Another Brunch at ISK

A while back we had a fantastic brunch at Irving Street Kitchen in Northwest Portland, so last weekend we went back for another round.

I ordered the French toast bread pudding, which came with vanilla whip cream and warm plums.

Not only was it pretty, but it was damn tasty. With the whip cream it might have been a tad on the sweet side, but those plums melted in your mouth.

Wifey ordered the "Smothered Southern" with sunny side eggs, a biscuit, grits and chili creole. Fried chicken was optional and after the waitress assured us it was a breast and not brown meat, she added that as well.

It's a pretty plate, isn't it?

We finished with their butterscotch pudding, which we were told didn't come with cookies for brunch, only at dinner (never mind the visual evidence from our last visit in the link at the top of this post - but yes, it could have changed; on the bill it's listed as a "to go" pudding...hmmm). They did bring us out a molasses cookie, which smelled fantastic but ended up being dry and bland. The taste fell way short of the smell's promises.

The meal was very good, but we have a few beefs.

1) That was not breast meat. Instead, it was a drumstick and a thigh. And yes, this is typical for fried chicken, but that's why we asked the question. There are restaurants around town - Screen Door comes to mind - that use white meat for their fried chicken. If we had simply been told no, it wasn't breast, we wouldn't have ordered it. Considering it was a $7 addition that's noteworthy. We probably should have been wary after the waitress didn't really seem too sure of her confirmation. It would have been easy enough for the waitress to say she didn't know and go ask, and we would have appreciated that extra effort. But she didn't and she didn't know the product. That's not okay.

2) Service in general was fairly slow. I'm not talking about how long it took to get the food, but at the end of the meal when it came time to bring out bill. I don't understand why any restaurant would take so damn long to bring a bill after diners are clearly finished with dessert, and then why it would take so long to process and return the receipt to be signed. It was busier than our last brunch, but the restaurant was far from "busy." Also, I should note she brought the bill without even asking if we wanted dessert, which we did.

3) Packing up the leftovers was a complete failure. In general I prefer to package my own leftovers because then I can pick and choose what I want, but many restaurants do it for you. Normally that's fine, but not for this meal. I finished my food, but Wifey only ate about half of each piece of her meal, and less than half of the chicken. Our waitress took away the plate and brought out a box which seemed small but we didn't really think much of it. After we got home and opened it up, we saw all that was in there was the leftover biscuit and just the thigh piece of chicken (the drumstick was partially eaten). No egg, no grits, and none of the chili creole. Not only did we spend an extra $7 for the chicken that wasn't what we were promised, but half of the leftovers didn't make it in the box.

And yes, my tip was less than I would normally give, but probably higher than was deserved.

Maybe our waitress was new, I don't know, but it left a bad taste in our mouths. We will probably still return at some point because the food really is very good - and we want to check out dinner - but we might be a little less patient if the same issues crop up again.

In the meantime, ISK is doing a take-out menu for Thanksgiving we are thinking about ordering from. At least then we don't have to wonder about service.

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