Review: Clyde Common

Many restaurants are emblematic of certain eras in the cities they inhabit. Think of the well known Brasserie Lipp in Paris in the 1920’s, when artists and writers milled about, drinking cheap red wine and eating hearty sausages and stews, while Ernest Hemingway jotted it all down on paper for posterity. Or the eponymous Brown Derby in LA during the black and white film era, when stars and starlets would dig into thick steaks to go along with their gimlets. New York in the 1970’s had Elaine’s, where one might have seen Mick Jagger, Andy Warhol, or the original cast of Saturday Night Live recovering from, or getting ready for, a disco night at Studio 54. Portland, of course, up until the 1990’s, had iconic Quality Pie on NW 23rd, where the likes of a young and yet unknown film director named Gus VanSant might be waiting for cheap coffee at 2AM, while a young crazy rocker chick named Courtney Love shared a counter with off work taxi drivers, punk rock musicians, geriatric insomniacs, and many “keep Portland weird” types.

Clyde Common is a veritable who’s who of Portland. The downstairs is all community tables; you may find yourself seated between City Commissioner Sam Adams and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and across from Monica Lewinsky. All around you are likely to find gays, straights, socialites, the moneyed, the hip & trendy, and the not so trendy. People are generally happy to be there, and I’ve had many interesting conversations with other patrons thrown together by chance, resulting in an entertaining scene. It is in many ways, the perfect restaurant for this particular time and place – Portland 2007. Sometimes, though, Clyde can feel a little too much like “where the beautiful, cool people dine”, kind of place. Later at night, especially on the weekends, it can turn into a downright house-bar atmosphere, with pumping music, and lots of table hopping, cocktail swigging folks whooping it up. This can either be a fantastic and festive scene, guaranteed for amusing people watching and a lively, energetic atmosphere, or downright obnoxious if all you want is a nice dinner with quiet and intimate conversation.

Owners Nate Tilden and Matt Piacentini have done a beautiful job with the design. The ceiling soars to meet a large bank of floor to ceiling windows that fill the space with light. An open kitchen allows you to watch the cooks from anywhere in the dining room. A mezzanine wraps two walls, providing a great vantage point to view the crowd below. The zinc-topped bar provides a second focal point. All in all, it’s a fun place to hang out.

There are, however, some drawbacks. To some, it will be the community tables. I normally don’t like them, but have always enjoyed my time at Clyde Common. It all depends on the people sitting around you; I suppose they could make or break your evening. One night I had to sit and listen to someone berate Nate for 20 minutes about the noise… which brings me to my next issue. Yes, it is very loud. They have done things to mitigate the problem, but it can be a cacophony at times. Add tables that are really wide, as in, it’s hard to talk to the person sitting across from you, and it’s even worse. Word to the wise: if you are seated at a wide table, sit side by side, otherwise you’ll find it hard to carry on a conversation. Choose carefully – some tables are thinner than others, which make them better for groups. When there is space, the mezzanine offers regular tables and tends to be quieter.

Another issue is the lighting. This time of year it is not much of a problem, but when it starts getting dark early, it’s going to be difficult to read the menus. My last visit was late in the evening, and the whole table was maneuvering the candles, trying to read the dessert list. I imagine they are working on these issues, but I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t bring them up.

I’ve been to Clyde Commons about ten times. My first experience was great: flawless in food and service. On my second visit, there was a 50 minute wait between first and second courses, but the food was still quite good. All subsequent visits have had varying degrees of service mishaps which have been annoying, if not worse. Sometimes the wait is longer than it should be for dishes, usually entrees. Sometimes food for almost everyone at the table will show up, but one plate takes an extra ten minutes. My guess is the kitchen and front of the house staff need to get better synchronized, but the fault is not all theirs. I’ve had other diner’s entrées delivered to me, and watched what I ordered get delivered to other people. I’ve waited too long for fresh drinks, and have sat with an empty coffee cup for far too long. After being in business for over two months, these things shouldn’t be happening. Frankly, I don’t understand it. Most of the house is made up of people that have been in the industry for a long time; there are a high percentage of ‘professional’ waiters here. This makes me think the problem runs somewhat deeper.

Finally, a few times I’ve witnessed the chef berating staff in front of the house; a server as well as a dishwasher. I know people that won’t go to some restaurants after witnessing this kind of stuff. Take it in the back where it belongs. Let’s hope they get these problems taken care of soon.

A lot of attention has gone into the cocktail menu. Some examples: Ace Gibson: Medoyeff vodka and house pickled onion, Figa: black Mission fig vodka with Earl Gray tea and orange, Anemic Mary: Serrano chili and sun-dried tomato vodka, celery juice and sour mix. They are also doing their part to promote classic cocktails, such as the Manhattan, dry martini’s Negroni, etc. They have an excellent selection of bourbon and scotch. In fact, their entire selection of top shelf liquors is easily one of the best in town. The drinks I’ve tried have been fairly good, especially as the restaurant has matured, though I’d say quality varies depending on who’s making them.

The beer list is made up of five well chosen drafts – everything from Mac & Jack African Amber to La Chouffe and Old German Lager, and ten bottled selections such as Red Stripe, Pacifico, Black Sheep Ale, and one of my favorites, Chimay Blue. Prices are about average, if not slightly below. The wine list is excellent, with a good selection of varietals from around the world. Markup is about 100% retail.

The menu is quite eclectic and very inventive; choices frequently change. Prices are very reasonable, making it easy to try multiple items and still walk out the door with a pretty small tab. I usually start with grilled peppers, Spanish cheese, and celery. They are a perfect example of the way a few simple ingredients come together in a satisfying way: perfect dinner party food ($4). Next, radishes, butter and salt. Not much I can say, every component fresh and just as it should be ($4). Same for the fried blue cheese-stuffed olives. Addictive little cannons of flavor that can be perfect when matched with the right cocktail ($4).

Cauliflower Soup

The chef does amazing things with simple ingredients, witness the roasted cauliflower which has elevated this lowly vegetable into a new form. Slightly sweet, and slightly caramelized on the outside, while still remaining firm, I don’t think I’ve ever had better in Portland. Salt cod croquettes are nice and crispy on the outside, yet molten inside, and come with a good béchamel ($4). Frog legs arrive three to a plate with a spicy tomato purée, the best in Portland for anywhere near the price ($10). Carrot gnudi (nude) is light and perfect, served with a bit of mint and mustard oil, just a wonderful dish on a warm summer night ($9/15). My only real disappointment in the appetizer-sized offerings was a grilled corn salad that might have been great if it had been later in the summer. At the time of this writing, the dish was boring, the corn bland and flavorless.

Panzanella

Clyde Common frequently pushes the envelope, occasionally raising my eyebrows with a dish such as “foie gras torchon, rose sorbet and brioche crouton”. I was a bit nervous until I took a bite, and then fought my friends to get the last bit. Buttery smooth, the rose flavor a gentle counterpoint to the foie, cold versus warm, three entirely different textures and flavors all working together in perfection; an unexpected “must have” dish at a bargain price. My only complaint is the rose was a bit strong ($12). Another evening, the foi was matched with roasted shallots and a fried brioche ball, which, though it was more traditionally based, was an excellent dish. You can add foie gras butter to anything for $3.

If they have the whole roasted fish, get it. It is a simple, perfectly cooked and flavorful fish, crispy skin, sweet and tender meat. Don’t be put off by the head (the glazed eye staring up at you, thinking of better days), as the cheeks contain some of the best tasting parts. Clyde Common has offered it as bronzini (sea bass), the “in” fish for 2007, and the Mediterranean dorade (bream), both outstanding. I do wish they would put something on the menu about it being a whole fish. Several times I’ve watched other diners recoil in horror when it was presented to them; one woman said she thought “whole roast dorade” was a meat dish ($21).

Chicken Livers

The chicken fried chicken livers are damn near perfect: three livers about two inches long that are breaded, pan fried and served on flavorful greens with a side of citrus mayonnaise: a play on textures, crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside. I went back two nights in a row just for this dish ($9)

I could go on and on, but at over 2,000 words, I don’t want to bore you. I’ll list some of the more interesting highlights: Fennel sausage, grilled squid, and fried potatoes with ink vinaigrette ($12). Beef tongue, seared scallop, beets and tomato jam – wow ($11)! Meatboard – braised pork belly, coleslaw, potato chips and a frozen shot of Medoyeff vodka ($14) FishBoard – cold smoked salmon, cucumber and pickled shallot with a shot of Krogstad aquavit ($14). Suffice it to say these dishes are well prepared, and a great example of how, in the hands of a skilled chef, a few simple ingredients can dazzle.

Fries

One concern I’ve heard on our forums is the menu is not terribly approachable; it may be a bit intimidating to the neophyte. I agree, but if one reads closely there are choices that may appeal to the less adventurous. Some examples: a light and slightly creamy chitarra pasta alla carbonara ($9/15), the properly cooked hanger steak in a somewhat overbearing harissa with a lovely, smoky grilled onion salad ($18), or the occasionally underdone hamburger with addictive salty fries – try adding the foie gras butter ($11). (The fries can also be purchased as a side, and come with both a harrisa and a crème fraiche dipping sauce for $5). A chicken thigh is almost always on the menu, seared and served with refried peanuts and a frisée salad. While it is a decent dish, two of the times someone in my party has ordered it, the meat was undercooked – way undercooked ($17). I’ve had several friends tell me they have also experienced undercooked items at Clyde Commons; the chef needs to pay more attention to this issue.

I think Clyde might be more successful if they dropped some of the descriptions to more basic terms and then listed the details underneath, such as “pasta alla carbonara – house-made chitarra pasta in a creamy…” Just a thought.

Rose Sorbet

Desserts are a mixed and often disappointing experience ($6). One night, the mixed berry clafoutis, in spite of being beautiful, had little taste, and a disappointing texture. A bit of acid to bring out the flavors would have been a huge help; another night it was much better. Same with the pot de crème – on one visit it was thick as chocolate ganache. Another evening it was textbook – perfect texture and volume, served with a bit of whipped cream and a shot of raspberry purée. The olive oil cake is ok, but the night I had it, was overcooked and a bit dry.

Finally, we get to the sundae. Terrific house-made ice cream, lots of fresh berries, and a deep, not too sweet chocolate sauce with a sprinkling of salty nuts at the bottom of the glass. The little sugar cookies with the sundae, one plain, one a dark bittersweet chocolate, are so delicate they crumble into buttery shards of pure taste when they hit the tongue.

There is often talk about Portland being a “creative class mecca”, a new bohemian paradise, and one of the most artistic, vibrant, and innovative cities in the US. Clyde lives up to this image with a staff that clearly wants to please with little touches like “idea collector” as the job title on their business cards, and changing matching outfits for the servers, including the night the staff ironically wore t-shirts that read, “Le Pigeon”, in reference to the restaurant across the river, or another evening when the entire cooking staff wore ties.

It would be one thing if it was all show, like some glossy two-dimensional spread in Dwell magazine, or the travel section of the NY Times. Instead, Clyde delivers, with food that is both creative yet comforting, and prices which are extremely reasonable, given the quality. Overall, the restaurant generally meets and often exceeds expectations. If inconsistencies with the dishes and service can be corrected, it will become a magnate for more national publicity. The roasted whole bronzini fish alone is worth the price of admission.

Grade: B+

  • Phone: (503) 228-3333
  • Address: 1014 SW Stark St., Portland, OR 97205
  • Hours: Happy hour every day 4:30pm-close. Sun-Thu 4:30pm-midnight, Fri-Sat 4:30pm-1:00am
  • Website: ClydeCommons.com
Thanks to Shuna for the great pictures – far better than I could have done.

Clyde Common on Urbanspoon

Your thoughts are welcome

  1. micah says

    I’ll admit that I’m not the biggest FD fan out there, however I still appreciate this site for the occasional reviews where I feel that the writing is reflective of palate & passion vs. politics & personal association.

    Having been to the Clyde as many, if not more than FD, I agree with this review 100% Chef Jason Barokowski is one of the most talented chefs I’ve ever met. And I feel that he truly believes in what he has to offer. I also believe that the “pretty people” are a casualty of his address & not his business plan.

  2. Food Dude says

    Thanks all. As I said, I stole some great lines from Cuisine Bon Femme, and photography was by Shuna from Eggbeater.

  3. old guy says

    I’ve eaten there only twice. Fries and salad both times, burger once. Beer to wash it down. No complaints. Just what I expected, excellent in every way.

  4. Marshall Manning says

    I went to lunch at Clyde a few weeks back and had a decent piri piri chicken sandwich, but it was a little small, a little bland considering the piri piri, and the fries were almost burnet, yet soft and almost soggy, even though I asked for them to be crispy. I thought it was okay, but it sure didn’t inspire me to return soon. Are their dinners normally better than the lunches, Dude?

  5. Cap'n says

    I went to CC for dinner last weekend for the first time and enjoyed the best meal I have had since moving to Portland 2 years ago. Everything was sensational. I have been consistently underwhelmed by the Portland restaurant scene where the execution often trails the high-minded aspirations of the chef/owner.

    It was only one meal, so I would like to try CC again before rendering a definitive opinion. But I was thoroughly impressed.

  6. Matt Davis says

    Shuna’s photographs are excellent, they really lift the review off the (web)page. Splendid. Did she go back after you’d been and set up a shoot, or were they shot incognito while dining?

    I like the idea of the menu being slightly unapproachable. It fits with the beautiful people aesthetic, and for crying out loud, fish is fish! I want the head left on! I think, being where they are, the chefs can afford to be a little hipster-confrontational with their diners. And if the food is working, and it’s not just a front for the Ace/New York Times Style critic, then I’m pleasantly surprised. Simply put, they’re not trying to appeal to everyone. But then neither is any restaurant, and as long as Clyde doesn’t have a paragraph at the bottom of its menu “explaining what its mission is,” I can take it.

    The chicken fried livers sound worth going for, too. Thanks for a great and comprehensive review FD.

  7. Food Dude says

    Shuna went for lunch while she was doing her pie class, and took the pictures – she takes pictures where ever she goes -for the KQED story she did on CC. You can see it here. She’s the type that just snaps things as she walks along.

    I just asked her if I could run the photos, since there is no way I can get nice ones when I’m trying to shoot from under my armpit without looking ;>) I need to fly her up every time I do a review, since restaurants don’t want to send me pictures.

    I like the menu too, because it challenges people to come out of the box. I’m just worried that it will keep people from coming in the door; without them, we won’t have a place to eat.

  8. Food Dude says

    Marshall, I haven’t tried lunch there, so don’t know how different the cooking is from dinner. I’d be interested to hear what you think if you go back for dinner.

  9. Polarwanderer says

    Jay really is doing nice things. The rabbitt leg/loin combo is not to be missed if its on the menu. This week it was served with a skewer of rabbit liver that was amazing. The squid appetizer and chicken liver appetizer is not to be missed as the article notes. I’ve been here about nine times and it just keeps getting better. The wine by the glass list could use a little improving – some boring white bordeaux and gruner the other day. :)

  10. glasshousejmb says

    Great review — as are so many on this site — but someone needs to point out that “bronzini” (which I see you transcribed verbatim from the CC menu) is actually “branzino”, the European sea bass that is becoming increasingly overfished. Thank you for the correct “hanger steak”, however, which CC lists on its menu as “hangar steak” — not sure I want to know what part of the cow that comes from!

    I’ll be staying at the Ace Hotel later this month; can’t wait to give Clyde Commons a try.

  11. Papaki says

    Hey glasshouse: Since you seem to be a stickler for spelling, you should note that the restaurant is Clyde Common, not “Clyde Commons.” (What’s that they say about people in glass houses?)

  12. says

    It was my experience, after going in once for dinner and once for lunch, that dinner was better executed. But, yes, it was easier to photograph in the daytime!

    Thanks all for the good words on the photos. Portland is an extraordinary city to photograph. I have tried my best to capture what I love there the most in my Flickr sets.

    Hopefully I’ll be back in the fall, so maybe I can visually add to your steadfast reviews. It’s an honor, really, I love Portland!

  13. onetart says

    I ain’t beautiful, and I ain’t cool, but I sure do love the food at CC. Tonight was our fifth visit, I think. Food was right on, as it has been with previous visits, and service was (surprisingly) adept! We’ve had some near comical service experiences there, but none that were attitude related, thank goodness. Tonight’s service, however, was right in sync with the fine food. Maybe the FOH is taking a turn for the better?

  14. FrannyGlass says

    FD
    Poetic, rhapsodic.
    I really enjoy how you write about (much more than) food.

    Hey glasshouse, I, also am a stickler, so much so, I did a search last summer, and found spellings from the San Francisco Chronicle to the New York Times. The spellings varied from branzino to bronzini with all the ‘o’ and ‘a’ ‘i’ ending combinations. I think it’s new enough in the U.S. market that restauranteurs/the press/fishmongers are still working out the spelling.
    I do, however, take issue with fois gras.

  15. Lady says

    I definitely like the review. Balanced and insightful. I will indeed try to visit. Unfortunately my last effort left me confronted with about 30 street people lying or sitting on the sidewalk around the entrance at noon. Not wanting to go through the beggars brigade with associated insults if I did not drop money, I left for more options in less confrontational climes.

  16. Food Dude says

    thanks Franny. I did look up branzini/ONI/whatever, andfound it several ways. Went with Cooks Dictionary. As far as that gras stuff…. Oops!

  17. Nikos says

    Because I know you are all refined, let me point out Agnolo di Cosimo (no it is not a dish) also known as Bronzino (1503-1572). His “Venus with Cupid” at the National Gallery in London is a feast for the eyes, with its yummy pink rendering of flesh and dreamy blue colors.
    Go to http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/cgi-bin/WebObjects.dll and type in “Bronzino”, scroll down to the third painting, you will not regret it! (Sorry FD, I keep changing the subject, but you are in Canada, nothing you can do he he)

  18. Sammy says

    Just returned from Clyde Common…Monday night is a tough night to dine out and sometimes a worse one to judge a restaurant. However, Clyde Common rocked. Our party of 6 had cocktails, appetizers (including the chicken livers and croquettes) entrees and desserts. I usually try to get folks to order as many different entrees as possible, but the waiter suggested the double pork chop (grilled, with grilled onions, grilled peach and blue cheese) and three of us couldn’t resist. The others in our party had halibut (grilled with tomatoes and cous cous), the “hangar” steak (served over arugula) and the grilled corn salad with a side of the grilled squash and tarragon (grilling was clearly the theme). No one shared.

    We were stuffed by the end of the meal but still split an order of the blackberry clafouti with ginger ice cream (good, not too sweet).

    The service was friendly and attentive and one of the guys in the kitchen checked to be sure that we enjoyed our meal.

    A few drawbacks–I was disappointed that some of the menu items discussed above were not available (especially the cauliflower, which appeared on the lunch menu). And, the noise (the restaurant became increasingly crowded and the volume increased exponentially). This wasn’t a deal breaker, but it would also not be my choice for a romantic evening out.

    I am also a little suprised by the prices–they may not stay in the affordable range for long…(please note that the low prices are not a drawback).

    Overall, I am giddy to have a cool hotel (to put up guests) and great restaurant within walking distance.

  19. Papaki says

    Sammy: One thing I’ve noticed, based on my half-dozen or so dinners at Clyde Common thus far, is that they change the menu a lot. So I’m not surprised that you couldn’t find some of the items Food Dude mentioned in his review. They’ll even keep some of the main courses on the menu for a while but frequently change the sides that come with it. And in all my visits there, I’ve never seen a double pork chop on the menu. I’m envious.

    Not complaining, mind you. It’s one of the reasons CC is worth visiting frequently. (Come to think of it, CC is the only restaurant I’ve ever eaten at where I’ve had a really strong desire to go back the very next day.)

  20. salty ham says

    As for the italian plural or singular usages of bronzino or bronzini,
    much like the use of crostino (singular) or crostini (plural), something to ask an true italian scholar maybe? Just a thought.

  21. Nikos says

    It is brobably “Il branzino”, singular, i branzini, plural. The painter Bronzino is another matter altogether. Difficult to find “an scholar” of the italian (or english) language these days (giggles).

  22. Lolo says

    I went here last Friday with a girlfriend. Far and away the best meal I’ve had in the last year. I had the tongue and scallop (perfectly cooked and the flavors did a little dance on my tongue). The fried green tomatoes were super yummy, not too breaded and not too bare. The service was polished (a server apologized for not replacing our wine when I have sat far longer at less satisfying places. We were so focused on the food, we didn’t even notice). The moroccan pickles were yummy and unusual. The only thing that was just so-so was the prosciutto and melon due to the melon not being quite sweet enough to offset the prosciutto. But you can’t blame them for not having the perfect melon! I’m going back again this weekend. . .Yum.

  23. embien says

    We went to Clyde Common at 5pm on a Monday only to find they don’t start serving their dinner menu until 6pm during the week. Pretty off-putting to only be offered tuna salad sandwiches and hamburgers and the like from their happy hour menu when we were looking for dinner. I know not everyone dines at 5pm, but when you list that as your opening hour, well, you should open then….. It’s only polite.

    We probably won’t bother trying Clyde Common again, despite the generally favorable reviews here.

  24. Nikos says

    They cater to the nursing home next door between 5 and 6, so they have to scale down their restaurant offerings. What can you do.
    A gin and tonic at the bar and a little patience might have solved the problem! I had dinner there yesterday and it was from beggining to end a delight!

  25. mrg says

    Wait, they cater to the nursing home next door??? How old do you have to be to get into this nursing home? Can you get gin and tonics there? Wow, getting old is starting to not look so bad!

  26. embien says

    I’m sorry, I only meant to say that if you post your dinner hours on your front window, then you should abide by them. If you don’t start serving dinner until 6PM, that’s fine by me, but don’t put 5PM on your door in that case.

    I’m not adverse to a gin and tonic (though I prefer wine), but when you go out of your way to attempt to eat at a restaurant which has gotten good reviews (and which list 5pm as the start of the dinner hour), then I don’t think I’m that much out of line to say that it’s annoying to find they don’t actually start serving at the advertised hour.

    We ended up going to Ten-01, which says they open at 5pm and were actually open at that hour and had a fabulous meal (my comment at http://www.portlandfoodanddrink.com/?p=827), so it was only Clyde Common’s loss–not ours.

  27. the diabolical says

    The hours at Clyde have changed since they opened. they are open for happy hour from 3-6, and dinner from 6-11 p.m. They havnt changed the hours on the door yet. But honestly, i dont think that the folks who work at clyde common would consider it much of a loss to have some people who are too impatient, and/or put off by the fact that the hours differ from what they said on the door to stick around and relax for a bit before they ordered their dinner go somewhere else. They could probably care less.

  28. pdxyogi says

    FD: “… a few times I’ve witnessed the chef berating staff in front of the house; a server as well as a dishwasher… Take it in the back where it belongs. Let’s hope they get these problems taken care of soon.”

    Unacceptable. I used to work in a certain esteemed local record store where the owner would berate employees in front of customers & fellow workers, so I know how odious & harmful such inept management can be. I won’t be going to Clyde.

  29. themick says

    I have to disagree with diabolical here. First, how hard is it to change posted hours on the door. If they advertise a 5pm dinner then they should be open for dinner at 5. Saying that the staff wouldn’t think it “much of a loss” if someone isn’t patient enough to wait AN HOUR to eat is exactly the type of attitude of service in Portland restaurants that so many people are up in arms about in reviews, on blogs etc.

    Diabolical, here’s a scenario: answer this honestly: It’s a first date, you are bringing your date to the Gerding theater after an early dinner (show starts at 7pm). You walk by Clyde Common the day earlier and see the posted dinner times (5pm) and make a mental note to go there. Next day you meet at the restaurant and are told that you can’t eat dinner until 6pm. Your date is vegan and the only choices for him/her will not be available. Just because some people are laid back enough not to have an hour wait bother them doesn’t mean everyone should be.

    Also if you tried to open a restaurant where the staff “couldn’t care less” for your business if you weren’t prepared to wait an hour for the “pleasure/honor” of dining in their restaurant it wouldn’t be too many weeks before that restaurant would NEVER have a wait again.

  30. the diabolical says

    Well, ok. If i had somewhere to be at 7, i wouldnt stick around…but if i had the time, and i really wanted to eat at a place i had been interested to try out, then I would order a cocktail and maybe a snack if i was famished and i would hang out.
    ok, i guess what i meant (and to come clean, i cook there and have since they opened) about caring less, is if a person is stuffy enough to say that they will never be going back to a place because they havnt changed the hours on the door, and then to go home and write about that on a blog, well…I wll speak for myself and say i dont care if they ever come back. Thats me, in the kitchen shaking my head as they walk away in a self important huff….The staff as a whole dosnt feel that way…at least not openly. They are some awesome people, and i would say that there is NOT an air attitude about not caring for customers at all. to clarify: a cook in the kitchen couldnt care less, not the staff. There.
    Oh. Jason Barikowski has never berated staff in the open kitchen. That has become somewhat of a joke there, as he is very mild mannered…merely getting a cold gleam in his crazy eye when angered, truly angered…so if thats anyones reason for not coming in, i urge you to put that notion to rest and come eat. We’d love to have the extreme pleasure of serving you.

  31. embien says

    I’m almost sorry I started this. I guess diabolical has plenty of time and doesn’t have to be home to feed kids, cats, whatever, or isn’t meeting friends later or has a showtime to catch or a meeting with his insurance agent that night, so he can cool his heels for an hour with a gin and tonic and wait for the restaurant to open. I guess my wife and I just aren’t that type of people, and if that makes us not worthy of being Clyde Common patrons, so be it.

    I made the original post more as a warning to others who enjoy dining on the early side. Clyde Common isn’t your place. There are plenty of excellent restaurants that say they open at 5pm and actually start serving at that hour, and those restaurants will earn our patronage. We won’t be going back to Clyde Common, not because they didn’t put a notice in their window about their true service hours, but rather because we prefer to eat at 5pm, so we seek out restaurants that are open at that hour.

    We didn’t leave “in a huff”, we left hungry and ready for dinner.

  32. Papaki says

    I love Clyde Common, but I’m with you on this one too, Embien. By the way, here’s what CC’s web site says right now about their hours of operation …

    open hours:
    monday – thursday noon – midnight
    friday noon – 2 am
    saturday 5 pm – 2 am
    sunday 5 pm – 10 pm
    happy hour: monday – friday 3 pm – 6 pm

    Notice: Not a word about not serving dinner until 6 pm. (And it’s even easier to change a web site than a sign painted on a door.)

  33. Apollo says

    I did like Clyde Common the one time I went, but I have heard reports recently from people I trust that there are consistency issues with the food and service. Don’t know if any of you have experienced the same, but I want to go back to find out for myself.

    As far as the 5pm thing, I think there is an old country buffet that is open at 5… Seriously, 5pm dinner? Also, if they are serving food at five, I suppose they are open and you can eat there, even if it is just bar food. Just saying…

  34. Jill-O says

    Hey now, Apollo, what’s wrong with a 5pm dinner? I’ve been known to eat dinner on the early side and it is often a nicer experience with no wait for a table, a less crowded room, more attentive wait staff, and kitchen that is not crazed with orders. Not everyone eating before 7pm is a senior citizen looking for the early bird or a person with an inexperienced palate. And, alas, some of us are not as cool as others. ;o)

    I’ve had HH at Clyde Common and there is not much choice of things to eat on that menu, certainly none of the more interesting things on their dinner menu. I couldn’t stay later – I had to get home to let the dogs out and get them their dinner so I could not stay for a later meal. I had to settle on a mediocre burger (though the fries were really good, I’ll admit) along with a couple of HH drinks (also good). I was a bit disappointed and had no idea that the dinner menu was unavailable until HH was over. In fact, there is no sample HH menu posted on their website, so I didn’t even realize that the HH menu was so limited and uninteresting.

  35. pdxyogi says

    Apollo you sound like the “cooler than I” pretentious hipsters who come here from eastern OR/WA, remake themselves in 6 months into poseurs, and are taking over this dear town. Maybe you need to go back to Yakima where they will appreciate you and worship you as the true god you are. Just sayin.

    Monica graduated from Lewis & Clark, has not lived here in years, but comes back occasionally to visit friends.

  36. Apollo says

    Oops, hit post too fast.

    I just think 5:00 is pretty damn early for dinner. I also think complaining that a place won’t serve dinner at 5 (even though they were serving food) seems silly to me, no matter what the door says. 5:00… that’s happy hour time. I bet Applebees serves dinner at 5.

  37. Apollo says

    Oh, and Monica does now live in the Pearl. I have seen her coming and going from a certain building a number of times. I won’t say which one because that is creepy.

  38. pdxyogi says

    I wouldn’t be caught dead in Applebee’s or anything resembling that. On occasion I do desire something on the level of Le Pigeon/Park Kitchen/Wildwood downtown before going to a show. Good thing enough restaurateurs don’t think I’m asking for too much, as you clearly do.

    I didn’t say you must be from some hick place and have re-invented yourself as one of the hipsters at a place such as clarklewis who are too cool to serve me in a courteous professional manner. I said you remind me of such folk. It’s all in the charming attitude you impart to your lessers.

    I’m a native too.

    How could anyone possibly care which building Her Royal Vacuous Heftiness lives?

  39. mczlaw says

    Can we talk some more about Monica Lewinsky? I’m considering a new career as a stalker. Which building? Does someone really remember what she looks like?

    –mcz

  40. onetart says

    to themick:

    I think I’m in love. You may be as sick as myself.

    By the way, I’ve long coveted one of those “Bring Back Monica Lewinsky” bumper stickers.

  41. Apollo says

    Gotcha Food Dude. Back to the topic. So has anybody else heard about any kitchen inconsistencies at CC? I went back and the food was as good as the first time. But the people who had the sub-par food are greatly trusted. Anybody else?

  42. reflexblue says

    My theory about the Clyde Common happy hour: fancy popcorn and burgers to spice (if you will) up the floor with the young, pretty but maybe less affluent types (students, artists, malcontents).

    I don’t enjoy the happy hour menu that much but take pleasure in other’s happiness, especially as I sip a chilly vodka martini.

  43. pdxgump says

    My how quickly the Long Knives come out. It seems as though your obbsesion with the 1 hour grey area between lunch and dinner really says more about your mental stability than anything about Clyde. The sign says they are open at 5. You are speaking about a restaurant/bar that resides in a hotel. I imagine they are juggling a few things as they deal with the overwelming response they are getting. I bet they have corrected this “perseptual” oversight.

  44. onetart says

    We’ve been to CC nearly ten times now… it’s only gotten better, IMO, especially in the service department. We took friends last week and had a rockin’ meal. Desserts had improved dramatically over our last few visits. Most memorably, we ate a beef tongue and beet dish that was outrageously good. Oh, and they have a belgian blonde back on tap – Hoegardten (sp?)

  45. celeste malott says

    Fast forward one year – the service still stinks. We waited one hour to be seated at a table that had been empty the entire hour. The hostess was so flakey.

      • celeste malott says

        Date of dinner: Friday, November 9 2007 – around 7:30 pm. I felt like I was eating sonner in LA where it is routine to keep guests waiting. the best part of the meal was the bartender – who gave my daughter and husband a private scotch tasting.
        Personally I was very disappointed in the service and the noisy ambiance!

        Celeste Malott

  46. says

    Friday at 7:30 is probably the busiest time of the week for any restaurant, though I have no idea why a communal table would be open for an hour. As for the noise level in CC: I love the bustle, it’s part-and-parcel of the whole scene. That said, you can eat on the balcony, where it’s much quieter, and the tables are two-tops.

  47. Cuisine Bonne Femme says

    I love Clyde, I think it is one of my favorite restaurants in Portland. That said, I don’t think Clyde is geared towards everyone. For example, yes it is loud, can be a zoo on a Friday or Saturday during dinner rush hours (as most popular restaurants in Portland can be), and is just not everyone’s idea of ideal dining. (My parents for example, would hate it – Ten 01, 23 Hoyt or Paley’s is much more their cup of dining tea). That said, I have never experienced any service issues there. Not saying they haven’t or didn’t occur, but even during busy times have found the service on top of it and efficient, including the hostess. In addition, I find Clyde to definitely be the most European restaurant in Portland in menu and spirit. Reminds me of a bustling Brasserie in France or a popular taverna in Spain. Once again, not discounting the commenter’s experience, just saying my experiences have and continue to be vastly different than Celeste’s.

  48. Suds Sister says

    I go to Clyde a whole lot. Sometimes I sit at the bar, sometimes at a table. I usually have no trouble at all getting a seat at either.

    I don’t doubt your story at all, Celeste, I just think it’s an isolated incident.

    • celeste malott says

      Let see – although I live in LA- over the last year I have eaten at Le Pigeon, Clark Lewis, Simpatica, Lovely Hula Hands, Busy Corner, and Park Kitchen. I was very disappointed with Clyde Commons – sorry Friday nites are soo busy – but I definitely felt like I paid full price for third class service – thank goodness for the bartender (he was great). By the way – I sent an e-mail to the restaurant – after my frustrating experience – detailing my experience but never heard a word back. I guess they are just too busy!!

      Celeste

      P.S. would have loved to have been offered a seat anywhere – instead the three of us stood at the bar and waited and waited and waited.

  49. Papaki says

    Wait. Am I missing something here? On Nov. 9, 2007, you had to wait an hour for a seat at a restaurant, and today, more than seven months later, you’re STILL not over it?

  50. Nikos says

    I suggest you give Clyde Common another try, Celeste, when you are in town, you are missing some exceptional food, exceptionally prepared. We never had a bad experience at CC in terms of waiting. In general,whenever we see a long line or sense there are long waiting times, we go somewhere else. (The city is crawling with restaurants, I don’t understand why anyone would wait an hour, anywhere…)
    Also remember, “Tout comprendre, c’est tout pardonner”, to understand everything, is to forgive everything.

  51. says

    Very nice review. never been to Clyde Commons but heard many of my Portland friends singing its praises. I’m in Virginia but visiting soon and I will def try it out!!!!!

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