Jam on Hawthorne perked my interested when I was driving past it and saw hordes of people outside. So naturally, I was wild with curiosity. Was this place really worth the wait? (I’m looking at you, Franklin’s BBQ in Austin, Texas. Four hours waiting for barbecue is no small feat for any customer. I’ve yet to see this place for myself too.)
I went last Friday around 12:30 pm, and there were certainly lots of folk waiting. But for two people the wait wasn’t as terrible as I expected. While we waited, we browsed a market nearby and twenty minutes later made our triumphant entry into Jam holding a sheaf of kale.
I’d say that this restaurant would be an ideal place for tourists or for bringing chums to share a meal with. There’s lots of art everywhere and even a giant indoor sandbox where children can romp around. The lighting is slightly dim but the space carries lots of upbeat vibes. And the drinks menu looks absolutely legit. In terms of dishes, Yelp reviewers particularly raved about the loaded bowl (bowl of hashbrowns with gravy and green onions) but I wanted to see what else Jam has to offer that makes it a hotspot for brunch. A sign outside coaxed customers to try the “best corned beef EVER,” so I decided to go with their corned beef hash.
This dish came with seeded wheat toast (vegan, too!) and two eggs whatever style. I opted for fried eggs over medium and one yolk was already bursting and creating a pool on the side of the plate. The plate was also huge, with the eggs blanketing the hash browns and hiding the corned beef underneath.
I read on the menu that Jam makes corned beef by taking large quantities of brisket and letting them stew in a blend of spices, vegetables, and beer. Generous hunks of corned beef, served pulled style, mixed with heaps of golden hash browns and chunks of pepper. The meat was wonderfully savory but a little bit on the coarser side because it became rather stringy and tough in my mouth. I’d hoped the beef would have a more tender texture, but the quality of the hash browns redeemed the dish. Those taters were actually my most favorite part of the plate, and they had this beautiful crispiness on the outside with a soft underside. Brilliantly done.
I’d also heard that the jam was noteworthy, so I squirted some marionberry jam on the toast to try. It had a smooth consistency and good balance of sweetness, but I didn’t taste as much berry as I’d liked–it was more of a comfortable flavor.
My mom ordered biscuits and gravy, yet we agreed that it’s not really one of Jam’s best options. I would rather direct you all to get these carbs at Pine State Biscuits instead. The corned beef hash was delicious, though. Overall, I’d personally say that Jam served a good meal. And not having to wait too long was a nice blessing, plus I was ravenous and literally devoured the hash. I walked out feeling very satisfied. Perhaps I would not necessarily drive that far out to the east side for this place. But it was still a wonderful experience brunching in one of the most beloved areas in Portland–and we did score a fresh bunch of kale.