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Thumbs Up For Tasty N Sons' New Menu; Verdigris Sparkles at Brunch

What the critics have been loving and hating the past two weeks.

Verdigris
Verdigris
Avila/EPDX

Verdigris opened on Northeast Fremont in early December, and Matthew Korfhage of Willamette Week dropped his review today, giving Johnny Nunn's "unbuffed, approachable version of luxury" props for an impressive brunch and attentive staff, but asserting that dinner still needs work.

"The restaurant offers a lovely and refined Continental take on all-American morning fare," he writes, calling out the "thick, light, fluffy" pancakes and "richly decadent without being cloying" topping of banana caramel. But the star, he says, is the maple-smoked trout with frisee and a hard-cooked egg. "All things were at the very edge of underdone, but not at all underdone — which is another way of saying they were just right. The dish was like a Frenchified Broder plate, a bit fluffier and thicker and meltingly, fattily good."

Dinner, though, is a different story. "At higher prices than brunch, the evening meals seemed to have forgone restraint, but without corresponding ambition," he says, citing an overcooked chicken, and "pleasant enough but unmemorable" lasagna with ricotta, watercress, and crimini mushrooms.

Meanwhile, at the Portland Mercury, reviewer Andrea Damewood tries out Tasty n Sons' revamped dinner menu and manages to compare it to Applebee's, but in a good way. "After 5:30 pm, Tasty n Sons transforms into the magical, idealized, scrumptious version of Applebee's depicted in commercials," she writes, explaining that it's a comfortable hang-out with that perfect combo of balanced cocktails, craft beer, and "OMG so good" food.

In particular, she heaps praise on the horseradish-spiked Alabama barbecue chicken, a style that uses a tart vinegar-mayonnaise sauce rather than the tomato-based red sauce so synonymous with barbecue.  Currently a Monday-only special, "it belongs on deck daily," she says.

The sides (except the okra) are so good, she says, they "nearly eclipsed their meaty companions." But less-than-successful dishes include Cast Iron Cassoulet à la Bouvier ("It's just fancy, oversweet American baked beans"), barbecue pork ribs that were "just meh," and pastrami coppa steak with "great New York deli flavor, but the meat itself was far too chewy."

And earlier this month, Michael Russell at The Oregonian offered his disappointed take on Fireside, giving it just a single star. "And while we found friendly service, lively ambience and nicely balanced cocktails," he writes, "we also found a rustic-refined Pacific Northwest menu with more misses than hits."

A problem he found across two visits: inconsistently cooked vegetables, including a firm rutabaga, too-tender carrots, and tough Brussels sprouts. The only entrée to get a truly positive mention is a "luscious lump of braised lamb shoulder." Bar snacks were inconsistent, too, with a soft-boiled egg served on a smear of bacon aioli earning raves, while rye crackers and fromage blanc were "heavy going."

However, he says the "menu's bones are strong," praises co-owner/bar manager Sue Erickson's cocktail program as "interesting and approachable," and says he'd return for the desserts, including "messy-good s'mores" and "crunchy, irregularly shaped churros, served with a smear of eggy custard and a glass of nutmeg-dusted milk punch in place of hot chocolate."

Tasty n Sons

3808 North Williams Avenue, , OR 97227 (503) 621-1400 Visit Website

The Fireside

801 Northwest 23rd Avenue, , OR 97210 (503) 477-9505 Visit Website

Verdigris

1465 Ne Prescott , , OR 97212 (503) 477-8106 Visit Website

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