in their restaurant during lunch. If you want it during dinner, you’ll have to sit at the bar.
The patty was cooked to a nice medium rare and was incredibly juicy, making it a messy burger to eat. The meat was seasoned well and was packed full of flavour. Bacon is always a welcome addition and I enjoyed the bitterness of the arugula. Considering how juicy the patty was, the potato bun held up quite nicely. Juicy. Messy. Delicious!
For fry lovers, the burger here unfortunately does not come with fries. Instead it comes with a small side of smashed potatoes with housemade ketchup. The potatoes weren’t anything special…the star of this dish was definitely the burger!
The lunch prices here are quite reasonable – around $9 to $13 for a dish. But don’t expect enormous portions. While they were on the small side, they did the trick.
Overall, I had a great meal here. Reasonable prices and great food. My only complaint was the service – we didn’t have the most attentive servers. But I’d put up with the service for their amazing burger any day!
At a glance:
• Located in downtown Portland
• Serving modern German food
• Reasonable prices for lunch but portions are small
• The burger is a must-order (only available during lunch)
Ratings (out of 5):
• Food: 4 stars
• Service: 2 stars
• Atmosphere: 3 stars