Sunday, January 5, 2014

Sunday Brunch at Cafe Nell

So Sunday brunch found me at Cafe Nell. I had heard of Cafe Nell for about a year, but didn't really know where it was. It turns out I have driven/run/walked past Cafe Nell probably a dozen times, but had just never noticed it. It's in a rather nondescript little building in a mostly residential area. 

It has a super charming and cozy interior, with a HUGE fireplace (it was raging when I arrived, but by the time I went to take a photo it was a million degrees and they had let the fire die down. 

They have a great bar area, nice and long and perfect for people watching.

T and I sat in the dining room area of the restaurant, within reach of the blazing fire. 

T started off with the girliest of drinks on the menu, disguised as a manly drink, the "Bro-llini".. ($12.00), sparkling wine and peach puree in a pint glass. It was... gross. He's not one to leave alcohol in a glass, and he barely touched it. I tried it, and while I didn't find it offensive, it definitely isn't something I would ever order. 

I went for Cafe Nell's signature cocktail, the Mary Nell ($12.00 +2 to add bacon). I often say that the best part of a Bloody Mary is the garnish, and Cafe Nell didn't disappoint, this was pretty much a meal on a glass. Pickled green beans, cocktail onion, pepperoncini, green olive, celery stick, shrimp, chorizo, cheddar cheese and bacon. It was ridiculous, but also fun to nibble on. Unfortunately the Bloody Mary inside left a lot to be desired. I like a spicy Bloody Mary, like the ones at Lardo or Irving Street Kitchen - this one was just too bland. 

In a move that practically shocked me out of my chair, T bypassed the Creme Anglaise French Toast and went for a more grown up brunch choice, the Bacon, Tomato and Blue Omelet ($12.50). He asked twice for butter and jelly for his toast (because he couldn't go a meal without giving himself diabetes), unfortunately the server seemed to hate him and it wasn't brought to the table until he had finished his omelet and potatoes, but at least it arrived. 

I ordered the Shaved Ham and Gruyere Benedict ($15.00). It was good as Benedicts go, not a standout by any means, but not awful either. The ham was incredibly salty, which is just how I like it, but I feel like it might be a little too much salt for most people. I did not care for the potatoes at all. They were dry and seemed under cooked. 

Our server was rude and aloof during the entire meal, and was talking about other guests with another server within earshot of our table. I wanted to say something to him about how tacky this behavior was, but of course didn't say a word. 

I was very underwhelmed with the entire brunch experience at Cafe Nell - but I will definitely be returning to try their normal menu, as they have some very interesting items, like fries with clams - yes please!

If you'd like to check out Cafe Nell for yourself their website is They are located at 1987 NW Kearney Street in Portland. They are open Monday - Friday from 11:00am - 10:00pm, Saturday from 9:00am - 10:00pm and Sunday from 9:00am - 2:00pm. 

Cafe Nell on Urbanspoon

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