May 5, 2011

Eat and Run: Deux Cochon? Mais oui!

It's not perfect, our reviewer says, but it still has the best barbecue in town.

Whenever you hear Portland food bloggers raving about a new spot, you kind of have to take it with a grain of salt.

click image to enlarge

Adam Alfter, owner and chef, with a pulled pork sandwich at Deux Cochon in the Public Market House in Portland.

John Patriquin /Staff Photographer

click image to enlarge

Mmmmmmm. Good.

John Patriquin/Staff Photographer


WHERE: Public Market House, Second Floor, 28 Monument Square, Portland

HOURS: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday to Saturday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday

CHEAPEST GRUB: Biscuits n' Gravy ($4), but there are several snack-style choices ranging from $1 to $3.50


WAIT: 5 minutes or less

PARKING: On street and in One City Center parking garage

RATING: ****1/2

* Based on a five-star scale



FOR MORE NEWS on the Portland area's food industry, including a comprehensive dining guide, read Food & Dining every Wednesday in The Portland Press Herald.

A clunky little cart could open downtown selling, oh, bowls of spinach, and local foodies would think it's the second coming of green vegetables. (Until, of course, they decide to turn on it.)

So I visited Deux Cochon, the new little barbecue place on the second floor of the Public Market House, with an open mind but holding back a little on expectations.

I was pleasantly surprised to find the best-tasting barbecue in Portland, even if our meat was, on the particular day we visited, a little too dry.

The pork in the pulled pork sandwich ($6) was smoky and very flavorful, as close as you'll find in the Portland area to what you can get down South. My friend and I, however, immediately and independently had the same reaction when we bit into our sandwiches: the meat, while delicious, was too dry. A vinegary, Carolina-style sauce from the Deux Cochon counter solved the problem, although it was a little overpowering. (I don't want anything getting in between my tastebuds and good pulled pork. The sauce should enhance the flavor of the meat, not overwhelm it.) Despite that minor issue, I would highly recommend this pulled pork sandwich.

The homemade bacon on our bacon, arugula and tomato sandwiches ($6) was outstanding. My only "complaint" is that the owner of Deux Cochon should sell this bacon naked, by the slice. It was thick, chewy and full of flavor, better than a lot of the smoked, country-style bacon that's available these days. I found myself taking bites of the bacon and leaving the rest of the sandwich alone because I wanted to experience the bacon on its own.

The pickled okra garnishes were a nice touch. If you're afraid of okra, there's no need to be with these mild, crunchy little tidbits.

You can also try that delicious bacon on an Egg & Bacon sandwich ($4.25) and in something called "Bacon Toffee" ($3), which they were out of the day we visited.

The menu at Deux Cochon is small, but definitely unique. I have to wonder (with an amused expression) how many people order the "Bowl O' Pickles" ($3.50), no matter how good they are. But I really like the idea.

Other offerings include Smoked Artichoke with Aioli ($4) and Boiled Peanuts ($3.50), another Southern specialty.

Deux Cochon has added smoked pork ribs to its menu since our visit, and I can't wait to go back and try them, as well as the Biscuits N' Gravy ($4).

This Eat and Run will end now, because it is making me really hungry. Bottom line: if you like barbecue, you should definitely make your way to Deux Cochon.


The Features staff of The Portland Press Herald anonymously samples meals for about $7.


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