Take everything Portland loves: Americana comforts, spicy drinking foods, kimchi, a vintage vinyl collection. Fold in some stoner cuisine (aka, cornflake-coated chicken strips heaped over waffles). Add a small collection of considered cocktails. Shake it up and serve it for the city’s favorite meal: brunch. That, in a chili-spiked nutshell, is the game plan for Expatriate’s new weekend menu, beginning March 19 and continuing every Saturday and Sunday from 10 am-2 pm.
As Eat Beat has learned, the menu is small to start, with roughly seven dishes and four cocktails. Two ideas come straight from Expatriate’s nighttime playbook—dreamy Burmese coconut noodles and the famed happy-hour nachos (fried wonton-skin chips, curried pork crumbles, fiery salsa, and, yes, spicy Velveeta cheese). Most intriguing are the new ideas: Chinese congee porridge with poached eggs, fish sauce ponzu, and candied peanuts; and a breakfast burrito fat with soft-scrambled eggs, homemade kimchi, and fried shrimp paste (an ingredient sparked by Expatriate’s terrific shrimp toast). There’s a fried egg sandwich, natch, but packaged here with fried pork katsu, and something called “covered and smothered hash browns,” which sounds pretty cheesy, literally. Drinks remodel classic notions: coffee flip to “house-aged amaro” barrel-steeped with changing herbs, then paired with lemongrass and kaffir lime.
The ideas are a logical (or is it illogical?) extension of Expatriate, one of Portland’s most distinctive bars, somewhere between a basement party, a literary salon, and a Chinatown fever dream. (Read why Expatriate earned a slot on Portland Monthly’s Best New Restaurants 2013.) Owners Naomi Pomeroy—the James Beard medalist behind Beast, across the street—and Kyle Linden Webster say they weren’t planning to jump into Portland’s competitive brunch scene. Still, they both love chicken strips and waffle houses, which led to a nighttime dish of hot chicken and waffles, which begat an idea for a Bloody Mary emboldened with the kitchen’s “Triple X Death Sauce,” bristling with sweet Thai chili sauce.
“Brunch just sounds like fun to us,” Webster says. “The space is pretty great during the day. We just want to play jazz records and make the best Bloody Mary anyone has ever had.”
Brunch at Expatriate
Begins March 19
10 am–2 pm Saturdays & Sundays
5424 NE 30th Ave.