When The Woodsman opens for its nightly dinner service, the place fills up fast. Not so for its weekend brunches—at least for now. But that should change, because what the kitchen puts out is always on point and, often, trumps the classic standards by subtly employing ingredients that make each dish pop. The beignets (which change frequently) and the gooey scrapple cakes (made with wild boar) are worth the order, but the jazziest dishes might be the fish sandwich and the French toast. When you see the sandwich, you’ll think “Filet-O-Fish”—which is exactly what it looks like—but eating it is another story. Sure, it has a soft, sesame-seeded Franz Bakery bun and ribbons of iceberg lettuce, but the fish (a flaky Oregon cod) is properly breaded, deeply fried, and topped not with tartar but with a malt vinegar hollandaise. Bonus: It comes with some of the yummiest fried potatoes you can find. And that French toast? It’s one generous slice of brioche (that’s not left too long in its egg bath) spread with creamy, cool (and quickly melting) mascarpone, baked apples and, most surprisingly, a spare but crucial sprinkling of black pepper that will make you wonder why you never made it this way at home. Of course, every brunch is incomplete with the requisite Bloody Mary, and The Woodsman’s is bottle-conditioned, which means that the vodka and mix are made a week in advance and stored for seven days, resulting in a drier drink with the usual acidic edges rounded all the way off. Brunch lasts from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., every Saturday and Sunday.
The Woodsman Tavern, 4537 SE Division St., 971.373.8264
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The Woodsman Tavern
4537 SE Division Street
Portland OR 97206