Wifey and I decided to buck tradition a bit this year and eat our big Thanksgiving meal out. We decided on The Country Cat, one of our favorites in Portland and a place we tried to get a reservation at last year but they filled up too fast. I got us a reservation for 2pm on Thanksgiving Day and this is what we got to eat ($45 each for an amuse bouche, salad, entree, and dessert).
First up, the amuse bouche. Starting at the top and going clockwise: truffled deviled egg; whole wheat cracker with beer cheese spread and a housemade pickle; and a toast topped with chopped crab and grilled shrimp.
The egg was nothing special, but the other two were quite tasty. They call the beer cheese "Judy" according to the menu - I'm sure there is a story behind that, but I don't know it. That was our favorite of the three.
For my salad course I chose the red wine marinated beets with blue cheese, candied bacon and rosemary toasted walnuts.
I don't even really like walnuts, but these were excellent. The beets had great flavor and worked well with everything else. I love the blue cheese, but see that huge chunk? Either it was too much or I didn't distribute it evenly enough in my bites, because I had a big chunk left at the end. No, that's not a problem.
Wifey chose the mixed field greens with blue cheese dressing.
This was...a salad. Because of the "field"ness of the greens it was a tad bitter, but the blue cheese handled that nicely. Nothing special.
For my entree I chose the double cut pork chop and rosemary mashed yams with whole grain mustard plum sauce. The chop was served on a bed of braised collard greens and topped with two roasted figs (that's what's on top of the chop in the pic below).
Everything on this plate was excellent. The pork was cooked through evenly with a very tasty crust, and the yams and collards provided great flavor contrasts. The figs felt a tad out of the place just because they were so far to the sweet side of things, but still tasty. I can't wait to go back to Country Cat for their normal dinner menu to try out The Whole Hog.
Wifey chose the more traditional meal as her entree: brined, smoked and braised turkey, Granny Criss's stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, honey glazed carrots, and cranberry sauce.
Both light and dark meat came on the plate. You can see the dark meat in the top left of the picture; it had been shredded and tasted almost like pulled pork. Each of these items were fantastic on their own, and together it was like a perfect symphony of flavors.
I should note, we were also served biscuits to go with our meal and as usual, The Country Cat nailed them. Love those biscuits.
Both of us, trying not to stuff ourselves too much, barely ate half of our entrees to ensure leftovers and to leave room for dessert. My dessert was an apple-cranberry crisp with vanilla ice cream (menu said caramel, but it was definitely just vanilla).
I wasn't sure about the cranberries, but they turned out to be well cooked and not tart at all. Considering it takes much longer to bring a cranberry to the same consistency as a cooked apple that means this crisp wasn't nearly as simple as it seems. The flavors blended nicely, but that caramel ice cream would have added a nice layer of decadence to the dish. Still, really enjoyed it.
Wifey chose the chocolate pecan pie.
We weren't really sure what form the chocolate would take in contrast to a regular pecan pie, but apparently it was mixed in with the normal pecan pie innards, large drops on top of the pie, and then a sauce drizzled over the plate. (This is where I note chocolate pecan pie slices that came out of the kitchen after ours also had whip cream. It wasn't on the menu so I wouldn't think of complaining - not our style - but it's noteworthy.)
Both of the desserts were solid, but not up to the same level as greatness of the rest of the meal. To be honest, were it not included in the set price I'm not sure I would have ordered them - it depends on what the price would be.
Service was generally prompt and not as chaotic as it sometimes can be. Overall we had a great time and a great meal and we'd recommend the Thanksgiving meal to anyone who is interested (you know, next year). Would we go back? Yes, but there are also other places around town who do their own Thanksgiving specials we'd like to try out.