Clyde Common was one of our Portland favourites. We enjoyed it so much that we went there for dinner twice during our 4 night stay. We stayed at Hotel Modera which is only 15 minutes way by foot or by riding the Portland Streetcar. Conveniently, the streetcar is only two blocks away from Hotel Modera and stops right on the corner of SW Stark & 10th where Clyde Common is. Tip: public transit in downtown Portland is free. We didn’t save any time by taking transit but it kept us out of the rain and conserved some energy – both must dos when travelling with a little one who likes to be carried half the way.
Clyde Common neatly describes itself as “a European style tavern serving delicious food and drinks in a casual and energizing space.” The space is wide open with long communal tables, an open kitchen and a long bar area. There’s also a second floor overlooking the whole restaurant. We sat upstairs both times.
The first time we went, it was towards the end of Happy Hour (which is served 3-6 PM). We tend to dine early nowadays and getting to order from a Happy Hour menu was a nice bonus. Most restaurants in Portland have Happy Hour which is not something that is common, at all, in Vancouver. We got to save $3 per drink on our first round and got Luna started with some fries for only $3. The burger, at only $6, looked deliciously tempting but we decided to wait for the more creative dinner menu. I ordered Cream of Mushroom Soup and Fried Rabbit with Sausage Gravy, Potatoes, Beans, Dijon cream. Nerissa ordered the Buckwheat Cavatelli with Pickled Fennel, Oxtail, Chèvre. The Mushroom Soup was one of the best mushroom soups I’ve had because of its fresh and hearty mushroom flavor. Shreds of kale added for a surprising contrast in texture and bitterness. The Fried Rabbit is Clyde Common’s interpretation of classic Southern Fried Chicken. The rabbit tastes…just like fried chicken but not as oily, no real surprises there. The sausage gravy was amazing and tasted great with the potatoes & beans with dijon cream. The combination of the gravy and potatoes and dijon cream was one of the best bites on the trip. It was a take on mashed potatoes and country gravy; comfy food but with a creative twist. The Buckwheat Cavatelli with pickled fennel reminded me of a German spaetzle with sauerkraut. I’m not sure if that’s the inspiration but it would fit in with Clyde Common’s “Domestic & Foreign Cooking” concept. The plump, doughy pasta had the same texture as spaetzle dumplings and the sourness/texture of the pickled fennel was reminiscent of sauerkraut. The Chèvre goat cheese gave the dish some earthiness and the saucy oxtail added extra savoriness. There’s a lot going on. It’s a good dish, but if you don’t like sour notes or if you don’t like too many disparate flavors going into your dish, you should try something else. Or, if your name starts with “Ner” and ends with “issa”. We ended up trading mains. I still want my potatoes back. There’s no kids menu but the Cheese Board with local honey, summer jam and walnut bread was perfect for Luna.
What brought us back the second time on our short visit was the ambience of the room and the atmosphere of the space. It’s dark, intimate and lively. With Luna in tow, we always end up back at the hotel before the night really heats up. So, we wanted a sure thing one our last night – good food, fun vibes. Being in a room as fun and lively as Clyde Common allows us to live vicariously through others with more laissez faire schedules. By the time we were done our meals and on our way, we had soaked up enough merriment for the day while breathing in the energy of those who would stay behind and celebrate well into the night.