It's surprising how many restaurants in this Pacific Northwest metropolis serve up credible Southern fare. The down-home, hipster-infested Screen Door
(E. Burnside St. and N.E. 24th Ave.
, 503-542-0880) is one of the best around, serving a mix of genuine Deep South standards (glorious fried chicken, hushpuppies with honey-Creole mustard, Lowcountry shrimp and grits, Carolina-style house-smoked pulled pork, and so on) and weekly rotating organic dishes produced with whatever's fresh and available from regional farms - typical offerings on the organics menu include a salad of arugula and roasted beets with toasted pecans and Tellagio cheese, and asparagus almondine with brown butter and lemon. A few of these organic sides can be ordered together as a meal. They tend to be a bit less Southern-inspired than the main menu fare, but you'll see some Lowcountry and Creole influences in preparation and ingredients.
Although open only for dinner on weekdays, the Screen Door also serves an excellent weekend brunch (the praline-bacon waffles are a big hit, as is the fried-green-tomato BLT with potatoes and grits and a remoulade dressing). Screen Door also has a worthy wine list, emphasizing Northwest wines, and as you might expect of a Southern restaurant, the desserts are magnificent and prodigious - consider the peanut-butter pie with chocolate shortbread crust and a layer of chocolate ganache. Dining is inside an intentionally informal room with simple tables and blue-leatherette booths, but in warm weather you can dine on the peaceful, tree-shaded patio area on the 24th Avenue side of the building. Screen Door is close to the impressive "restaurant row" along N.E. and S.E. 28th Avenue, which includes such favorites as Bamboo Sushi, Navarre, Crema, Ken's Artisan Pizza, and several other notables.