Sunday, February 13, 2011

Tasty n Sons

Saturday was my 41st birthday. I’d heard many good things about a new restaurant called Tasty n Sons at 3808 N. Williams, Suite C, Portland, OR 97212, so as a treat, my mother took me there. One should bear in mind, we know North Portland about as well as we know Berlin, and the Google directions, I’d printed, were pretty much useless. Nevertheless, after having crisscrossed the area several times, and obtaining directions from a cigarette smoking gas station attendant, we found the place in plenty of time to make the 5:30pm dinner seating.

In the front of the restaurant are a communal table and a short bar, which are open during the brunch service (9am to 2:30pm) and happy hour (2:30pm to 5:30pm). Behind the black cabinet and short beverage bar, sits a long dinner counter and a row of tables along the parallel wall. This section opens at 5:30pm for the dinner service, and is full by 5:35pm.

We ate at the counter, where a bowl of spicy peanuts, a stopped bottle of water, and glasses wait for every two people seated along the polished wood mantle. From where we sat, we were able to watch the kitchen staff work at brake neck speed to turn out a variety of dishes. I watched a wool capped chef taste test dishes by taking occasional bites from the pan.  He was slender and moving at an impressive pace, which lead me to conclude he probably needed the occasional burst of energy to keep going.

We each began our meal with a Griddled Bacon Wrapped Date with maple syrup & an almond for $2 a piece, which are listed in the “Breakfast for Dinner” portion of the menu, rather than the “Smaller Plates” section where the Bread & Butter, Meat & Cheese Board, and other appetizer-esc offerings are found. A white almond is stuffed inside of a date, then the date is wrapped in bacon and doused with maple syrup. The syrup added a pleasant sticky sweetness to the already sweet fruit, and the nut added a nice crunch. While the bacon added another chewy texture, I personally couldn’t taste its smokiness beneath the maple and date flavors. Yet, mother says hers DID have a nice smoky salty kick.

From the “Bigger Plates” section I ordered the Pork Cutlet with spaetzle & sunny side up egg for $14. Putting a salt & pepper seasoned fried egg on top of a dish is a great way to entice me to order it. The base of the dish was seasoned spaetzle (tiny German dumplings) cooked with dried cherries and pine nuts. Resting atop of the savory mélange of flavors was a deliciously fried pork cutlet topped by the aforementioned egg. When the yoke broke and ran down through the other parts of the dish, it added a welcome richness to the already savory meal.

I accompanied the pork dish with a glass of wine listed as a Wurst, Trocken, Germany, Riesling 2009. Though trocken is the German word for dry, the wine had a slightly sweet initial taste and a strong fruity finish, which paired well with the German inspired meal.

Mother ordered the BBQ Half Chicken with cornmeal pancake & coleslaw for $17. The chicken, atop a tannish/yellow cornmeal pancake, glistened with burgundy colored sauce, and was served within a single size cast iron skillet. A ramekin of coleslaw rounded out the meal. I tried bites of all three components. The pancake contained garlic and green onions within the corn batter, and was quite savory. The BBQ sauce made the chicken delightfully spicy, without being over poweringly hot. I’m not typically a fan of coleslaw, because it’s usually drenched in a thin vinegary drippy dressing. This slaw came in a nice thick mayonnaise based sauce, which clung to the slivers of cabbage and carrots, making the salad a good cool creamy counter balance to the zesty chicken.

We ended the meal by splitting their Chocolate Potato Doughnut with crème anglaise for $1.50. Titled a “doughnut” the dish was actually what most people would describe as a large chocolate doughnut hole, or Beignet if you prefer. The chocolate morsel was surrounded by a custard-like crème, sprinkled with cinnamon, and came to the table piping hot. The dominant flavor of the dessert was the cinnamon, but the dish delivered a nice secondary chocolate flavor.

All in all, I was favorably impressed by Tasty n Sons. They produce and serve superbly crafted cuisine at very reasonable prices. I give Tasty n Sons a 9.8 out of 100 stars, or an A grade.

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