Steak and fish houses are recognized for particularly excellent happy hours, and RingSide Fish House in downtown Portland, OR, offers a happy hour food menu and beverage program to delight one and all. The bar offers access to a robust beverage program. There’s a 600 label wine cellar, lengthy spirits list, and a full bar menu. But today, we sample RingSide’s new “Put a Ring on It” beer.
RingSide’s Executive Chef Jonathan Gill collaborated with Burnside Brewing to come up with a beer that pairs especially well with seafood. Collaborations are a Portland mainstay and offer both parties a chance to explore new flavors and expand what they can do.
This signature beer is a crisp pale ale that includes Citra hops, coriander, and Buddha’s Hand fruit. Buddha’s Hand is a unique Asian fruit that’s starting to pop up more frequently on food and bar menus, although it’s difficult to find in stores. It has no pulp and no juice, and is most often used as a zest. It imparts a citrusy freshness. The beer’s hops flavor arrived first for me, but then the citrusy, fresh, slightly floral flavors took over and remained through a good finish. The result is bright, and definitely compliments just about anything on the menu.
Start with some of RingSide’s “Famous” Onion Rings. They arrived hot from the fryer and I was too busy enjoying them to ask if the batter uses some of the house beer. Just trust me; these are good.
A carnivore among you? Try the fried chicken sliders; yes, indeed, the batter is crispy and the chicken inside is juicy and flavorful. They’re topped with an apple poppy seed slaw and pickled onion.
A good seafood house is the place to optimize raw fish options—enter Petrale sole ceviche. Buddha’s Hand makes another appearance, this time pickled, along with lime, chives, and a bit of red pepper.
The beer also paired well with Mini Crab Cakes. These were served with an aioli. Just a thin, crispy layer of breading on the outside and soft and flakey crabmeat inside; just right.
We pass plates of Buddha’s Hand mignonette oysters. Plump, fresh-shucked oysters in their brine are served on ice with cocktail sauce and a mignonette sauce of raw shallots, cracked pepper, vinegar, and zest of Buddha’s hand. The sauce is so good I passed on the cocktail sauce altogether (and I’m a big fan horseradishy cocktail sauce with my oysters).
Fresh seafood availability guides the menu, but includes oysters, salmon, crab, mussels, shrimp, halibut, sea scallops, and more, as well as steaks, sides, salads and vegetarian options.
Located in the Fox Tower building, the upscale, contemporary dining room overlooks Director Park in the South Park Blocks. The restaurant is just blocks away from Portland’s concert halls and theaters, art museum, and more. The bar is casual-modern, and you can catch the game on TV with your friends.
The family-owned restaurant group includes RingSide Steak House; RingSide Grill (open since 1944), and the RingSide Fish House (which opened in 2011). Chef Jonathan joined the company in 2015, and continues to strive for quality, as well as sourcing his ingredients whole, locally, and sustainably. RingSide Fish house’s beer collaboration has been so well-received; it’s slated to remain in production and on the menu for the foreseeable future. And that’s a great thing for us. – Photos and story by Nancy Zaffaro, RFT Wine, NW Brews & Spirits Editor
Ringside Fish House: www.ringsidefishhouse.com/