I briefly visited Portland this past weekend, and tried out Clyde Common for brunch. We arrived on Sunday at about noon (a party of 3), and were seated immediately. No crowds like we saw down the street at Kenny and Zukes.
The space is big, with tall ceilings and long communal tables. It felt like it would be a much nicer space on a busy evening, or for a cocktail, or basically anything after dark. For brunch on a sunny day, the space wasn't as amazing.
Service was casual, fast, and not very personal. Our waitress barely said anything to us. We were in and out in less than 50 minutes, since everything came out very fast.
country pâte, pickles, dijon, grilled bread - $6
The pate was more solid than I expected, so it wasn't really spreadable. We got three pieces of grilled bread, which were nothing special. Pickles were tiny gherkins, onion, and fennel, and I liked the fennel the best. Overall, pretty good but not anything too amazing.
two eggs any style (we chose poached), crispy polenta, smoked ham, béarnaise - $12
This was the winning dish. The polenta was crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside, and came in two large toast-shaped pieces. It was topped with really nice smoky ham (this made the dish special), two poached eggs (a bit underdone), and béarnaise. It would have been rich to eat this all by myself, but since we were sharing, it was great.
fried chicken sausage and waffles, green peppercorn, sherry and maple - $15
Nice presentation, with four pieces of chicken and waffle, served over the sherry maple sauce (like an aioli). This dish came out surprisingly fast. The pieces of fried chicken sausage were hot and tender, with a light batter that reminded me of tempura. The sausage itself was similar in texture to the pate and perhaps even lighter and softer. The waffle, however, was basically room temperature and tasted like it had been sitting around for an hour or so. This was a pretty big disappointment, since with a fresh-made, hot crispy waffle, this dish would have been fantastic. I considered sending it back to get a fresh waffle, but wasn't sure whether it would have been appropriate. Hopefully this was a fluke and not a regular occurrence, since it brought a potentially A+ dish down to a B or B-. The whole dish was topped with some pickled onions, like the ones on our pate plate, which I also thought strange. I definitely was looking for sweet accompaniments to this dish, not sour ones. I wanted more maple sauce. Or just a pitcher of maple syrup. Maybe this is because I am from New England? :)
Roasted asparagus $5
Simple, plump asparagus roasted w/ sea salt and served in a cast iron dish. Good.
Homemade grapefruit pomegranate soda - $3.
Good, but I thought the grapefruit flavor overpowered things a bit. It was pretty simple and I have easily made better sodas at home.
In the end, this was enough food for three of us, but we didn't leave super full. This proved useful, as we ended up eating more that day: Blue Star Donuts, Koi Tacos, Viking Soul Food, and Pastaworks. Not to mention a nice blackberry patch we found while walking around. More on these soon.