Post image for Portland, Oregon – Tasty n Sons

Restaurant: Tasty n Sons
Cuisine: Breakfast/Brunch/American/Middle Eastern/African/Fusion/Eclectic
Last visited: August 19, 2011
Location: Portland, Oregon (Boise-Eliot)
Address: 3808 N Williams Ave
Price Range: $10-20 for breakfast/brunch, $20-30 for dinner

1Poor 2OK 3Good 4Very good 5Excellent 6Tres Excellent!!

Food: 4.5-5
Service: 3.5
Ambiance: 4
Overall: 4.5
Additional comments:

  • Since 2010
  • Locally owned
  • Known for brunch/breakfast
  • Local favourite/hot spot
  • Very highly talked about
  • Seasonal menus
  • Eclectic/creative menu
  • International flare
  • Fresh ingredients/home made
  • Award winning
  • Great for groups
  • Moderately priced
  • Lively/energetic atmosphere
  • Busy/line-ups
  • Cocktails/wine bar
  • Happy hour 2:30pm-5pm
  • Mon-Sun Brunch & Dinner 9am-10pm
  • Fri-Sat until 11pm

*Recommendations: For brunch/breakfast: anything with a biscuit and/or sausage, Griddled Bacon Wrapped Date, Chocolate Potato Doughnut. For dinner: Grilled Bacon Wrapped Date, Shakshuka, Venison Biscuit & Gravy, Pork Cutlet and Chocolate Potato Doughnut. I have confidence in the Polenta & N.Y. Italian Sausage but they forgot it :(.

Tasty n Sons is one of the hottest and most talked about restaurants in Portland, Oregon right now. Sister restaurant to the finely established and award winning Latin American tapas restaurant, Toro Bravo, this is its more casual counterpart popular for breakfast and brunch. Quickly gaining a strong reputation and now serving dinner, Tasty n Sons is effortlessly climbing its way to the top. With lots of buzz and anticipation traveling up to the foodie community in Vancouver, BC I was eager to check it out.

What started off as a breakfast and brunch joint has now expanded into a full on restaurant with a happy hour, wine bar, dinner menu and even an in house butcher shop in the back. It’s definitely a neighbourhood and local favourite and it’s one of the less obvious choices for tourists too.

I can’t help but to relate this back to a beloved restaurant in Vancouver, BC. For me this seemed like the Cafe Medina of Portland. It’s more relaxed and casual, but the food is just as eclectic and creative with Moroccan, Spanish and Middle Eastern influences. It’s American rather than French in technique and the execution and presentation is more home style and rustic. It showcases an international flare through their unique tapas menu featuring small and big plates for brunch and dinner.

The menu is seasonal and changes frequently. It’s heavily inspired by local ingredients and it has that “farm to table” or “100 mile diet” philosophy, but it’s done with an ode to Southern classics and comfort food. I wouldn’t say any of it is really “healthy” at all, but it sure is “tasty” just like the name suggests! Yes, for anyone who thinks “100 mile diet” means healthy, it doesn’t necessarily.

Tasty n Sons is still very Portland in style and not as “West Coast” as say something of its kind in Vancouver might be. I thoroughly enjoyed my dinner and as much as I rarely double up on a restaurant when I’m traveling, I’d certainly come back here to try more things. Since it’s more known for brunch, I’d probably check in for brunch over dinner, but the menus are different with a few popular cross overs.

On the table:

**Griddled Bacon Wrapped Dates5.5/6

  • With maple syrup & almond  $2 each
  • I make variations of these for potlucks sometimes and my first experience with them was at Firefly Tapas in Las Vegas, except those ones were stuffed with blue cheese so they were even better!
  • This is one bite of amazing! It’s a must try.
  • The dates are plump, soft and incredibly tender, and stuffed with a crunchy almond, and wrapped with a thick strip of salty bacon, which I wish had been crispy.
  • These just melt in your mouth with various textures and flavours and they’re saucy and moist and equally as sweet as they are savoury.
  • They’re super creamy, sweet from the Maple syrup (which is real maple syrup) and if I hadn’t had them stuffed with cheese before they’d be a solid 6/6.

Radicchio3.5/6

  • With parmesan reggiano vinaigrette* $7
  • This is a favourite and it came highly recommended.
  • It was good and very flavourful and it was presented in a huge bowl for you to toss yourself.
  • As good as it was I didn’t think it was one of the best salads ever (as some say) or anything particularly special for that matter.
  • It was very simple and basic, but the ingredients were very fresh and it was great value.
  • The radicchio had a nice bitterness that wasn’t overwhelming and it was balanced with salty bites of chopped salty green olives. There were some crunchy croutons in there as well.
  • It was very well coated with dressing, but not wet and I’d say it was similar to a Caesar salad dressing, but less salty, and not as rich or cheesy.
  • The dressing was creamy and I think it was a home made lemon aioli dressing. It was a bit mayo like, but also slightly cheesy and salty from the Parmesan.
  • It was a light salad and I just wanted some nuts or a couple more ingredients. Something sweet like grapes would have been nice.
  • Without the olives giving it fruity and salty bites I think it could have been a bit boring and repetitive especially with such a big portion.

**Venison Biscuit & Gravy5.5/6

  • With field greens $14
  • This is the best seller and must try item. It tasted as good as it looked!
  • The biscuits I’d say are famous here and it’s what people order for breakfast and brunch too.
  • This was very rich and hearty and it’s comfort food at its best. Paula Deen or Triple D would have been proud!
  • This was biscuit, cheese and gravy taken to the next level.
  • The biscuit was the highlight. It was incredibly flaky, tender and moist with a very crispy exterior.
  • They were incredibly buttery and nicely salted, but I couldn’t taste any or much cheese and I think there was supposed to be some in it. It’s possibly the best biscuit I’ve ever had.
  • I actually preferred it to the famous Pine State Biscuits, although those were more authentic. These are more gourmet.
  • The gravy was rich, creamy and cheesy and almost a bit too salty, but I didn’t care because it was so delicious.
  • The cheesy gravy was similar to Velveeta with perhaps some melted cheddar cheese.
  • The only thing I wasn’t keen on was the venison meatballs which I found to be quite chewy and dry at times and I would have swapped it for beef brisket or even just a shredded chicken confit or something to that degree.

**Shakshuka5/6

  • Red pepper & tomato stew, with baked eggs $9 Add Merguez sausage $10
  • Of course I added the Merguez sausage! They’re made in house.
  • This is another popular breakfast item that’s offered on their dinner menu so I had to try it!
  • Shakshuka is an Egyptian, Moroccan or Jewish dish.
  • It’s known as Jewish peasant food, or “cooked salad”, but this was done gourmet. It was delicious!
  • This would be a pretty hearty breakfast, but not heavy, and I wouldn’t object to it for brunch or dinner.
  • It was a very Spanish and Mediterranean style dish and there was a ton of flavour and it wasn’t as rich as it may look.
  • There were large chunks of spicy red Merguez sausage (a North African sausage) made with coarsely ground lamb and perhaps beef.
  • The sausage was made with a great ratio of fat and lean meat which was roughly ground and crumbled so they were incredibly meaty sausages.
  • It wasn’t very gamey (even for people sensitive to game) and it wasn’t like a Persian or Indian minced lamb kebab, but more like an Italian style sausage.
  • The meat had a crispy charred exterior which dried out at times, but the inside was very moist and it had a nice heat and spice.
  • I wouldn’t call this particularly a spicy dish. It was a mild spicy, and traditional Merguez would carry more heat.

  • It was a stew of noticeably fresh vegetables (seemed like they were picked that morning) that were incredibly soft and creamy and they just melted in your mouth.
  • It was bursting with plump, juicy and very well roasted whole tomatoes for acidity and balanced with stringy sweet peppers, pimentos and caramelized onions.
  • Almost all the seeds were removed from the peppers so it wasn’t spicy, but sweet and a bit smoky from the roasting and some added cumin.
  • The onions are not traditional to Jewish Shakshuka, but this version was a bit fusion.
  • The very softly baked eggs just topped everything off! Just like they always do!
  • They were silky smooth and the yolk was incredibly runny and it just gave the tomato sauce a bit of richness and creaminess.
  • It wasn’t greasy, but just incredibly saucy and almost soupy, but not watery which is key to a great Shakshuka. At times it reminded me of ratatouille.
  • It wasn’t too tangy or sweet, but just savoury with aspects of tanginess from the tomatoes and sweetness from the peppers.
  • Pita would be more traditional, but I actually liked the super soft and fluffy toasted sourdough bread better. It was the perfect sponge to soak up all the wonderful flavours of the dish.
  • Some added chick peas or eggplant would be my own little fusion twist if I were to remake this at home, which I might.

**Pork Cutlet5/6

  • With spaetzle & sunny side up egg $14
  • This was delicious and unexpected! It wasn’t on my list until I saw someone else order it.
  • It was another rich and hearty comfort food dish with gourmet twists.
  • The way the fork melted into this pork cutlet just showed how incredibly tender it was. It required no knife.
  • Some people may like their pork cutlet more like a steak, but this one was almost like pulled pork made into a schnitzel.
  • The pork was pounded thin and lightly battered and deep fried. The batter slipped off, but parts of it were crispy and some a bit soft.
  • The pork was just so tender, incredibly moist, and almost creamy, and full of savoury flavour.
  • It was almost like steak and eggs, and the fried egg with a runny yolk was the perfect gravy for the pork and the spaetzle (egg noodles).
  • Underneath was a spaetzle and cheese, which was basically a mac and cheese, and it was ultra rich, creamy and very stringy.
  • The spaetzle and cheese was richer and saltier and much cheesier than the biscuit gravy sauce. I didn’t think it was possible to get richer than that sauce.
  • This reminded me of cheesy corn, or mac and cheese in the South, and it was sharp with aged cheddar cheese and also a bit tangy from perhaps some added lemon.
  • The spaetzle was quite soft, but it was more like a typical pasta noodle and I prefer my spaetzle a bit more traditional and doughy.
  • The whole thing worked, but I think I would have preferred a Dijon mustard based sauce for the spaetzle just because the dish felt a bit “typical” sometimes and I wanted more of a kick.

Chicken Fried Duck2/6

  • With potato salad & apricot chutney $16
  • This was the only item that was disappointing.
  • It wasn’t on my initial list for what to order, but I ended up swapping the Linguini with Ragu and Marscapone for it.
  • The Linguini was recommended, this one was not, but “Chicken Fried Duck” sounded to tempting to not try.
  • There was hardly any meat and it was very heavily battered and deep fried and most of it seemed like deep fried batter or skin.
  • The meat was very dry and the whole thing was just overcooked, but part of me thinks it might have been intentional. Even if it was, the meat shouldn’t have been as dry as it was.
  • It was fried to a crunch, not a crisp, but a full on crunch… like use the back of your teeth to chew it crunch.
  • It’s certainly the crunchiest deep fried anything I’ve ever had and it had a slightly bitter burnt flavour from the intense charring.
  • It was also very salty with a heavy dry rub and the duck meat was cured as well which made the whole thing extra salty and dry.

  • The apricot chutney, which was basically a cooked fruit salsa with onions and red bell peppers, was the saving grace.
  • It really took the salty edge off the duck and gave it a nice tangy sweetness and moisture. The apricots were ripe and sweet as peaches which I loved.
  • The potato salad was quite regular, thick and chunky with some celery and there wasn’t anything that memorable about it.

**Polenta & NY Italian Sausagen/a

  • With onions, peppers & parmesan reggiano $14
  • I am going to strongly recommend this even though I didn’t try it.
  • It’s one of their signature dishes and I actually did order it, but I didn’t realized I didn’t get it until re-reading the menu now. I’m so upset! I think we paid for it too… boo.
  • Being that the sausages are made on site at their butcher shop and that the Merguez sausage was solid, I have confidence in this as being a potential hit!

Desserts

Warm Chocolate Chip Cookies4/6

  • Baked to order, with vanilla ice cream $5
  • It pretty much was what it was, which is pretty damn good, but it is something you could make at home.
  • The cookies were made with good quality bittersweet dark chocolate chips and they weren’t too sweet. They were less sweet than most grocery store brands.
  • The cookies were crispy around the edges and incredibly soft, moist and tender in the middle.
  • They were half baked and they weren’t cakey and chewy, but just very soft and tender and melted in your mouth. I kind of like my cookies a bit chewy.
  • The ice cream was nice and hard, and it’s good quality ice cream, but no vanilla bean seeds.
  • This could have been better as a pizookie with the cookies coming out in cast iron pans straight from the oven with ice cream on top.

Auntie Paula’s French Toast Sundae - 4/6

  • With bananas, caramel & nuts $8
  • This was also very good and a popular item for breakfast, but it was still something I’ve had before or could make at home.
  • I was expecting an actual layered sundae in a sundae glass.
  • They could have done so much more with this, but it was just what the description suggested.
  • The French toast was made with thick bread and it was fluffy and soft, but it wasn’t that eggy, heavily soaked, or that moist.
  • It wasn’t as sweet as Asian style bakery sweet breads and the bread wasn’t really sweet at all.
  • It was very lightly battered and there’s no apparent cinnamon, vanilla or additional spices in the flavouring.
  • The bananas were just raw in their natural state. I thought they would be warm, creamy and caramelized or maybe stuffed in the French toast, which would be amazing – similar to the Apple Pie Stuffed French Toast from Be ‘wiched Cafe in Vancouver, BC.
  • The walnuts were coated in a nice buttery caramel that wasn’t sticky and there were a decent amount of them too.
  • The caramel and ice cream was the only thing making it a sweet dessert, but otherwise it was a very light French toast.
  • Again the ice cream is nice and hard and very good here. I kind of grew up eating ice cream on toast as a treat, so that wasn’t a new combination for me.

**Chocolate Potato Doughnut5.5/6

  • With crème anglaise $1.50 each
  • This was the most unique of all the desserts and it’s partly why it was my favourite. You can’t find it anywhere else!
  • It wasn’t like beignets, or a Tim Horton’s Timbit, or mini carnival doughnuts, this was in a category of its own.
  • The potato flour made it an ultra light and super fluffy doughnut and your teeth just sink right into it.
  • They’re surprisingly not that sweet at all and the chocolate is very mild, but good quality.
  • I think it’s just cocoa powder so they’re very chocolaty and indulgent and just easy to eat.

  • It was almost like a fluffy whipped mashed potato made into a doughnut, but it’s very airy and creamy and it almost seems flourless (but I’m quite sure there was potato flour used).
  • The only sweetness was from the coating of cinnamon and brown sugar it was rolled in and also the creme anglaise, which was a bit thin and lacked vanilla bean seeds.
  • I found the doughnuts even better with the vanilla ice cream and that’s how I ate mine! It was good without the ice cream too though.
  • I know they are different, but just looking at it as a doughnut, I prefer these ones to the famous Voodoo Doughnut.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Linda August 31, 2011 at 11:22 am

holy cow!!! why is this place so cheap?! for what you get on the plate, i think this place is amazing! i mean, $14 for venison, a biscuit and gravy?! and the shakshuka for only $10!? wow, if this place was in vancouver, i’d come here all the time.. ALL THE TIME!

those bacon wrapped dates look amazing! i almost thought they were silk worms when i first saw the pic lol

the fried duck looks almost burnt – i had a feeling itd be dry since duck meat itself isn’t very moist and then you add the deep frying and boom, moisture gone! isn’t chicken fried anything supposed to be pounded down into a boneless patty? haha i thought the potato salad was overcooked scrambled eggs lol

the desserts look delicious! :)

2 Isabel August 31, 2011 at 5:09 pm

Did you make it to Toro Bravo too? When I was there (same weekend as you!) we went to toro bravo for dinner, and then tasty and sons for brekkie the day after. total food coma after, I tell ya!

P.S. Toro bravo is AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! if you haven’t gone, go back, try it. i’d say one of the top 5 most memorable dining experiences I’ve had.

3 May August 31, 2011 at 5:54 pm

Oh god you’re making me drool. Now you’re going to have to recommend a substitute for me in Vancouver. Where can i get a good fried chicken and biscuit here? (both don’t have to be in the same place)

4 Mijune September 1, 2011 at 2:41 am

@Linda – lol the portions are small though. They photographed a bit bigger. It still wasn’t too bad though… $25/person ish is definitely possible! :) Yeah fried duck was just too fried… not sure if it was intended. Desserts were YUM! you need to try this place Linda!

@Isabel- I missed Toro!!! No time!! but TOP 5?!?! that’s bold! Okay now I havta try it!! Thanks Isabel!

@May – I know!! I have not found good biscuits yet and the CLOSEST things we have to decent ones is at Burgoo… but still not like the States. I’ll keep searching! Fried chicken I hear ReFuel’s is solid, but I haven’t tried it yet. It’s a pricey one. Boonies use to do a great honey fried chicken, but they closed!! I’m going to keep looking. Vancouver is too “healthy” for this stuff!

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