I like brunch. I don’t love brunch. Aside from Norma’s in NYC, I can’t say I’ve had a mind blowing experience when it comes to this very popular meal. Granted, most of the places I’ve tried are not in the same price range as Norma’s so it may be an unfair comparison. I’ve done Doughboys, Blu Jam Cafe, Toast, etc. My problem is that when I eat brunch, I never order the brunch items. I love the idea of pancakes and waffles but cannot stand to have that as my meal. I’d prefer to have that as dessert, but then that just seems excessive. So this time I compromised and ordered my sweet with a side of savory.
Mother’s Bistro is a pretty popular brunch place in Portland. There are few restaurants that have hundreds of reviews on Portland Yelp, Mother’s Bistro just happens to be one of them. It’s actually quite a big place with multiple dining rooms. I couldn’t tell if they served different things. In any case, we came at ~1pm on a Saturday and were seated immediately.
Fresh Oregon Blueberry Pancakes made-from-scratch tender cakes, local berries, pork apple sausages
After hearing our total order, the waitress suggested we order just 1 pancake instead of the standard 2. We were like “Don’t worry, we’ll be fine.” Uhh, maybe we shoulda listened. The cakes were huge! They were also PERFECT. Soft, fluffy, with just the right amount of chew. My favorite part were the fresh blueberries. They were large, sweet, and full of berry flavor. Most of the time, blueberry baked/breakfast goods tend to have very tasteless berries. These were the complete opposite. They totally made the pancakes. The sausage were whatevers, but it was nice to have real meat in the meal.
Prosciutto & Bacon Mac ‘n Cheese
I don’t think there was anything particularly special about this mac ‘ n cheese. In fact, there was no mac! It was penne pasta. It really just tasted like penne with a creamy perhaps cheesy sauce. There lacked any strong smoky flavor one would expect from bacon or any of the cured saltiness from prosciutto. It was nice to have as a side dish but nothing to write home about.
Tofu Scramble tofu, bell peppers, green onions, spinach, red potatoes
Everywhere he goes, Dumpling Man always has to order the tofu scramble. Why? He thinks its healthy and delicious. Healthy? Sure. Delicious? Questionable. Lucky for me, Mother’s Bistro did a surprisingly excellent job making a really tasty tofu scramble. Maybe because there were no eggs? Or the addition of potatoes into the mix? Don’t be scared by all those onions either. It was quite mild. I can’t really pinpoint what made the dish stand out amongst all the other tofu scrambles I’ve eaten, but this was a winner!
I like this place for the large selection of food, the speedy seating and service, and the location in Downtown Portland. I think its hard to impress me with breakfast items, but Mother’s Bistro did it. Oh, and we were pretty shocked when the bill came. It was only $22-24 I think? That is damn cheap folks!! And NO TAX. A meal like this in LA would easily be over $30, with each entree size portion being at least $12. I’m not one to harp on prices, but you gotta give it up to Portland, or at least Mother’s Bistro, for being one darn affordable place to grub. I think I’ll go back and try other items, but I’m pretty sure Dumpling Man will order the same thing.