Review: Tasty n Sons


[updates 4.11 - prices, pictures, content]

“Pretty Damn Good Chicken Strips”

Owned by John Gorham of Toro Bravo, Tasty & Sons is in the old Anju/Nutshell space on north Williams. A group of us dropped to give it a try. The restaurant space has changed quite a bit. The back third of the room is now partitioned off, making it more manageable, and less cavernous. The skylights are restored allowing light to stream into the room. A large kitchen with an equally long chef’s counter takes up most of the north side, tables are on the south. Overall, the changes are a big improvement to the challenging layout.

 

One thing to keep in mind: the food is generally served “family-style”, not unlike TB. Most of it is designed to be split, and items don’t necessarily come out at the same time. However, if you want to keep everything for yourself, they will do their best to accommodate you. Waits for a few dishes like the steak and eggs, are a bit too long.

Breakfast Board

Owner John Gorham is known for putting a creative spin on things and it shows here, with a Spanish twist on many dishes. Some of them are a rethinking of favorite items from the Toro Bravo (TB) menu. For example, you can order dates at either restaurant. At TB, they come with a drizzle of warm honey; at Tasty the griddled bacon-wrapped dates come with a light shower of warm maple syrup ($2 ea). Another variation is one of my favorite dishes at TB – the spicy north African sausages. Here they are laid over a bed of couscous which is loaded with little bits of dried fruit,  and cauliflower. The over-easy egg draped on top, runs over everything, pulling it all together ($9).

One of the first items that caught my eye on my first visit was “the breakfast board”.  The selection was larger than I expected; easy to split. The items on the board rotate, but it often includes a halved hard-boiled egg, beets, plump dates, small strips of bacon, a wonderful creamy pâté, crostini, lots of soft bread, homemade lebneh cheese, and seasonal berries ($7).

“Auntie Paula’s” French toast, currently with strawberry-maple and thick whipped cream, won me over on the first bite. The bread is thick and soft, not soggy/oily, just perfect; probably the best I’ve had in Portland. The accompanying sauce was a finer consistency than I expected, and much more subtle – not overly sweet. Absent the de rigueur dusting of powdered sugar, none of the components are overwhelmed. The topping varies depending on what is in season ($5/$10).

The toast & jam is wonderful. Thick soft bread, teleme cheese (a California cheese, somewhat like brie in texture), and a smear of jam pair nicely as a side to any of the larger plates. Another terrific pairing are Erin’s sweet biscuits with warm berry compote. Slightly sweet, flaky – a must have breakfast selection ($6). We also tried the golf-ball shaped homemade chocolate-potato donuts – now one to a plate. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but they were quite light, slightly sweet, and had tiny chunks of potato in the dough. An accompanying crème anglaise adds moisture ($1.50).

Pork Cutlets

Pork cutlets with a fried egg come on a bed of cooked spinach. They are, in a word, wonderful!  Lightly breaded and moist, loaded with flavor from the crust, they pick up a hint of lemon from the greens. I’ve never had breakfast cutlets like this. For the price, they make a nice breakfast ($10)

You can get a fried egg and cheddar biscuit with your choice of chicken or sausage. The biscuit is flaky and light, contrasting with crispy moist chicken. The egg is delicately draped over the top. It’s a fairly large sandwich, but because of its makeup, a bit hard to split ($8).

The  cast-iron frittata with roasted cauliflower, olives and caramelized onion and Parmesan is wonderful, the piquant olives giving an unexpected flavor against the slightly crispy cauliflower ($7). On another day, I ordered grilled asparagus with double-smoked bacon and over-easy eggs. The asparagus still had a slight resistance to the tooth and tasted of spring. A slight smoky flavor from the bacon went nicely with the vegetable. The eggs ran over everything making a lovely sauce ($8). A traditional North African dish called shakshuka, two baked eggs over a sauce of tomatoes, peppers, onions and spices is about as authentic as it gets. The dish comes with two pieces of crisp bread, which makes it easy to push the sauce around ($10). There is always some sort of hash on the menu, most recently the main ingredient was trout , before that Morocan chicken with spicy crème fraîche & over-easy egg. No matter what they use for the meat it’s always terrific. When the yolk breaks, the egg runs down and mixes with everything making a nice sauce ($10).

The Tasty N Sons burger doesn’t have the Romesco of theToro Bravo version, but is very good. You have a choice of blue cheese or Beechers cheddar. It’s the kind of burger your dad might have made when you were a kid – but better. Juicy and smoky, It’s dressed simply with terrific pickles, onions, and wonderful bacon crisscrossing the meat. All but one time it has come out cooked exactly as I ordered. My only complaint is that sometimes it is way too salty – I imagine a lot of that comes from the bacon ($9). During the evenings the Toro Burger is also available with bacon, manchego and Romesco. It’s my favorite of the two ($9).

Another evening/happy-hour dish is the chicken strips – the best I’ve ever had. The strips are moist and tender, lightly breaded, piping hot with great flavor and are not greasy. The arrive draped across a decent amount of fries which are just fine, and a good dipping sauce. I get them every time I go to happy hour ($9).

Tasty n Sons Burger

For those who need greens to counteract the heavier dishes, there are a few choices, including a radicchio salad with croutons and Parmigiano Reggiano and vinaigrette ($7).

Tasty & Sons has a full liquor license, so a list of “breakfast cocktails” is available, including at least four versions of bloody Mary’s; most of which are an interesting departure from the norm. Two examples, the dimsomore: Monopolowa vodka, tomato, hoisin, lime, sriracha, ginger ($8), and the Tasty Mary: Monopolowa vodka, tomato, Worcestershire, horse-radish, lemon, sriracha, celery and house pickles with a salted rim ($8). I love them – balanced, spicy, and just enough booze to spend the an hour napping when you get home. One draft and four bottled beers are available, perfect with a burger on a nice afternoon.

Finally, service is excellent – attentive and knowledgeable; they make you feel welcome and cared for.

Overall, Tasty & Sons has an interesting menu, quality food, and is one of my favorite restaurants in Portland. Try an assortment of dishes and share with a few friends. It will be a memorable meal.

Grade:

  • Food: A-
  • Atmosphere: B
  • Service: A-
  • Address: 3808 N Williams, Portland 97227  Map
  • Phone: 503.621.1400
  • Hours: daily for brunch and dinner: 9am to 10pm, Fri & Sat till 11pm
  • Happy Hour: 2:30pm – 5:30pm. See the website for details.
  • Website: TastyNSons.com

Tasty and Sons on Urbanspoon

Your thoughts are welcome

  1. John says

    Stop it! Don’t write about this place! Don’t talk about it! Ssshhhh. It’s terrible! Stay away! Just say no to lines in my neighborhood!

    I’ve already been twice, front of house is amazing for a place open three effing days, perfect both days. Absolutely delicious fries and Carolina cheesesteak. Now stay away. Thank you.

    • Food Dude says

      Sorry ;) I thought about waiting until next week to post this, so I could go a second time.
      I actually didn’t like the fries. The one time I tried them, they were a bit overcooked. Of course these things happen, especially in a new restaurant.

  2. Peter says

    tried it this week as well. I went 2 times. Not that good. Certainly not as good as you describe here dude (funny you reviewed Bravo just before this). It was an oily mess with a side of fat. Considering that, they are really new and will improve.

  3. Christine says

    Ate there yesterday and I thought it was fantastic. The family style breakfast might cause some folks some angst, as it’s unusual for a breakfast. Watching my husband eating his egg and biscuit but not too fast so that he wouldn’t finish it by the time I got my omlette 5 or 6 minutes later was strange. Then I realized that we should have treated it more like Toro Bravo and ordered things we wanted to share, of course, and be glad they came out one at a time so that we had a chance to concentrate on each of them! Next time will order things that are easier to share. We had the griddled dates, as they are one of my favorites at TB. Lovely of course! I had a great omlette with boudin blanc (white house-made sausage), asparagus, and dijon. M’s biscuit was delicious,large enough to accommodate the fillings, and flaky. His house-made sausage patty was fresh tasting and well flavored. The OJ was delicious. It’s beautiful in there – they did a great job with the space, to be sure.

  4. aps says

    loved the burger, done perfectly as i requested. i liked the fries not being all the same size…some crisp, some soft. the aoili dip was wonderfully garlicy.the service was friendly & attentive. love the space. i enjoyed the way they serve the water.plus, john’s slender self looks terrific.

  5. says

    I really liked the frittata: who would have thought eggs, cauliflower, olives and a bunch of other stuff I don’t remember would taste so good? Loved.
    I, too, was a little confused about the dishes being not brought out together, in order that they may be shared; it’s unusual at breakfast, when some folks don’t even want to talk to each other yet, no less share food. But I think it can work, and I bet one can ask that all the dishes be brought together.
    Also, while I can’t drink early in the day, the Bloodies menu is phenomenally tempting. Good work!

    • wine&dine says

      Have been there 2x’s and am happy there is a new place for bkf. Go now before the lines make it an impossibility!
      The burger was delightfully juicy, cooked perfectly pink, and those pickles add
      a whole other dimension. The bun was toasted but soft outside. The fries were much better this time.
      Cooked to crispiness, almost like potatoes chips but better. First day they were soggy, happy to see that remedied.

      Loved the pork cutlet, breakfast board, french toast. Chocolate chip cookies with ice cream good although really wanted the Ristretto Coffee Panna Cotta. Next time, like next week!

      Our table enjoyed sharing and we enjoyed being able to sample everything. I know people who just don’t like to share. Maybe there will be adjustments. If you are on a lunch ‘crunch’ time it could be a problem.

      The space is comfortable. Calming actually, not overdone. Love having a counter choice for eating solo and being
      entertained at the same time.

  6. Jim says

    Ate there yesterday so I think they’re open again on Sundays.

    Everything was absolutely delicious. Particularly liked the pork hash and the french toast. The wait was a good 4 minutes but with the coffee and a sunny morning it sped along quickly. We’ll be back for sure.

  7. Jenni says

    I’ve been twice with a third visit coming tomorrow (and finally one with cocktail potential!). I’m pleased, ever more so that it’s four blocks from my house and got on its feet so quickly (though a less-than-stellar first health inspection surprised me given the seasoned team).

    I am totally enamored with the North African sausage (also my go-to at TB), and a close (and surprising) second is the Cobb salad, which was replete with chicken, smoky strips of bacon, and chunky avocado — and not overly dressed, a huge plus for me. Oh, and the biscuits are heavenly.

    I’m with FD on the chocolate-potato doughnuts — interesting, but no need to go there again. I was unimpressed withe the shakshuka, which seemed overly tomato-y and not quite pepper-y enough, but I’ll give it another shot, as I believe I *should* like it.

    Thanks, Tasty! You’re my new best friend.

  8. sarah says

    I’ve been so excited for another John Gorham adventure. Of course I would start a vegan cleanse the month it opens. It’s on my birthday to do list for May. Thanks for the review to tide me over. Can’t wait.

  9. John and Sandra Rickert says

    My husband and I had the pleasure of enjoying our son and an evening at Tasty’s, all the way from Missouri. The food was wonderful, even the duck livers. Want to convey our thanks for helping make our evening out so interesting (food) in a cozy atmosphere. Also, thank you to your customers who donated money for Joplin tornado relief, it was delivered recently to a worthy grandmother. Again, thank you.

  10. Linda says

    We had the supreme chicken soup and it was pretty good. I was expecting more from it though. We didn’t finish it. The yellow potatoes were good enough though we left this ginormous pile of cream on the plate… wow! They put way too much, I would have liked more potato and less sour cream. We also had the pretty damn good chicken strips that are served over fries. Those were good, too. I wasn’t really as impressed as I should have been for the money. But I had a great time. I didn’t like how close you have to sit to the people next to you. It was sort of uncomfortable. If I wasn’t drinking, I don’t think I could have relaxed. The restaurant looks huge so I don’t see why they don’t make the tables a little farther apart. The menu looked great though. I feel like I could have closed my eyes and picked anything and ended up with something interesting. The two cocktails I had got me pretty sauced up but I am not a big drinker!

  11. Linda says

    Oh and our server made a point to tell us that everything doesn’t come at once but it did! We were stuck with all three dishes crammed on our tiny table all at once. It all got cold while we were trying to eat it.

  12. Dan Hammack says

    40 minute wait for a $11 omelet served ala carte. Not worth the price or the wait. Their chocolate potato doughnut is a doughnut hole, they make tiny biscuits for their venison gravy and biscuits. A recurring theme here, tiny portions, big prices.

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