OX RestaurantCarnivores and vegetarians brought together in a savory embrace

First published 11 January 2022

If there were a place where a wood-fired grill could bring out the best in meat and vegetable and bring together carnivores and vegetarians in a savory embrace, it would be Ox. Chefs Gabrielle Quiñónez Denton and Greg Denton showcase the best of Argentinian grilled meats, fish and garden produce in their small and cozy NE Portland restaurant.

"I'm deeply inspired by history and culinary tradition," Quiñónez Denton said. "I love taking a dish that has roots in another place and time and adapting it to showcase an ingredient that's coming into season here."

Quiñónez Denton came from Los Angeles, but spent summers in Ecuador at her grandmother's home in the Andes learning about food and flavor. Her husband grew up in Vermont, was interested in cooking from a young age and eventually put that passion to the test at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. Across the country, Quiñónez Denton graduated from California Culinary Academy in San Francisco.

Truly top-notch grilled meats from two James Beard Award-winning chefs. The Dentons' newest, Bistro Agnes in downtown Portland, is a French coup de grâce.

2225 NE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd
Portland, OR 97212

In 2012, they found in Portland a culinary scene on the verge of next-level dining and opened Ox in a storefront on developing MLK Boulevard, with dishes such as grilled short ribs with house chorizo and pan-roasted sea scallops with halibut brandade risotto. An open kitchen with beautiful cuts of meat and veggies neatly arranged were visible and engaging to customers. The redolence from the grilled fare was compelling. The meats were to die for, the veggies farm-fresh and the ambience that of a cozy bistro. Word spread and Ox became a destination restaurant for Portland foodies.

"I think what sets Ox apart from others is our dedication to hospitality," Greg Denton said. "It is very important to us that you have a good time while we are taking care of you. I also think that people love looking at and cooking over fire. It calls out to your primal, basic instincts."

In 2017, the husband-wife duo won a James Beard Award for best chefs in the Pacific Northwest.

Our fresh clam chowder, with smoked bone marrow, green onion and jalapeño. It's a rollercoaster of flavor!

I love our skirt steak. The savory marinade really sets it apart from other grilled meat on the menu, and it pairs perfectly with a dab of our zesty chimichurri sauce.