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The Village Hut: It's time to eat healthy again
Columnist Georgina Young-Ellis reviews Village Hut, which offers fresh and versatile food options in Multnomah Village
The season of overindulgence is coming to a close at last.
Now that we've given ourselves free rein to eat all the things we normally would never think of ingesting the rest of the year, it's time to pull back and get sensible again.
But wait! Does eating sensibly have to mean not eating delicious food? No, not at all, thanks to The Village Hut in Multnomah Village, run by the sage J Harris.
I first tried the food at The Village Hut (7647 S.W. Capitol Highway, between 31st and 32nd avenues) because I was lured in by the "Smoked Ribs" sign out front, as well as the look of the adorable collection of little, well, huts that make up the restaurant.
On that occasion, J was out of the ribs, so my husband and I took home grilled steak and smoked beef tri tips dinners instead. Both were delicious, and convinced us to come back again.
The next time, the ribs were available, and my husband ordered them while I tried the seafood combo.
Each meal comes with your choice of brown or white rice, Asian slaw, veggie stir-fry and a piece of fruit. Dinner options range in price from $12 to about $16.
J encourages you to call him at 503-768-3975 and ask what he has available each day. You can grab a take-out menu so you have the number handy, though you can also eat in one of the rustic little dining areas.
I was thrilled to find that the seafood combo was comprised of fresh Atlantic Cod, Sockeye Salmon and prawns, all grilled to flavorful, succulent perfection. The veggie stir-fry — delicate asparagus tips; tiny, tender broccoli florets; summer squash; and onions — was wonderful, too, as was the perfectly cooked rice, served with a bit of sweet-and-spicy sauce on the side.
The ribs were thick and meaty and gorgeously smoky, and came with a side of tangy BBQ sauce.
For us fish lovers, wild salmon, Alaskan halibut, seared wild ahi and tiger prawns are always on the menu — as long as J can get the fish fresh and doesn't sell out. Meat eaters will find grilled Oregon lamb on the menu as well as the steak choices and the Applewood smoked ribs.
You can also get a classic Bento of grilled natural chicken or smoked pork for lunch ($6) and dinner ($8-$12), or an organic tofu vegetable stir fry for $8 for lunch, $10 for dinner.
How crazy reasonable is that? The portions aren't huge, but they are the perfect size to fill you up and not stuff you to death.
And keep in mind, this isn't necessarily fast food — it's thoughtful food, thoughtfully prepared. So if you find yourself waiting a few minutes, have a nice chat with J or watch the game on the TV in the main room and enjoy a beer (draft, bottle or can) or a glass of wine.
J has run The Village Hut for 12 years, but does have some concern about the sale of the defunct gas station next door because there's a rumor that an apartment building might go up in its place.
He said the city had been giving him a bit of a hard time about his buildings and he wonders if they'd rather see him go to make way for more lucrative development. This would be a pity. If Multnomah Village loses its small businesses, it loses its character and no one wants to see that happen.
So stop by and offer J a word of a support, and while you're at it, get a scrumptious and wholesome meal to boot. Here's to a healthy new year!
Rating: Extraordinarily Sincere!
Georgina Young-Ellis moved to Multnomah from Queens, N.Y., in 2015. She explores the world outside of big-box chain stores to find local businesses intent on customer service, customer satisfaction and a pleasurable customer experience. To read more about her experiences at Portland-area shops, visit Searching4Sincerity.com.