I’ve just completed the John Gorham trifecta. After my recent brunch at Tasty n Alder, I’ve hit all three of his uber popular restaurants: Toro Bravo, Tasty n Sons, Tasty n Alder. Toro Bravo is hands down, my favorite restaurant in Portland. I’ve been there half a dozen times, and it’s always excellent. Perhaps I’m just a sucker for the tapas style meal but I always leave feeling like I had a great time AND wonderful food. Tasty n Sons, we’ve tried for dinner and brunch, the food is equally good, but the atmosphere just doesn’t have the same warm feeling as Toro.
But today we’re talking about Tasty n Alder. This is a relatively new restaurant in the “West End” district of downtown. This is the area south of Burnside, roughly between Powell’s Books and the 405 freeway. In this area you’ll also find Lardo, Ruby Jewel, Blue Star Donuts, Canoe, Kenny & Zukes and the Ace Hotel to name a few. So Tasty n Alder fits right in.
I stopped in for a Friday morning brunch with my best friend, Emmi. They had coffee ready for me as I waited for Emmi to arrive, and we were seated as soon as she walked in just a couple minutes later. I’m sure this would not have been the case on the weekend. I ordered a chocolate donut right away. I’d had one before at Tasty N Son’s where I declared it “one of the best donuts I’d ever eaten”. I feel the same way after my second one. Each of us also ordered a Bloody Mary. (Yes, on a work day. Shhh don’t tell my boss.) It was delicious, but I wasn’t crazy about the garnish. It wasn’t crunchy enough for me.
For our meals: Emmi chose The Whole Toad, which is a baked egg bread pudding. It came with a little salad and some bread, but we only made it through the eggs. I ordered the Tasty Steak & Cheddar Eggs, which is served in a skillet on top of a cornmeal pancake that was to die for. It was sweet and savory at the same time, soaking up the juices from the eggs and steak on top. I really recommend this if you go. I’m not normally a steak and eggs kind of girl, but I’m so glad I branched out to try this.
When comparing the food to Tasty N Sons, I’d say it’s about equal, but I like the atmosphere of Tasty N Alder better. Lots of light is good for breakfast, especially in the winter. For me, Toro Bravo is still the best of the three restaurants, but comparing dinner to breakfast is apples and oranges. Bottom line, go to any of John Gorham’s restaurants. None will disappoint.