I heard great things about John Gorham’s ‘Tasty n Alder’ restaurant when I was researching my Portland, Oregon trip. I was eager to try it out as it was just down the road from my hotel, the Mark Spencer.
Tasty n Alder sits pretty besides it sister restaurants, Toro Bravo and Tasty n Sons. I picked Tasty n Alder mainly for its relaxed vibe and foodie options. Plus being a girl travelling on my own, I thought it would be a great fit to have a nice meal and still have time to do something after. Three hours later…
My dinner reservation was for 7 p.m. and I was greeted with a full restaurant on a Thursday night. People were eating, having drinks and having a laugh. Perfect, I could slide into a side booth and have a quiet meal. But I ended up being sat beside a sweet couple who had driven over an hour and half to have a meal at Tasty n Alder. They stated their dog was waiting for them in the car. It was the sweetest thing. I was eager to hear more – why ‘Tasty n Alder’?
They proceeded to tell me ‘what was good’ on the menu and why they kept coming back to Tasty n Alder. For them it was all about the tasty food, reasonable prices and a feeling like their service was always appreciated. Wow! For a couple that said, ‘they don’t eat out’ a lot. They had firm ideas on what they liked and didn’t like on the menu. That said, there wasn’t much they didn’t like on the menu.
With their suggestions in hand, I placed my order.
Grilled Spanish Octopus
The Grilled Spanish Octopus was beautifully prepared. It was cooked just enough that upon biting into it, it was tender to the palate. No rubbery texture. Just supreme. I noticed I kept staring at it like it was a painting in a gallery on my plate. I appreciated the minimal dressing and sautéed garlic. The garlic brought out the flavours of the octopus and took it to another level. Simple. Gorgeous. I could have had 7 plates of the Grilled Spanish Octopus and called it a night.
Saigon Brussels Sprouts
I’m not a huge fan of Saigon Brussels Sprouts but these prepared by the Tasty n Alder crew were robust and had a kick to them. In terms of portion size – the plate was full. It could have been easily shared between three people. Even after I had finished my Grilled Spanish Octopus and was heading onto my main, I was being distracted by the juiciness of the brussel sprouts. It just kept on giving and giving.
Rawhide- bourbon, salted bonal honey, genepy, lemon, boker’s bitters
The Rawhide will take you out. I’m not kidding. It is a powerful liquid potion guaranteed to make you smile. I adored the bourbon and mix of the salted bonal honey and lemon. It punctuated the flavour of the drink. Tasty n Alder are employing the best Mixologists behind that bar of theirs. This drink was the recommendation of my waitress who it seemed everything she gently suggested was bang on. It always helps to pick the brain of good wait staff. Thanks Kristen and Manager Katie! They know what will make for a fine dining experience time and time again.
Improved Whiskey Cocktail- rye, maraschino, bokers bitters, herbsaint, demarrera
I sipped the Improved Whiskey Cocktail during the course of my entrée. It was also very tasty and married well with my meal. I liked the mix of the sweet and sour. It made for a nice end note as I transitioned between my starter and entrée. But again, it will take you out.
Seared Scallops with mint pesto
I encourage you to order the Seared Scallops with mint pesto the next time you are at Tasty n Alder. The scallops were larger than a Silver Dollar coin. Plump. Full of intent. They require time to dwell upon and pay homage to. They were thick and juicy. Cutting it gently into quarters was only kind. I enjoyed the mint pesto sauce as well. It was fresh and aromatic. I felt like I could have been eating this dish sat on the side of a cove because it was so alive. A true gem.
Steakhouse Brownie with vanilla ice cream & cajeta artisan goat caramel
I was craving a decadent dessert and opted for the Steakhouse Brownie with vanilla ice cream & cajeta artisan goat caramel. The brownie was royal and Beyonce epic. It was made from scratch and had the layers of flakiness to prove it. It was pure chocolaty joy. The vanilla ice cream & cajeta artisan goat caramel pulled the warm, cool and sweet flavours into a dance. Even though I had already eaten an appetizer and main, this dessert was the perfect end. I could have easily taken the Steakhouse Brownie with vanilla ice cream & cajeta artisan goat caramel home with me and gotten into bed with it with a book and a big spoon. It was all romance.
In terms of pricing at Tasty n Alder plates will cost you the following: Smaller plates, $5-$15; meats, $12-$30; larger plates, $14-$19; desserts, $6-$7. Indeed very affordable. For the food quality and quantity you are leaving with not only your belly full but your senses opened to possibly trying out more dishes the next time you are at Tasty n Alder and whispering your good times to friends and family so they can join you next week.
If you find yourself travelling and want to feel like you are in a cool, family friendly with a dash of hipster resto – Tasty n Alder is for you. The wait staff was great and left a lot of room for recommendations without the hustle to sell. I appreciated their authenticity and genuine approach. I also appreciated that the staff gently checked in on my progress without pushing me out the door. Like a true family establishment they encouraged me to stay, keep enjoying and just take my time.
Lastly, the space at Tasty n Alder was warm and friendly which was amplified by their young, hip and trendy staff. The re-claimed wood type table and chairs created a modern space but a space you can get stuck into with fuss. The restaurant was lighted perfectly and the music albeit loud was not club pumping. Tasty n Alder is a place for everyone. Give them your business – you won’t regret it.
For the price, ambiance, service and food quality, Tasty n Alder gets a strong 5/5.
Tasty n Alder
580 S.W. 12th Ave.; 503-621-9251; http://www.tastyntasty.com