I visited NE Portland recently and tried Russell Street BBQ.
Two things of interest, I grew up in a city known for BBQ (so I’m a snob), but I no longer eat meat. Peculiar eh? So how would that work here? Turns out, better than ever! Why, because in true Portland style they accommodate the annoying vegetarian in your family… hey that’s me!
As you can see, the restaurant’s front is wonderfully inviting, and once inside the character continues with brick walls, a cool bar and red/white plastic tablecloths – really a great feel for a BBQ place.
For appetizers I started with homemade hush puppies and pimento cheese. The hush puppies were crispy and tasty, full of corn kernels and came with a sweet and spicy dijon dipping sauce; the pimento dip was a blend of 3 grated cheeses with… pimentos!, a very simple dish but also quite tasty.
OK but the reason for this journey was the fact that they have BBQed tofu! That’s right!
Like anything, tofu can suck if not prepared correctly, and this was really, really good. Described as “thick slices of tofu, rubbed, smoked then grilled to order, on a bun”, and that’s what it was, really good and filling. You can also get coleslaw on a sandwich for $.50 more and I plan to try that next time. For my side I chose beans, which can be had with or without meat. You can also get BBQ staples like slaw, potato salad, fries, etc. As you’d expect they also had a very good beer selection.
No deserts were had, but the “handmade fried chocolate fried pies” sounded nothing short of intriguing. Next time! Maybe