This post is in collaboration with Urban Farmer.
I was recently invited to dine at Urban Farmer Steakhouse. Yes, you read that right. I did just say steakhouse, and they were well aware that I’m vegan. Now, that’s a first.
Located in the swanky Nines Hotel in Downtown Portland, Urban Farmer is a farm to table restaurant with a modern country farmhouse ambiance and a menu that highlights ingredients from local farmers, winemakers, and distillers. In addition to sourcing from Pacific Northwest artisans, some of Urban Farmer’s ingredients are grown right there on site, like their gorgeous maiitake mushrooms or the purple basil in the hydroponics lab.
Despite being a steakhouse (and yes, there was a not vegan-friendly portion of the behind the scenes tour that I passed on), Executive Chef Matt Christianson and his team served an impressive array of vegan dishes. Seriously, the vegan options kept on coming out of the kitchen, and I was surprised by how much I was able to eat. Across the board, the dishes focused on simple, no nonsense preparations that allowed the flavors and textures of each ingredient to shine.
Here’s a full rundown of everything I ate that evening: roasted cauliflower with wild rice, pickled potatoes, roasted beet salad, carrot risotto with pickled maiitake, roasted brussels sprouts with smoked parsnip and orange, baby carrots with crunchy quinoa, roasted squash with apples and pinenuts (a big hit at the table), foraged mushrooms with crispy shallots (those ‘shrooms!), and sorbet with figs.
While it’s extremely unlikely that many (or any?) vegans would choose to visit a steakhouse even if there are vegan options available, I think it’s so important for every restaurant to offer vegan food that’s more substantial than a sad salad. (That’s why I launched this earlier this year.) Sometimes, vegans have to dine with omnivore relatives or attend work events at omnivore restaurants. And even if you have zero intention of ever going vegan, everyone needs to eat vegetables.
Urban Farmer may never retire from being a steakhouse, but their vegetable game is on point. I’ll happily take that as a win.
Note: This post is in collaboration with Urban Farmer. I was invited as a guest to this establishment and received a complimentary meal. This was not in exchange for a positive review and all opinions expressed here are my own.