Summer 2014 kicked off to a good start with a trip to Tasty n Sons, the sister restaurant of Tasty n Alder (which I had written about a while ago). My brother had a close friend visiting, and my family concurred that one of the best ways to introduce Portland to visitors is through food. I’m looking at you, Texan friends. Nevertheless, I’m glad to say that I struck gold in Tasty n Sons.
Tasty n Sons has a family-style sort of service where people share dishes, but my family didn’t mind, as it is the Chinese style to share dishes anyway (too bad Tasty n’ Sons doesn’t have those cool Lazy Susans that you can swirl around though). Tasty n Alder and Tasty n Sons are also very similar in the sense that they both champion a rich array of choices that spans various cultures of the world. Tasty n’ Sons embraces a different style of seating, however. It showcases a series of tables in a row with a long bar and a couple of counters that face the fresh, open air outside, and there is a lot of dark wood paneling for the walls and smoky candle lighting.
For starters, we selected the sizzling Saigon crepe and the smoked trout board. The crepe was thin but crisply fried, bulging with beansprouts, yellow curry sauce, lentils, and cilantro. There was a copious amount of sauce left over, so I happily dipped some bread into it and it was scrummy. On the other hand, the smoked trout board had a lighter edge with an assortment of crackers, grilled pieces of bread, confit potatoes, pickled carrots, dainty slices of apple, and pieces of smoked trout with a delicate white fillet color and topped with some capers. The trout really caught my attention with its bold smoky flavor and its light finish instead of a heavy, savory taste.
(The smoked trout.)
We asked the waitress for suggestions when deciding the big entrees, and she gushed about the bouillabaisse stew. That perked my interest because it’s one of the few seafood dishes that I crave. An interesting side note—the first time I heard about it was in one of the Harry Potter books that I read when I was twelve years old, scrawny, and hounded by braces. ’Twas the Goblet of Fire, I believe—the part when radiant Fleur Delacour renders Ron Weasley speechless as she comes to the Gryffindor table and asks if she can have the stew. And thus it seems like I have a rather selective memory. Apparently all I garnered from reading Harry Potter is 1. “Yer a wizard, Harry” and 2. Bouillabaisse is French.
But back in the Muggle world, Tasty n Sons’ take on the bouillabaisse is a savory concoction of a mildly spicy soup laden with clams, mussels, prawns, fish, and bacon with two thick pieces of crostini bread on the side. Along with that, we ordered the cassoulet, grilled lamb chops, and steak frites. We really seemed to be attuned to our carnivorous sides for dinner, oddly enough. The cassoulet was served in a thick iron pan with sausage, corn cakes, pork belly, and chicken in a steaming mass of baked beans. (I’m pretty sure my mom ate its leftovers for a solid four days after, it was such a huge dish.) The grilled bulgogi lamb chops were tender, and I appreciated the little mound of kimchi on the side. Last of all, the steak frites had a very rich sauce and the meat was neither tough nor stringy, but to be honest the fries were the real hit—thin, crispy, and dusted with green onion.
Highlights of the dinner also included when the waitress pointed out the non-alcoholic drinks to my 21-year old brother (it was actually quite amusing) and my mom raved about the butter. So overall, a dinner well done and a jolly way to start off the summer.
Tasty n Alder post: https://weatheringyourappetite.wordpress.com/2013/07/02/around-the-world-in-90-minutes/