The Original – 4/13/13

3.5stars

The Original
503.546.2666
300 SW 6th Ave.
Portland, 97024

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First impressions were wrong…

The guide book my friend Nycole gave Carly and I a few months back has been a good asset to compliment the online reviews of many of the places we have visited and this time was no exception. Apparently “The Original” opened as a snooty, trendy, hipster place to get fruit loop flapjacks at 3am but has mellowed over time to the delicious “Dinerant” we visited on Saturday. The only thing remaining of it’s hipster roots is the horribly awkward name of “Diner-rant” (get it, it’s clever because it smashes the word Diner with Restaurant :-/ ) I was drawn to it by the Zagat review first, then by the street view they embedded in their site and finally by the promise of some interesting breakfast mashups like the afore mentioned fruit loop pancakes. I’m not much for pancakes as they tend to be served like frisbees and I can really make them myself (I go out to eat things I cannot or do not want to make myself). Upon arrival we had a moment to pause and take in the establishment which has two floors a full bar and booths as well as tables which I guess helps justify the menus hanging outside that show there to be only a couple hours between closing and opening. We were sat at one of the rather small blue square tables right against a wall of glass that makes up the east side of the restaurant and handed two brunch menus which of course contain references to Portlandia and putting birds on things. There was also a small blue “special brunch” menu with three options on it one of which was a basket of baked goods which for 6 dollars seemed an excellent way to start. We put in for that as well as the typical coffee & tea and began to peruse the menu for our “real meals”.

Right away I saw the word Polenta under the Griddle section and figured it could be something for us to share and experience together since awesome Polenta dishes seem to pop up only now and again like good episodes of Saturday Night Live. I was tempted to steer towards the typical chicken friend gravy covered this or that but I was advised by the girl at the reception counter to try something called a Chilaquiles (Chilly Killy) and I figured since we already had a basket of baked goods and the Polenta I would try something out of my norm that I wouldn’t feel compelled to finish. Carly, ever being the sucker for clever French toast went with the “Elvis Sighting” which ended up being two of the thicket crispiest cuts of brioche topped with fresh banana’s, fresh banana mousse, peanut butter sauce and two giant thick strips of bacon. I knew we had ordered about two items too many as we worked our way through the “goodie basket” that was on the blue brunch sheet. There were two different types of fruit muffins (rhubarb & apple), two different scones (cinnamon & cheese) a tiny bacon maple bar and something called an orange-ricotta gallette that looked like a fried ravioli but was crispy, light and citrusy. We split each of the items in two to samples while Carly cleverly only took one taste of each and then set it aside I hungrily cleaned up every crumb as though it was the only thing we ordered. I had also submitted an order for one of their home-made sodas they bragged about on the back of the menu since with a Foursquare or Facebook check-in they gave you a choice of Soda, Lemonade or Ice Tea. I left it up to Carly what the flavor should be and when the tall flute of Honeydew soda arrived I saw by the wince on her face as she tasted it a mistake had been made. Fortunately with the remaining cold I had in my sinus I was able to chug about 4 ounces down before getting the strangest fruit after taste. It wasn’t horrible but it definitely wasn’t enjoyable. The waitress kindly offered to bring us another flavor but seeing as how it was a freebie anyway and we had a full buffet headed our way shortly I figured we’d opt out.

About another 7 minutes elapsed before our trio of plates arrived each a colorful steaming delight to behold. I lunged for the polenta first seeing as how I was interested to see how the flavors of hunny, bacon & polenta meshed together. There were two 4 inch squares of polenta drizzled with hunny and 4 super crisply slices of bacon and the first second and thrid bites we super savory but then you begin to realize how filling polenta can be and how over powering even an ounce of hunny can be to your sugar sensors. I decided to back off and dig into my “breakfast nachos” as the girl up front had referred to them. The pork was nice and grilled and really complimented the fluffy scrambled eggs & avocado quite well. I didn’t eat too many of the tortilla chips as they really seemed more a part of the presentation than the meal and didn’t have much flavor to them. Carly seemed to be really loving her French toast and I was lucky enough to get a couple forkfulls as well. The banana mousse they had doloped on top of the two super thick cuts of brioche was so awesome it made me want to have just a cup of that as a meal. The combination of sweet and savory for the banana’s, bacon, peanut butter and brioche easily made the the best French toasts I’ve ever tried. From the start I had no intentions of cleaning my plate especially after ordering all the various flavors and we left The Original completely satisfied and filled but not over-stuffed.

GALLERY

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SERVICE
Happy, attractive and full of great breakfast advice
3.5 stars

AMBIANCE / DESIGN
Cool bright wide open interior with booths, tables, a bar and a second story
4 stars

MEAL
Great blends of sweet & savory with brunch offerings, baked goods, home -made sodas & shakes
4 stars

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