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“Six Times is the Charm but Worth the Wait” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Ox Restaurant

Ox Restaurant
2225 NE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Portland, OR 97212
503-284-3366
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Ranked #45 of 3,629 Restaurants in Portland
Cuisines: Argentinean
Dining options: Reservations, Late Night
Restaurant details
Dining options: Reservations, Late Night
Portland, Oregon
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
6 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
“Six Times is the Charm but Worth the Wait”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 14, 2013

We visited Ox six times before we could make it though the astounding wait times of 2+ hours. My son and I dropped by on a whim midweek and hit it at 7:15, just the right time for the tables to turn and only had to wait 45 minutes. By the time we were done, there were many open tables - so the key is to go later, rather than earlier, in my experience.
The minutes passed quite quickly in the charming bar behind the restaurant with two deliciously unusual cocktails and good conversation.
The food and the service once we were seated more than made up for our previously frustrating visits. Our server was personable, knowledgable and thorough, and had excellent suggestions for both food and wine. I wish every server in town had his professionalism.
It's not often that every single course from appetizer to main course is flawlessly paced and utterly delicious but it is at Ox. In particular, my rib-eye was cooked to perfection and meltingly delicious, one of the best I've ever eaten at any restaurant. It was every bit worth the wait ( all the waits!) and I cannot wait to go back.

  • Visited March 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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117 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    73
    25
    12
    5
    2
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Portuguese first
  • Any
English first
Portland, Oregon
1 review
“Please don't judge Portland by this Restaurant!”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed March 14, 2013

I visited Ox a couple of weeks ago at 5:00 on a Tuesday night. My friend and I got there right when they opened as we heard how hard it could be to get in. We were literally the first people in line when the door opened. The hostess opened the door and asked us if we would like to put our name on the list and wait in the bar? You've got to be kidding me, Portland restaurants do not as a rule try to milk their customers of as much money as they can, this was just weird. So we said no, we just want to be seated and order a meal, obviously displeased the hostess proceeded to seat us next to the bar in probably the worst seat in the restaurant. The food was OK, as another reviewer said the skirt stem was very salty, and I tend to over salt my food, so it was pretty bad. Very small portions, toatally ala carte, I mean it was a piece of steak on a plate. Clam chowder was OK, obviously done ahead with clams and marrow bone added at the end, not much clam flavor. There are too many great restaurants in Portland to bother with OX.

  • Visited February 2013
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
    • 2 of 5 stars Food
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Sandy, Oregon
Top Contributor
60 reviews 60 reviews
44 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 29 cities Reviews in 29 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
“Absolutely Astoundingly Good!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 6, 2013

We took our son and daughter-in-law out to dinner, and she suggested going to Ox. She had heard that since they don't take reservations, (except for parties of 6 or more,) you might have to wait up to two hours if you didn't get there early. So we got there @ 4:45 p.m. (The restaurant opens at 5:00 p.m.) The doors were locked, but a server opened up and took our names. We were 15th on the list - at 4:45! There is a small bar attached to the restaurant, but it was completely packed with the first 14 parties.

They stagger the seatings, so we didn't actually get seated until 5:10 p.m. Their website says that Ox is " a friendly and comfortable neighborhood restaurant with an energetic vibe and creative menu designed to appeal to the palate of the Pacific Northwest." We found that to be completely accurate. I don't know when I've enjoyed my entire restaurant experience so much. The menu was definitely creative. I had the Cocoa-braised Lamb Shoulder with spinach and shiitake mushrooms. We raise our own lamb, so I seldom order it in a restaurant. This was about as succulent a dish as I've ever had. The not-quite gravy, more than broth, was so good I wanted to lick the dish.
Our son order the beef rib-eye. He likes his meat well-done, which to me means dry and very over-cooked. Not at Ox! Even from across the tiny table, I could see how tender and moist his steak was. My husband was really happy with roasted sea scollops, clam & mussel puttanesca, and my daughter-in-law enjoyed her maple-brined pork loin chop. Desert was phenomenal. I had a dark, creamy chocolate mousse that was everything a chocolate mousse should be. (Obviously palettes differ - I read another review that said the mousse was "underwhelming." I found it marvelous.)
Everything is a la carte, and the restaurant encourages family-style eating. We ordered separate entres and shared a starter and 3 vegetable dishes. We were surprised when the server brought us each a small (about 1/4 cup) of soup in a tiny tea cup. It was some sort of squash soup and really delicious. I would be happy to order it if it was on the menu.
Our server was delightful, taking good care of us yet not being intrusive. She never rushed us, even though there were tons of people waiting. (As we were leaving @ 7:30 p.m., a couple was being seated who had arrived @ 5:15!)
There was a very happy hubbub and tables are so close that it's easy to talk to your neighbors - which is why I didn't rate this restaurant high on "Romance."
All in all, it's probably the best restaurant I've been to.

  • Visited March 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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Shanghai, China
2 reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Good eats/meats”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 1, 2013

The best steak I've had in a long time. The drinks are wonderful and eclectic. Try Grandma Agnus, curiously good, southern version of a dirty martini perhaps? only in jar :-). However the desert selection was not very interesting.
Well worth the wait since they don't take reservation.

  • Visited February 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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Portland, Oregon
Top Contributor
85 reviews 85 reviews
37 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 38 cities Reviews in 38 cities
259 helpful votes 259 helpful votes
“Ox Me Anything”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 16, 2013

What the hell was I thinking? Accepting an invitation to a night out with our carnivore friends to dine at Ox? Ok, I'm not a true vegetarian, in a sense more of a selectatarian with a perchance for bacon and anything that swims. All my dining pals were the judge on the meat portions, of which, I think they had them all. Verdict? This experiment in Argentinean/PDX fusion is a standout.
Never mind the line. Just be prepared to queue up for the gastronomic experience that awaits at this NE meat market. There is a bar out back with ample alcoholic accouterments. Parties of six can get a reservation, but those are limited. We have friends that went on a Friday night and were pretty greased when seated two hours later. That's the only lubricant you'll need to transport an array of exquisitely prepared animal products. And I believe our table had examples of all of the them. From sweetbreads to skirt steak; chorizo to morcilla; ribs to ribeye, the aroma and flavors are downright harrowing. I was staring into the meat abyss thinking about surrendering to the delectable fall from vegetarian grace. Then I ordered...
I succumbed to the perfectly grilled prawns with sides of brussels spouts and risotto, only briefly testing the chorizo and blood sausage as my bacon substitutes. The house red with dinner was nicely matched to the table fare and we also had a Spanish beer - Damm Estrella Inedit, which has surprising effects on all the food groups. The place was packed at 7pm on a Wednesday and yet there was still an intimacy around our table. The "pit" is the focal point in this place. Iron, brick and flames look like the gates of hell, producing the tastes of heaven. There is also an eating bar that's unpretentious and inviting. Ox, for having a large implied presence leaves all of that to the food because the space is compact. There are additional tables on a heated, outside patio but hold out for inside to get the full bandwidth on this culinary experience.
The menu can seem a bit pricey, but you end up eating like South Americans and there is a ton of terrific take out leftover for lunch the next day. There are days when my "no meat" thing is easy to manage and embrace. My trip to Ox wasn't one of them...

  • Visited February 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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