Southern-Fried Brunch at Muscadine

The year-old temple to Southern cookery is hitting its stride with “Nashville Hot” catfish, buttermilk fried chicken, and heirloom red peas.

By Benjamin Tepler November 2, 2015

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Fried chicken at Muscadine. 

Tucked away in the restaurant corner of Northeast 15th Ave and Prescott that houses Pok Pok Noi and Extracto Coffee, one of Portland’s best under-the-radar Southern restaurants is quietly deep-frying breakfast and brunch. You won’t find oversized chicken and waffles or praline bacon French toast at Muscadine—just solid standbys, fried catfish to heirloom red peas, for no-frills Southern diehards. 

The compact, unassuming, one-year-old restaurant received a serious endorsement from Esquire in October 2015, when they named it one of their Best New Restaurants in America, thanks in large part to former food writer and meat zealot Josh Ozersky. Still, Musadine has yet to reach Screen Door-level hysteria, meaning you won’t wait longer than 15-minutes for a prime Sunday table.

Anything from the deep-fryer is worth trying. The fried catfish, served with a “Nashville Hot,” option, is devilishly spicy, with a craggy cornmeal crust and flaky flesh. The buttermilk fried chicken is some of the best in the city, with dark, crackling skin that gives way to juicy, addictive meat underneath. Two to three sides come with each. Opt for the earthy, Anson Mills sea island red peas, the thick, toothsome gravy, pocked with nubs of sausage, or the tangy, braised collard greens. So far, baked goods are the weak link, with dense, cakey biscuits and crumbly, dry cornbread. 

Hiccups aside, Muscadine deserves a slot on your weekly brunch rotation. It's a neighborhood gem built for devotees of tireless regional Southern cooking, with enough yum-factor to satisfy the bacon, egg, and cheese set. 

1465 NE Prescott St, Ste. F
Wed - Mon:  8 am - 2 pm

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