Out of TownLardo
If Portland is one thing, it is honest. At least when it comes to their food; there is no posing or posturing. Take Lardo, for example — a Southwest Washington Street restaurant that unabashedly celebrates all things pork — if you couldn’t already tell by its name. They certainly don’t hide their admiration for the pig and all the glorious types of sandwiches it makes. There’s even a Puffy-esque sign in bright lights declaring its customer to “Pig Out”.
Started from its humble beginnings as a food cart, Lardo soon moved onto a bricks and mortar establishment (two, in fact, with another located on Hawthorne street). Inside is a mix of old world charcuterie meets modern day Disneyland for bacon lovers: thick slabs of wooden counter tops juxtaposed with white tiled counters and big splashes of bright crimson wall. Did we mention the lights?
They serve sandwiches here, cafeteria style. Place your order up front and pay, and walk away with a number to a seating of your choice to await your order.
Since we were at Lardo, I couldn’t pass up on their Porchetta: crispy craquelins topping rough chopped, spit roasted pork with gremolata and creamy caper mayo between two ciabatta buns. Simple, but a well executed no nonsense approach. There really isn’t much to complain about here, unless you’re on a diet.
For Case, the Cold Fried Chicken: a generous portion of cold fried chicken topped with bacon, pickles, buttermilk ranch and a pickle slaw sandwiched between two pillowy brioche buns. It was like having an entire summer picnic — in a sandwich.
Don’t let the Lardo moniker fool you, though. They’re no slouches when it comes to their salads. Case and I split their Kale Caeser, which is exactly as it sounds. If there ever was a Pacific Northwestern take on the Caesar salad, this would be it: Rough torn leafy green kale tossed with cucumber, ricotta, pine nuts and fried lemon. It’s a great way to serve penance for sinning at the alter of bacon.
Lardo also has a nice selection of local beers on tap, including Nitro (nitrogen-infused) pours — a perfect accompaniment for pork sandwiches.
Our meal including a pint of beer and tips came to just under $37, which would make Lardo one of the pricier sandwich joints by Portland standards. But the quality of the food and care they take, even for their sides, make this a pretty solid spot for a comforting meal.
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