It's probably been mentioned in this blog once or twice, but Wifey and I are huge fans of the breakfast food. Last year we went to Pine State Biscuits on Southeast Belmont because supposedly they had some of the best biscuits anyone has ever made in history. This place started at the Portland Farmer's Market a few years back and continually rock a giant line every Saturday.
Their place on Belmont - a very small place - also has a long line, always. In our first trip we spent about 30 minutes in line to order our food. It was definitely good and we would have gone back sooner, but that line...sheesh, who has time for that?
Then a couple months ago Pine State opened a second store on Northeast Alberta, one we've been meaning to visit.
It just never fit into the schedule, though. Then last Friday we read on Eater PDX Pine State (this location only, I believe) was going to start opening at 9pm on Friday and Saturday for late-night eats. Typically only open for breakfast and lunch, it seemed like an interesting time to check them out. And we didn't have any leftovers and didn't feel like cooking, so decided to check it out.
We ended up getting there at 9:10 pm. I was a little worried it might be busy, but apparently no one got the memo about the new hours. There was no one else there and for the entire 30-40 minutes we were there the only other customer they had was someone who had apparently forgotten their wallet. No line, no wait = good times in my book.
The inside of the space is clean and open, a very common style for places in Portland these days. Compared to the Belmont location, which has horrible customer flow, few tables, and just generally feels old and inefficient, this location was clean, fresh, new, and seems to feature plenty of room both for customers and for the cooks.
We ordered biscuits and sausage gravy and a sandwich called the Reggie Deluxe. I should note, not everything from the normal menu was available - most of it was, just not all, including one thing we had planned on ordering (the hash ups).
The biscuits are excellent - soft, fluffy, with a good crust and smooth flavor. The gravy has both a sweetness and a spiciness to it, which give it very good depth and range of flavor. Interestingly enough the last time we went to Pine State that spiciness wasn't present, so either they tweaked the recipe or last time someone left out an ingredient. It could be the paprika sprinkled over this dish, but it seemed more to me it was within the gravy itself, the spice, rather than just something topical.
Before we also weren't sure if this sausage gravy was as good as others we have had around town (like The Country Cat or Screen Door), but with the spiciness it's definitely in the same class - and the sweetness makes Pine State's gravy completely unique (and probably not appealing to everyone for that exact reason, but we liked it).
The Reggie Deluxe is what we ordered before. It's bacon, cheese, egg, a piece of white meat fried chicken, and sausage gravy between the famous biscuit. Yes, it's as good and as unhealthy as it sounds. Last time we ordered our food to go so we didn't really get a feel for the epic size of it when piled high on a plate. Wow.
The yellow is the cheese - the egg yolk was a little soft so did leak out when it was cut as well. Look at the picture below - see the crunchiness right below the top biscuit? What looks like hardened sugar? That's the edges of the egg. Yum.
I could eat one of these every day. I'd be dead in less than a year, oh man are they good. Dinner was fantastic - and cost less than $20 with tip - but even so I'm kind of questioning the choice. Why? Well, this is very, very heavy food. For someone who likes to get to bed by 11, it's not the best choice for 9pm eating. Perhaps if you had a big night on the town planned, hitting up some bars and clubs and parties, then having this late could be a good idea. But to eat this and come home and start thinking about bed? I don't recommend it at all.
We will absolutely go back again and recommend Pine State to anyone that asks, but for breakfast or brunch, not for late night. And considering how there was no one else but us there at that time, either they need to do a better job getting the word out they are open, or they did that part just fine and it's just what people are looking for Friday's for a late dinner.