Russell Street Bar-B-Que
325 NE Russell St
Portland, OR, 97212
I go up to Portland about once a year, and I always try to hit a barbecue joint or two. This trip, someone whose barbecue opinion I respect highly told me to check out Russell Street.
I had extremely high hopes as soon as I sat down. It smelled fantastic, they had a Frito pie on the menu, and they offered a North Carolina-style sauce of vinegar and chili flakes (my favorite kind of sauce with pork.) I had a pulled pork sandwich and it was... just okay. The fries were great, the slaw was great, and the sauce was great, but the pork was too dry. Have you ever had barbecue for lunch at a restaurant that you felt was leftover from the night before? Then you know exactly what I'm talking about.
My buddy got the "Meatapalooza," a choice of three different meats. He got the hot link, brisket, and smoked turkey. (One of the offerings is grilled tofu and he was going to order that just to be funny, which it would have been, but then I pointed out that neither of us would eat it and that would just be a waste.) The hot link was great and the turkey was good, although the brisket was dry, just like my pork.
Overall I thought it was a good place, and it certainly was one of the better barbecue restaurants I have eaten at in Portland, but it was not the great place I had hoped for.