Very pleased to be kicking off this food review column with a burger from the Lutz Tavern. Well, kind of. As much as I love Lutz, it’s a place I don’t often like to tell people about. Yeah I know, I am that guy. It is a great bar, with some great rotating taps, and some old favorites in the beer realm, and some solid food.
I am going to start this out by prefacing I am a Red Ale junkie. I love the stuff. It’s my ultimate go to if I am having anywhere between one and four beers, only because I can get in trouble with these if I don’t eat something. I am always up for new ones, and was delighted to not only see a new one, but from a brewery new to me.
The Jamaican Red Ale from Mad River Brewing is a solid Red. The master who crafted it is definitely a better source than me. However, from a consumer standpoint I liked this one a lot. It was very smooth, easy to drink, and didn’t overwhelm the tastebuds. For a beer at 6.5% ABV its scary easy to drink.
I have had several burgers at Lutz, including their Backdraft Burger, which might be the hottest burger I’ve ever had. They make quality burgers and sandwiches, and while it’s all deadly, it’s tough to branch out. However, that was my aim on this day, and I went with their Blue Burger, with shoestring fries.
Lutz makes simple burgers with quality ingredients from the bun, lettuce, patty and everything else. The Blue Burger sports: blue cheese, bacon, caramelized onion, shredded lettuce, pickles, and their own blue cheese dressing. The best part of this one is they don’t overdo it with the blue cheese, or dressing, which can smoother the other tastes.
It was a solid burger, and just the right size, but those shoestring fries are so damn addictive. I don’t know what oil they use for them, but they are insanely good, and I always eat them all, unabashedly. Long hair, don’t care. I know they aren’t technically part of the burger, but it helps.
While this burger was good, it was not at the level of the other Lutz burgers I’ve had. I’m not trying to be nit-picky, but the Backdraft and Lutz Burgers were better than this one, but it’s like the weird puppy in a litter. It’s still cute, still fun, but it’s got that look to it.
Lutz Tavern is a constant in an ever-changing city. As Portland grows, shifts and changes, Lutz is a rock. It’s got a great old school feel to it, with a diner-style counter, some great beer signs, and pinball machines. It also has a small patio outback for the smokers and when the weather is nice.
They keep a few rotating taps, but have some local standbys as well. There’s also a large cocktail menu, and a few wines in stock. The staff has always been friendly and helpful when asking their opinion on food or drinks. I missed this place a lot.