Tasty n Sons has become one of my favourite breakfast/brunch places in Portland ever since I tried it for the first time back in 2010. It is the sister restaurant to the famous Toro Bravo Restaurant, both of which are owned by Chef John Gorham. Tasty n Sons serves brunch fare daily until 2:30pm. The restaurant is actually open daily until 10 pm except Fridays and Saturdays when they open until 11pm. At 2:30pm, they switch from their brunch menu to their Happy Hour menu which lasts till 5pm. At 5pm, dinner service begins. If you’re having a late start to the day and still craving brunch items past 2:30pm or you want breakfast for dinner, you need not worry. They have select breakfast items on both the Happy Hour and Dinner menus. Most of the dishes at Tasty n Sons, like at Toro Bravo, are made for sharing though the portions are a manageable size for one person if you choose not to share. What I like most about Tasty n Sons is that menu consists of many unique, internationally-inspired brunch dishes in addition to the traditional American ones. I have yet to come across another restaurant that serves this style of brunch fare, which could be thought of as tapas for breakfast or even family-style dining for brunch. Many of the breakfast/brunch dishes actually originated from the Toro Bravo tapas menu. Chef-owner Gorham cleverly put a twist to them and transformed them into tasty breakfast fare.
On this recent visit to Tasty n Sons back in November, my friend C and I shared one of our favourites, the Moroccan Chicken Hash ($10). The hash was a mix of roasted vegetables such as squash, cauliflower, red and peppers, Brussel sprouts, green beans and potato chunks as well as briny green olives and shredded chicken pieces. The mixture is topped with a harissa cream and an over easy egg. The spicy harissa cream and runny yolk from the over easy egg help to provide a silky coating to the hash and meld all the flavours together. I loved the contrasting textures and flavours of the various ingredients and thought this was a very unique spin on traditional breakfast fare.
On this visit, we would have ordered our other favourite as well, the Polenta & Sausage Ragu, but they were sold out so we opted try the Open Faced Monte Cristo with spiced maple syrup ($6) instead. The open-faced Monte Cristo consisted of thick-cut toast topped with thinly sliced ham and melted cheese. The spiced maple syrup provided a nice salty-sweet contrast to the dish.
On our previous visit to Tasty n Sons earlier last year, we were with a few friends so we had the opportunity to try more dishes. One of my friends wanted to try the North African Sausage ($9). It was served with an over easy egg, couscous and cauliflower. This dish was flavourful and complex, especially with the spicy sausage which had cinnamon and coriander notes. This dish was like no other breakfast/brunch dish that I had before.
The second dish we ordered was the Polenta & Sausage Ragu ($8), which came topped with a slice of melted mozzarella and an over easy egg. This is the other favourite dish of mine at Tasty n Sons. Even though I’m normally not a polenta fan because of the texture, I really like how it is prepared at Tasty n Sons. I loved how the gooey, melted mozzarella and the runny egg yolk melded together with the creamy the polenta and savoury the Italian sausage ragu. Again, this was another unique dish I’ve rarely found on other breakfast/brunch menus.
For our third dish, we had the Shakshuka with Merguez sausage ($10 with Merguez sausage; $9 without Merguez sausage), which is a Middle Eastern-inspired red pepper and tomato stew spiced with cumin and chilies along with juicy merguez sausage and baked eggs. It was served with slices of griddled toast. I loved the complexity of flavours in the savoury stew. The buttered crispy slices of toast were the perfect vehicle for eating the stew as I used it to sop up the flavourful juices.
Lastly, we had the Moroccan Hash again. This dish has become a staple on each visit ever since I tried it for the first time. It was as good on this visit as before. I’m actually quite impressed at the consistency of the food at Tasty n Sons. We had ordered a few of the same dishes on multiple visits and they have tasted just as good as we remembered them to taste. For dessert, we had the Chocolate-Potato Doughnuts ($1.50 each). They were served in a pool of creme anglaise. The doughnuts actually resembled more like doughnut holes or Timbits as us Canucks like call them. To me, these doughnuts tasted ok but I didn’t think they were amazing. I definitely don’t think they are in the same league as Tom Douglas’ Famous Made-to-Order Donuts, which I tried from Dahlia Bakery in Seattle.
On my first very visit to Tasty n Sons, we had the Moroccan Chicken Hash and the Polenta & Sausage Ragu. It was then that we fell in love with these two dishes and have tried to order them on our subsequent visits if they are available.
We had also tried the Burmese Red Pork Stew ($9) during our first visit. The Burmese Red Pork Stew had sweet, tangy Asian flavours that reminded me of Teriyaki sauce, Bulgogi sauce and even honey glazed Chinese bbq pork (cha siu). The melt-in-your-mouth tender pork stew was served on a bed of short grain rice with eggs done two ways – hard-boiled and fried. The hard-boiled egg in this dish was unique in that it wasn’t just a plain hard-boiled egg that had been chopped up. The hard-boiled egg was actually first steeped in a soy-sauce and anise poaching liquid, which gave the egg a more unique flavour and added complexity to the dish. Overall, the dish was tasty but I didn’t think it had a wow factor because I didn’t think it was that unique. I’d experienced those flavours before in various Asian dishes and this dish actually reminds me of the Korean bibimbap.
I really like the decor and ambience at Tasty n Sons. It’s actually quite similar to the decor at Toro Bravo, with exposed piping, polished concrete floors, a bar overlooking the open kitchen, skylights for natural lighting, and contemporary art work. The decor is casual yet sophisticated and tasteful. They have certainly done a fabulous job transforming the space that was once a warehouse including incorporating the roll-up garage door which actually gets rolled up when the weather is nice to create a quasi-patio dining experience.
On this recent trip, I couldn’t help but notice the neighbourhood, where Tasty n Sons is located, has sure changed a lot since my first visit to Eat: An Oyster Bar, which is another one of the tenants down the same block, back in early 2009. At that time, Eat was one of the first tenants in an otherwise, near empty building. Now the block is bustling with traffic especially since the arrival of Tasty n Sons with its constant line-ups out the door during the peak dining hours.
Tasty n Sons
3808 N Williams, Suite C