Welcome to ColemanWatch, a weekly feature in which we parse the particularly florid stylings of the Portland Mercury's resident food critic, Patrick Alan Coleman. Seen a sentence we've missed? Log on to your bright, burning email screen, and wend a grandiloquent email our way.
After expecting to be well chuffed w/r/t Fats, Micah Camden's latest 30th & Killingsworth restaurant (it joins the now Naomi Pomeroy-owned Beast, DOC, and, co-owned with Dayna McErlean, Yakuza), Sir Patrick Alan Coleman finds himself in the middle of a bloody dodgy sitch what with the daft service and duff opening times. First, though, let's gen up on the upsides.
The menu brims with comforting British favorites. Think satisfyingly warm and savory Welsh rarebit—a thick layer of melted cheddar over toast—or a smashing shepherd's pie with rustic mashed potatoes above hearty and tangy lamb stew.
The options are good, with few exceptions. A Scotch egg defies the traditional British version, sporting a soft yolk in the fried, sausage-wrapped egg. The yolk enhances the morsel, which arrives on the plate with a dollop of mild mustard and a dill-flecked microgreens salad. The effect is a hopped-up deviled egg with a brawler's attitude.
Another evening, service was so bad it was comical. After giving us menus, our server promptly ignored us for a while before returning to take our dinner orders. We had to remind him we might want drinks, this being a pub and all. One beer arrived in a ludicrously sticky pint glass. Another didn't arrive at all. Our server greeted this revelation with a grunt, and returned sometime later to find out what the original beer order had been.Does sound like the server's a bit of a knob, but, this being Portland, he could just as easily have been knackered as outright naff. The other easy complaint--that Fats was closed for Sunday brunch--turns out, through some ear-to-the-ground to have been less of a case of owner Camden being off his trolley as, actually, attending a funeral. Which is, even for us, hard to take the piss out of. Overall, Coleman, before putting a sock in it, offers up this final send-up.
While Fats has very good food, and a killer dinner deal with four courses for $35, the chaos in the dining room needs to be tamed. It would do well if the place were injected with a bit of that English dignity the isles have always been known for... even after the Empire's fall.Stone the crows.