Good Morning, Accanto

Find my published version of this article in the Vanguard here

Portland breakfast restaurants are a bummer. I’m not talking about the food, or even the

Photo by Saria Dy

service when I say that. What I mean is, if it’s the weekend and you and your friends want any kind of breakfast—from plates of potatoes washed down with Bloody Marys or a special three-course experience with house-made bacon and champagne, you’re out of luck unless you’re ready to sit and wait.

But, don’t give up just yet.

Comune Accanto, also known as Accanto to most of its diners, has a brunch that hasn’t quite been tapped yet. Saturdays are slower than Sundays, though it is possible to come in on either weekend day and fully enjoy your breakfast without a huge side of standing in the rain.

The lack of line is certainly not the only reason to brunch at Accanto. The food served is elegant and uncomplicated, yet it’s completely affordable at the same time. For example, on a recent menu you can find an asparagus frittata with morels, leeks and truffled mascarpone for $9, compared to other spots in Portland where you’ll get a big plate of eggs, potatoes, and toast for the same price. Accanto delivers—without the gut bomb, and once again, without the line.

Perhaps you do want a hangover-fighting brunch on your plate. Not a problem. You can still get rich dishes like panatone French toast or croque madame and wash it down with the Belmont Bloody Mary—which is made with tomato thyme juice.

It’s just that all of these dishes are made with a little more restraint. Your brunch will still be filling, but in that satisfying “I just had some really well-prepared food” kind of way.

Other standout dishes include the bucatini carbonara, which happens to capture the exact definition of al dente with just enough guanciale (that’s Italian for fatty perfect pork). Also try the breakfast strata, stuffed with greens and creamy chevre, served atop a swirl of marinara. And make sure to get your hands on any breads—whether it be sage biscuits or brioche—they’re all house-made and light.

On the lighter side, start with the apricot mimosa, which is made with the apricot purée that many Italians start their day with, then finished with prosecco and amaretto. For your meal, try the creamy polenta with sautéed greens and a poached egg, made special with just a drizzle of chili oil.

So, for a lineless, well thought-out meal, Accanto could be your new brunch spot. Just don’t tell anyone else.

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