Image of Tasty N Alder courtesy Avila/EPDX
The Oregonian's David Sarasohn files on Tasty N Alder, the West End outpost of John Gorham's Tasty N Sons empire, and excitedly finds a restaurant full of life: alternately "lively," "cheerful," and "diverse," the spot, like its predecessors, resembles "a large potluck at an international dormitory." In the "A-" assessment, Sarasohn emphasizes the often standing-room-only nature of the room, discussing dishes — smoked chicken wings, shrimp cocktail, goat cheese dumplings — in relation to their ability to be eaten at the standing bar. Other plates earn accolades seemingly borrowed from his feelings about the space: pork secreto benefits from a "vivid" romesco sauce, Brazilian fish stew is "crowded with marine life," duck comes "escorted" by stewed cherries.
Ultimately, "With its range of menu, imagination and street-party atmosphere, Tasty n Alder — which could be called Son of Tasty n Son — is a considerable addition to the downtown scene." [OregonLive]
Meanwhile, the Mercury's Chris Onstad fields similar praise for Tasty N Alder, writing that the spot offers "year-round fall and winter food that suggests cabins, wood fires, and comfort." Though he dubs the steakhouse component a success — "every meat sampled was an excellent version of itself" — Onstad recommends going for the unfamiliar-sounding dishes. Here, the Brazilian fish stew also gets love for its "stunning" broth, cavatelli arrives with a "rich, buttery" sugo, and a pinto-bean-and-cabbage Gibb's bowl is "clean and light, a balanced and satisfying set." Some dishes are deemed a poor value in comparison — brick chicken, the Duck... Duck... Steak! — but cocktails are "expertly prepared." The result: a restaurant better than just good. "Are you going to have a good meal at Tasty n Alder? No, as more than likely it will be great." [Mercury]
Finally, WWeek (briefly) mentions the Tasty empire in its review of the Shari's chain — to point out, rightfully so, that in comparison, Tasty exists on a "separate plane of existence." The thesis: Compared to other 24-hour roadside diners (Denny's and their ilk), Shari's is "extraordinary." Should you find yourself at a Shari's, strong recommendations for its spinach omelette, oatmeal (which uses Bob's Red Mill's oats), and the Bavarian burger. [WW]
· All Week in Reviews Coverage [Eater PDX]