The Original at 300 SW 6th Ave. in downtown Portland is rich in hometown diner nostalgia, with more modern takes on some old favorites combining with traditional diner fare to round out a great menu.
We were there for Sunday brunch, and sampled a variety of there menu. Overall it was great, with just one low point out of four meals.
I had the grilled polenta cakes with candied bacon. The preparation was great, with big thick slices of polenta that had obviously been cooked and formed in a loaf pan then sliced and grilled for service. The flavor was bold and wonderful, with lots of sharp cheddar cheese and milk giving it a smooth and rich texture. Served with 3 slices of candied bacon and then drizzled with real maple syrup it was a wonderful take on the old fashioned Johnny cakes my grandmother would make for Sunday breakfast when I was young. A definite hit.
My wife had the "Red Flannel Hash" and wasn't as impressed. The potatoes were undercooked and seasoning was non existent. For a dressed up corned beef hash with beets, red peppers, and potato it should have had flavor to spare but clearly something was missing. It was the one low point for the table.
Our niece Megan ordered their house chicken& waffles, taken up a notch with chicken confite instead of fried chicken, and the combination of a great malty waffle and the chicken was scrumptious.
Her husband Jeff had the bacon cornmeal waffle topped with a boneless fried chicken breast. I'll have to take his word for how amazing it was because he inhaled it, but it looked fabulous. He said the waffle was full of flavor and the chicken cooked perfectly.
If you are looking for a terrific brunch and great character, forget Mother's next weekend and give The Original a try.