Friday, January 2, 2015
Grain and Gristle Brings it with Brunch
Last weekend, we welcomed our cousins, Vicky and Eric to our new home and together, they helped us to continue to eat our way through Portland. Starting with brunch at Grain and Gristle, we powered up before taking them on a light hike in Washington Park.
Very much a laid back neighborhood joint, Grain and Gristle is fast becoming one of our favorites. Dan and I have been there before for a casual dinner, during which they offered a 2-for-1 food special that left us wanting to try more. The brunch is also supposed to be great, and since there was no wait, we thought why not.
Resembling a neighborhood tavern, Grain and Gristle sports a very simple, natural look with lots of rustic wood furnishings and local art on the walls. My favorite aspect of the decor is the roughly finished wooden bar, which looks like something that came out of an artisan's workshop. In terms of the clientele, you'll find lots of locals and regulars in small groups of two or four, mostly. You can also just pop in and eat at the bar, which some folks do.
Although the brunch menu remains on the simple side, it boasts all the classics and some interesting surprises as well. One thing's for sure, which is that great quality ingredients are always used so no matter how basic the dish is, the outcome is usually excellent.
Chilaquiles - One of my favorite brunch dishes, I was happy to see this one on the menu. Grain and Gristle's rendition was totally different than what I'm used to making, as the tortillas were enveloped in a crimson escabeche sauce and then topped with delicious scrambled eggs and pickled veggies. I loved the crispy/tender juxtaposition of the tortilla chips and eggs and how well seasoned everything was. Requesting the crema and the queso fresco on the side, it was nice to dip into but almost didn't even need anything extra.
Other dishes - Dan and my cousins ordered other brunch items such as the Eggs Benedict (pictured above), which seemed to be a hit with Eric and the Steak and Hash. The latter was reported to be good but a little heavy on the potatoes and light on the steak, as Dan noted.
Coffee - I must also call out the cup o Joe I had here because it was fantastic. Supplied by Extracto Coffee Roasters, it was perfectly potent, flavorful and just the right thing to have on a Sunday morning. It must also be noted that the refills are free, so you get great value.
Service and Cost:
The service here proved to be competent and all around quick. We felt well taken care of and our coffee, various drinks and food arrived in good time. Our waitress offered an honest opinion of the food and proved to be really good at her job without being too effusive.
Costs are average and set us back around $30 per couple, including tip.
Grain and Gristle - 1473 NE Prescott Street, Portland OR 97211