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Besaws Cafe


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#1 Maude L.

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Posted 27 July 2007 - 02:35 PM

Besaw's has been mentioned repeatedly on PF but I couldn't find a thread devoted to it, so here it is. Feel free to merge if necessary.

Besaw's Cafe
2301 NW Savier
Tel. 503-228-2619 / Fax 503-224-4859
contact@besaws.com

Mon: 7am-3pm
Tue-Fri: 7am-10pm
Sat: 8am-10pm
Sun: 8am-3pm

visit http://www.besaws.com/ for menu

My dad and his girlfriend took me to Besaw's for lunch on Wednesday to celebrate my 21st birthday. It was... an interesting experience. Apparently, they go to Besaw's often for dinner and enjoy the food/atmosphere. Last time they had dinner there, they asked to see the drink menu and specifically asked if drinks would be available at lunch. Their server told them that someone would be available to mix drinks at lunch.

We were seated on the patio for lunch, which was nice, but I thought service was a little slow given how the restaurant was relatively empty. We asked for drink menus which our server brought to us, but he told us that the bartender was only available for dinner. (Then why give us the drink menus?, I wondered.) My dad's girlfriend asked if it would be possible to get cocktails anyway and the server went to check with the owner. He reported back to us that yes, someone was there who could mix drinks, but I was dubious. I ordered something called the "Aunalicious", which was supposed to be strawberries with citrus juice and vodka. I got a martini glass with some opaque liquid and two strawberry slices floating in it. It tasted watery.

My server asked me how I liked the drink and I was honest-- I told him I didn't care for it much. He said that the drink usually received mixed responses but no worries, because it was on the house. I tried a kamikaze and didn't like it much either -- too sour. The food was decent. I had a chicken caesar salad with fresh romaine lettuce, a grilled chicken breast (no disembodied chicken chunks but an actual breast cut into strips), homemade dressing and parmesan. For dessert, I ordered a piece of chocolate cake which they served with a little candle in it and they even sang happy birthday.

Overall, it was a mixed experience. The food was good, the service was okay, the drinks were unimpressive. When we got the bill, though, I noticed that my drinks-- which I thought had been comped-- were still on there. The only thing they comped was the chocolate cake. Which wasn't a big deal, I guess, but it kind of sucked that the server told me that my drink would be complimentary when it wasn't.

My dad and his girlfriend insist that Besaw's is better for dinner. I hope they're right.

#2 LadyConcierge

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Posted 27 July 2007 - 03:02 PM

It used to be a regular breakfast spot for me when I lived in the area - cream cheese omelets and potatoes. A regular guest at the hotel I used to work loved the steaks at Besaw's and ate there three times a week. I had the tiramisu once for dessert and it was one of the best I've ever had. Too bad about your lunch though! Happy Birthday!

#3 Knobcreeky

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Posted 27 July 2007 - 03:44 PM

I am old enough to remember the days when Besaw's was a 24 hour diner type of place that we would go to after bartending. Solid egg-potato-protein or burger or sandwich but nothing special. Then they changed and went a little upscale and, while they still do an OK roast chicken, I feel they have been outpaced by the competition by a long shot. I haven't been for a couple of years but there are plenty of other spots I would go to first. That being said- it does have a large and loyal following that will call ahead on weekend mornings to get their name on the list before they get there. They are coasting on their reputation but they are busy so what the hell- live and let live.

Regarding the drinks- I have a solid rule- no bartender, no mixed drinks. Of course I rarely drink anything other than straight bourbon or bourbon and soda so I don't have to worry too much. Many people think they can make drinks by following the recipe but, like everything else, it takes some practice. I can't imagine what my first year of drink slinging tasted like but I do remember some skrunched up faces and eyes bugging out of peoples heads.
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#4 ExtraMSG

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Posted 27 July 2007 - 07:19 PM

Another good report. Thanks for including all the basic info, too.

The greatest service chemistry has rendered to alimentary science, is the discovery of osmazome, or rather the determination of what it was. ~Brillat-Savarin

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Formerly, Kenny & Zuke's


#5 Gugelhupf

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Posted 28 July 2007 - 09:30 AM

I believe there's a new chef there who started just this year.

~A~

#6 chris pez

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Posted 28 July 2007 - 12:36 PM

I am old enough to remember the days when Besaw's was a 24 hour diner type of place that we would go to after bartending. Solid egg-potato-protein or burger or sandwich but nothing special.


i remember working there then.

here's a little clue about how far portland has come in regards to food. one year i was working at besaw's WW voted us "best fries" or something like that. our fries were frozen and out of a bag. of course, reading the WW best of thread i guess this could still happen.
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#7 ExtraMSG

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Posted 30 May 2010 - 11:37 AM

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Couldn't find parking around Everett Street Bistro the other day, so I decided to check out the menu at Besaws and see if they had a burger worth trying. From the sound of it on the menu, they did.

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I love their classic bar seating.

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I've been on an informal quest to find the best sides for burgers, not just the best burgers, so we started with the onion rings. They came with an unexpectedly sweet sauce, but the real problem was the breading. Perhaps it was just us, but we both thought it tasted undercooked. It didn't look undercooked. It flaked off the onions, was light and crisp. It tasted like it had cornmeal and that the cornmeal just wasn't cooked enough, though, giving it a dusty feel on the tongue. To their supreme credit, when they noticed that we only ate a couple of them, they asked if we liked them, and when we said we didn't, they insisted taking them off the bill. I told them that it was okay, that it might just be us, that they seemed cooked fine. They still took them off the bill.

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We got the burger with fries. Fries were hand-cut but mostly soft, some soggy.

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Burger comes with lettuce, roasted tomato, white cheddar, caramelized onion, and dill pickle slices. We added bacon.

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Burger was cooked medium, very nicely seasoned, and had a good char. It was pretty juicy, too. There was plenty of cheddar, but it didn't entirely come through. The thick, crisp bacon was nice, though. But the star of the burger was the roasted tomato. Nice, concentrated tomato flavor, sweet and kind of earthy. So much better than all the under-ripe tomatos on burgers around town right now. Caramelized onions were truly caramelized and there were plenty of them. The sour dill slices, which seemed like the could have been made in house, did a nice job of countering all the sweet and creamy elements. But was very well toasted and held up throughout.

The greatest service chemistry has rendered to alimentary science, is the discovery of osmazome, or rather the determination of what it was. ~Brillat-Savarin

Nick Zukin, Mi Mero Mole

Co-Author, Artisan Jewish Deli at Home

Formerly, Kenny & Zuke's


#8 janeannechovy

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Posted 02 June 2010 - 01:45 PM

Besaws is a neighborhood joint for me, and we've been going there off and on for ten years, including a few years off after I had a bad after-experience while pregnant (the chef at that time had a really heavy hand with the black pepper, on every non-dessert dish).

We've been a couple of times in the last six-nine months, and found things in pretty good shape. The fries (which hadn't been on the menu until recently; they used to serve "home fries" which were pretty undistinguished) could stand some improvement. They're pretty good about accommodating kids (though their coloring provisions have gone downhill--I liked it better when they had plain paper placemats instead of preprinted coloring sheets, and the current color selection is weak), but a kids' hamburger really needs to be smaller, not just condiment-less. If a kid can eat a whole third-pound burger, odds are he or she is not ordering off the kids' menu any more.

#9 Angelhair

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Posted 06 April 2011 - 07:35 AM

Went here recently, and feel compelled to spread the word on one dish: an app., their POTATO AND HERB CAKES - prosciutto, Gruyere, kale, egg sunny-side up. When it comes to most anything these days, and especially when it comes to hearty greens, I am like the Portlandia skit. Put an egg on it!

The rest of what we ordered was fine, excepting their 'deconstructed blue cheese salad' (which I wouldn't order again). I had a pan roasted chicken with a nicely crackling skin. But that one dish makes a visit to Besaw's worth it.


BTW, entrees are huge here. Be prepared to take half home. The place is empty in the evenings...no long wait outside the door as with brunch. $4 pints FTW and a pretty low mark-up on vino.

#10 jennifer

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Posted 17 December 2015 - 02:45 PM

Well this should be interesting!  Reopening a couple of blocks from St Jack with Dustin Clark in the kitchen and a lot of Wildwood + Besaw's staff. 

 

http://pdx.eater.com...land-restaurant

 

 

The new faces at the restaurant will be familiar to many, too: Dustin Clark, the former executive chef of Wildwood, will helm the kitchen, and Savanna Ray, the former Wildwood sommelier, is managing the bar program. Flug says that around fifteen former Wildwood staff have joined Besaw's and that Clark will actually bring back some Wildwood dishes. The new Besaw's will be a more casual neighborhood spot, with a menu that "meets Wildwood in the middle," says Flug.



#11 truth

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Posted 17 January 2016 - 08:52 PM

Really excited about this place and the return of some of the food/cooking from Wildwood. 

 

Anyone know whats going on in the cool space on the south side of this block? It has great floor to ceiling sliding windows. The OLCC application says undecided trade name but the owners of the business are "Strike Force Inc. " They are going for a full liquor license. 


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#12 Angelhair

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Posted 18 January 2016 - 11:56 AM

Really excited about this place and the return of some of the food/cooking from Wildwood. 

 

Anyone know whats going on in the cool space on the south side of this block? It has great floor to ceiling sliding windows. The OLCC application says undecided trade name but the owners of the business are "Strike Force Inc. " They are going for a full liquor license. 

 

Is that where Breakside is going? http://www.newschool...nd-brewpub.html



#13 truth

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Posted 18 January 2016 - 12:39 PM

Really excited about this place and the return of some of the food/cooking from Wildwood. 

 

Anyone know whats going on in the cool space on the south side of this block? It has great floor to ceiling sliding windows. The OLCC application says undecided trade name but the owners of the business are "Strike Force Inc. " They are going for a full liquor license. 

 

Is that where Breakside is going? http://www.newschool...nd-brewpub.html

 

No I believe they are on the NW corner of the building that has the New Seasons in it. 


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