Date of Visit: Monday, October 25, 2010 at 9:00 a.m.
IMPRESSIONS: Stop two in our Portland breakfast tour! Our Portland friends had whispered to us about a restaurant called Gravy. One of the most appealing breakfast restaurant names I’ve heard in a while…
ATMOSPHERE: We’ve heard tell of Gravy’s long lines and packed houses on the weekends, and that can be frustrating or add to over-hype. But we found ourselves fortunate enough to visit on a slow Tuesday morning; we were ushered right to a table. Gravy’s layout is wide open, with big windows and skylights. Lots of natural lighting illuminates the browns and creams, the wood accents, and big pieces of art on the walls. You can also see right into the open-topped kitchen. Seating includes about fifteen tables, plus a few stools at the bar. Overall, a relaxing atmosphere punctuated by a fantastic music selection.
FOOD: Of all the great breakfasts we had in Portland, I am still craving Gravy’s the most. The prices are a little steeper: like $12-for-a-scramble steeper. HOWEVER, you get what you pay for. You could easily split a $12 scramble between three people. Everyone would have plenty to each, and you’d only be spending about $4 per person. Their breakfast menu isn’t extensive, but it covers all the basics: scrambles, omelets, hash, sandwiches, pancakes. I immediately eyed the list of scrambles, and settled on The Dalise: ham, bacon, sausage, mushrooms, peppers, onions, and cheddar, covered in gravy. Served with the most awesomely huge portion of done-just-right hash browns. Look at the picture above: the hash browns must have been cooked in their own pan. They come out like a giant bird’s nest. The whole breakfast was very well seasoned, cooked to the right consistency, and just a big delicious mess.
My wife is always a fan of smoked salmon, and well, we’re in the Pacific Northwest. She ordered the Smoked Salmon Hash & Eggs, which was even better than my scramble. Large chunks of fresh salmon, soooooo well seasoned, mixed with veggies and eggs on top. Probably the best dish we had in Portland, and on my list as the best hash I’ve ever had.
If I look at this picture too long, I start drooling.
We ordered their French toast for our son. He loved and devoured it. Made with challah bread. On a side note: Gravy’s coffee was also very good; their own special blend. Points to them for offering chilled cream for our coffee, without us having to ask.
Our friend ordered the Oatmeal Brulee (and my wife ordered it on a later visit). Gravy is well known for this dish, and I can see why. Along with the salmon hash, it quickly joined my list as the Best Oatmeal I’ve had.
These pictures don’t fully communicate the size of this bowl. It’s like if you cut a softball in half, hollowed it out, and filled it with oatmeal. And this is thiiiiiiick oatmeal, filled with fruit and nuts, topped with brown sugar, and torched. This probably isn’t the healthiest oatmeal ever, but a big warm bowl of cooked oats, fresh fruit, and caramelized sugars is still worth something.
It’s like an oatmeal cave! This continues Gravy’s streak of monster portions. The restaurant and neighborhood may feel a little trendy and a tiny upscale, but Gravy is pushing big, classic comfort food.
OVERALL: In our short time in Portland, we made a return visit to Gravy. That’s despite great breakfasts at The Tin Shed and Helser’s on Alberta. All of their food is big and flavorful. Great combinations of textures. You have to know how to play the prices to your advantage: if $12.75 is too much for Smoked Salmon Hash & Eggs (yeah, that’s steep for me), consider splitting it with one or two people. I think the food is worth it. They landed two dishes on my list of favorites.
-> official website for Mississippi Ave., Gravy’s neighborhood