Wifey and I love breakfast. We love the piles of carbs, the bacon, eggs, the cheese, the breads, the pastries, the coffee drinks, hot chocolate - just about anything that goes with breakfast is good for us. So to that end we've been hitting up various breakfast places around town that are supposed to be good - and that's how we ended up choosing Gravy, a place over on North Mississippi.
We had been by it many times, with various shopping trips out to The Meadow or to the Mississippi Marketplace carts to visit The Sugar Cube and Nuevo Mexico. It always had a line out the door and initially it was getting very good reviews. Upon further looking it seemed like while many people did like it, there were also a lot of people that did not - and if you look at the trend graph on their Yelp page (they don't have their own website) you can see the recent reviews are grading lower than the older ones.
Still, we didn't let that deter us. So we went to check it out.
We arrived one Saturday not too long after they opened and thankfully didn't have to wait at all. Considering the lines we usually saw (albeit later in the morning) we counted ourselves lucky. After perusing the menu I decided on something called a Monte Cristo-something, with think french toast topped with turkey, ham, swiss cheese, and fried egg. Wifey ordered a scramble with ham, bacon, vegetables and sausage gravy. Both dishes came with hashbrowns. (I'd give you the exact names of the dishes, but my memory is horrible and they don't have a website, let alone an online menu. That's a strike right there in my book.)
Initially we had wanted to try their biscuits and gravy also, but when I tried to order a single biscuit with gravy as a side our waitress kindly talked me out of it. She reasoned we were already getting a ton of food, and we could try the gravy from Wifey's scramble. As it turns out that was a good call by her - we did get a ton of food - and I actually appreciate that.
We ordered drinks too. The drink menu on the table boasted homemade egg nog with your choice of alcohols, but since it was 9:30 in the morning I opted for the virgin version. I really don't know if that meant I didn't get homemade or what - it sure tasted a lot like what you buy at the grocery store and nothing like the good stuff I make at home. It was not worth the $3. Wifey ordered their hot chocolate (which had some kind of claim of being the best of something) and it was barely average. Seriously, for that price elsewhere I can get something fantastic, and this was barely even worth noting.
Pictures of this meal would no doubt be impressive due to the sheer amount of found on the plates, but alas the camera was forgotten this day. I'll try harder.
The French toast part of my Monte Cristo thingie was pretty good. Thick, almost sweet, the French toast was something I'd order again - without the toppings. There was enough Swiss cheese to choke a large mammal and everything together just reeked of overdoing it just to over do it. It's not that it was bad, it just wasn't necessarily good either. The shredded potatoes on the side must have been an entire potato, which is kind of silly, really.
Wifey got an entire potato as well, in addition to her scramble. The veggies were cooked okay, perhaps a tad overdone, but the sausage gravy was just greasy. I expect a tad of grease when working with sausage, but this was literally dripping - and it must have been at least four eggs involved (the meny didn't say). Again, it wasn't necessarily bad, but it wasn't good either.
I think altogether we ate maybe a third of our dishes, and that might be generous. Like good little eaters we made sure not to stuff ourselves (too badly anyway) and brought the rest home.
It's probably eating the leftovers at home that really got me. This entire meal literally sat like a brick in my stomach, and then I felt obligated to eat the leftovers - you know, since I paid for them and did bring them home and it's not like they were horrible. They just weren't that great. And they made me more angry as the days passed, because I could literally only eat a little bit at a time.
The bottom line on Gravy is the food just isn't that great. It's not expensive, the service was pretty decent, the atmosphere was okay (well, except for the fact the acoustics aren't that conducive to actually being able to hear the conversation of the person across from you without leaning into your food - or maybe that's just me and I have other issues...maybe, who knows), the location is nice, but the food just isn't anything special.
Portland has so many other places to go that are that good, where you can wait in line if you don't mind, where the prices are comparable, where the atomosphere is good, where the service is good...that you shouldn't bother yourself with Gravy. We probably won't be going back, not when we could go somewhere like Screen Door or try somewhere new instead.