I am writing this post while on hold with my health insurance company. I just thought you should know that. And it’s snowing outside. Little bitty flakes, nothing like the giant snowball-like flakes that fell for approximately 10 minutes yesterday here in Portland. But still. Snow.
A couple of weeks ago, when my dad and Darla came to town, we had to have the famous “where will we eat” discussion. Brunch was a big deal for us because I work on weekends, so brunch was the kind of normal meal we could eat. (We ate other normal meals, they were just very late, much later than normal dinnertime.) I had heard great things about Ataula, a new-ish tapas restaurant in NW Portland, and after glancing at their brunch menu, decided we should try it.
Having heard great things about Ataula, I expected it to be full – I mean, you know Portland at brunch. Or maybe you don’t, so I’ll just say that sometimes people wait an hour and a half or two hours for a good brunch. Seriously. Anyway, I was surprised and a little saddened that upon arrival at around 10:30, there were plenty of open tables. I nabbed one, and while we waited for Dad and Darla to arrive, we admired the space. The room is very open, and very bright thanks to two big skylights. I loved the decor, particularly the light fixtures – it felt like a kind of funky little bistro. Once my parents arrived, we got down to examining the menu. (Please forgive the crummy iPhone photos.)
We started healthy, with a light salad, and then moved onto the croquetas, or salt cod fritters, with aioli. The salad was dressed perfectly, and a great little start to the meal. The croquetas were lovely – really salty and fishy, perfectly crispy on the outside, and the aoili brought a nice touch of heat to the bite.
We got two “tortillas,” which were like a small frittata: one potato for the vegetarian among us, and one chorizo. Both were delicious, but I certainly preferred the chorizo, as I found the potato to be a little bland. The chorizo was better, with some spice and lots of flavor. I also really enjoyed the toasted bread rubbed with tomato that the tortillas came with.
We also enjoyed a sausage dish with catalan beans, shoestring fries, and pickled onions. I am not generally a big fan of sausage, but I really liked this dish. The sausage was cooked well, not too fatty, and very rich. The beans were delicious – I could’ve eaten a whole bowl of them, and the fries and onions were a nice little touch on the side.
Lastly, we went for something on the sweet side: churros with dipping chocolate. The churros didn’t have the crunch I usually like, and could have done with a bit more frying time. But the combination of the warm doughy churros with the dark, almost bitter dipping chocolate with fleur de sel was a great way to end the meal.
While I certainly enjoyed some aspects of the meal – namely the sausage dish and the croquetas – a few of the dishes seemed like they could benefit from a little more seasoning. I’m not sure I would go back for brunch, especially with the plethora of options in Portland for that weekend meal, but I would certainly like to try it again for dinner.