Portland, Oregon’s Clyde Common is a casual space that contains high energy comfort. Located in the old Clyde Hotel Building, currently the location of the Ace Hotel, you’ll find a mix of local neighborhood clientele as well as the after-work crowd. Enjoy a great meal, and stay in the neighborhood afterwards for a visit to Powell’s Books, tour the rest of downtown to the south or the Pearl to the north.
The décor includes high ceilings, scuffed wood floors, open kitchen, wood-topped tables, and fun use of blackboard paint, and plywood and stainless steel. Join others at the long open bar at happy hour, where conversation flows, or start with a cocktail if you’re waiting for your table for dinner.
Head Chef Carlo Lamagna is a cheerful, personable gent who landed in Portland early in 2014 after honing skills in some excellent Chicago restaurants. His new 2015 happy hour menu is a list of substantial dishes that will satisfy that afternoon hunger after a day at work.
We try the special cocktail for the day: a punch of gin, the Italian aperitif Aperol, sparkling wine, and a thick slice of lemon peel. (If the punch isn’t on the menu, try the somewhat similar cocktail, Bitter Symphony.) It’s exquisitely refreshing and perfect with our first round of happy hour dishes!
Lamagna and his and his team offer a wonderful rotation of house made charcuterie. On my visit the list includes a sopressata, a saucisson sec, chicken galantine, rabbit bacon terrine and a pork pistachio pate. There are great cheeses as well; perfect for happy hour or as a start to your dinner.
We start with duck hearts. Flavorful crunchy brioche croutons provide the base for grilled duck heart, topped with Meyer lemon butter. Not a combination I come up with for a home snack, but the flavors and creativity make for a great start.
The pork and shitake mushroom lumpia is a favorite on the new happy hour menu. This Filipino deep-fried classic snack food is served with a sweet and sour sauce with that’s got a BBQ spiciness that really works and the crunchy slaw that accompaniment satisfies.
The tōgarashi (a Japanese chili pepper spice) and honey flavored popcorn is just the thing to snack on at the movies—or to pair with a good white wine, vodka or gin cocktail or that punch we enjoyed.
The skillet corn bread is full of buttery flavor and has a great texture. Topped with dollops of smoky bone marrow butter, it’s reminiscent of dipping a little spoon into a round of bone marrow (without the ick factor that some people can’t get over). The beefy butter taste is delicious with the flaky sweetness of the corn bread.
You can’t go wrong with melted cheese and the saganaki– just the dish with which to raise a glass and chorus an “Oompa!” The seared cheese is served with a buttery crust, ready to spread over accompanying toasted slices of olive bread.
With a glass of Cono 4 Primitivo Quiles Alicante, a jammy Spanish Primativo with great body, we enjoy the chicken liver mousse, served with fruit jam that adds just the right sweetness and texture and the shortbread is the right bite that complements both.
Green garlic croquettes served piping hot and a sweet and sour onion relish give a good pop to the hearty potato.
Hearing they use their own house-made mortatella, we had to try mortatella filled calamari. I thought I knew my way around Italian cold cuts and cured meats, but the use of fresh rather than cured mortadella stuffed in calamari takes me by surprise. Stuffed calamari; sure, I’ve had it stuffed with bread crumbs, or rice and with minced meat, but nothing like this. The dish makes for an incredible, decidedly not-subtle salty and luscious combination that sealed the deal on our visit being one of those happy hours where you say to one another, “We’ve got to come back here!”—Story and photos by Nancy Zaffaro, RFT NW Wine, Brews, & Spirits Editor
If You Go:
Clyde Common, in the Ace Hotel, Portland, Oregon, www.clydecommon.com