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PDX: Besaw’s


The city folks love brunch, and I never understood why. For the longest time, brunch meant that I eat two meals worth of breakfast food. Sometimes, I would go for a large lunch instead, and top it off with a glass of mimosa. I love the concept, but I could not comprehend the difference between brunch from the usual breakfast and lunch. That all changed when I moved to Portland. First, there are so many brunch restaurants around town, and more are opening each weekend. Each of them specialized in something – it might be pancakes, omelets, or something else entirely. We would never be bored of eating the same meal every single week, and there is always something new to look forward to. Second, I realized that the people are the main focus in brunch. Sure, the food in the meal might be similar compared to breakfast on a weekday, but the rat race forces all of us to eat them just to survive through the work day. On the weekend, it is on my time (poor waiters), so the focus shifts towards enjoying time spent with one another. I did not grasp why couples double date on weekend brunch; now, I would probably skip brunch if I can’t find a good conservationist. And for this week’s rotation, Megan and I head to Besaw’s.

Slabtown, located north of the Pearl district, is rather quiet on a beautiful Saturday morning. Maybe I’m overimagining the population of Portland and the number of tourists, because we have had good luck by just walking in and getting a table for brunch all across town. This happened again here. As I walk into the restaurant, the front desk mistaken me for other patrons who was waiting for a table. She gives me the table anyway, as the other person did not respond to her. There might not be a crowd outside, but it was packed inside.

Mixed drink, anyone?
Saturday morning crowd.

For some odd reason, Besaw’s does not serve “fancy” coffee. Our waitress informs us to go to their sister coffee shop located next door. I would thought that the waitstaff would take our coffee order and run the errand, but that might have to do with financial issues. (Conspiracy!) Regardless, we placed our brunch orders. I scan the menu and see that Besaw’s offer the Nashville hot chicken and waffles. After having the real hot chicken from Nashville, it is difficult to pass on Nashville hot chicken when they are being offered. Megan choose to design her own brunch with corn grits and scrambled eggs.

Nashville hot chicken & waffle – spicy fried chicken, syrup, butter. $16
Corn Grits $5

Personally, I’m not a fan of American style waffle. From my observation, most American waffle uses the same batter as normal pancakes, which results in soft and squishy waffles. These do not stand well against maple syrup, melting into a mess just like pancake. Unlike the Belgian waffle, as they were designed to stand against the onslaught of syrup. These waffles at Besaw’s are dense and not fluffy, standing somewhere in between the traditional Belgian waffle and American waffle. This version pairs great with the spicy chicken, and I use them as a shield from the heat of the chicken. The fried chicken breast is juicy and have the right amount of hot spices coated on the skin. Don’t worry, it isn’t as hot as the real ones down in Tennessee. The corn grits are sweet and excellent, they reminded me of corn chowder, and I like them too.

Honestly, Besaw’s is awesome. The food is excellent, but more importantly, we had a good time. And the end of the day, isn’t this what brunch is all about? Therefore, I highly recommend coming to Besaw’s for more brunch. Afterall, there is a wait at the restaurant, in an area where there was nobody to be seen. It is that good.


Visited: Nov 30th, 2019 for brunch at 11am.

Address: 1545 NW 21st Ave.



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