Bar Casa Vale Brunch

I’ve shared previously how I enjoy the tapas and the drinks at Bar Casa Vale, but this weekend they are launching a new weekend brunch. From now on they will be serving up, in addition to their all day happy hour on Sunday, brunch from 10 AM – 3 PM on Saturdays and Sundays. I recently attended a media preview that let us share a taste of some of the offerings, so here’s my report back on some of the items. As usual, the menu is subject to change – I think they do tweak the dinner options pretty often by swapping out what is on flatbread or toast and such, so go open-minded. Based on my meal here, I am sorta thinking this is now the best hungover brunch spot in Portland.
Bar Casa Vale Brunch is served on weekends, Sat and Sun 10-3 Bar Casa Vale Brunch cocktail of Tea Cobbler with Brandy, hibiscus, and citrus Bar Casa Vale Brunch Chocolate Toast with pistachio and olive oil Bar Casa Vale Brunch Grilled Sardine Toast with potxta beans, calcot, and 'nduja
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Han Oak Brunch

There’s a dispiriting amount of authentic Asian food in Portland – many Asian restaurants and food carts serve an Americanized version based on what they think will sell based on mass expectations.  Whenever I hear of a possible sprout of authentic Asian food experience growing, I am usually quick to try to water it and hope it can flourish – and I am hoping with all my might for Han Oak, which recently poked it’s head out into Portland’s restaurant garden this past 6 or 7 months. Han Oak deserves and needs your support. I think it’s the best brunch in Portland right now – and I think it’s uniqueness would be hard to find in most other cities.
Han Oak presents a Korean brunch on Sundays offering 2-3 main dishes and then several banchan and rice on a tray so you get a little bit of everything

Han Oak is reservation only, where they only open a couple days a week for dinner service and then on Sunday offer brunch service. When you make your reservation online you pre-pay, although you can add on additional beverages or some a la carte dishes at dinner if you’d like. Dinner has been a Bo Ssäm format, but let me put a little focus on their Sunday brunch for this post. They are located at 511 NE 24th, between Pie Spot and 24th and Meatballs. Head this way towards the brown/orange doors to enter the Han Oak space with a welcoming backyard escape and a bright open room with wooden 8-top tables with bench seating and some counter seating at their open kitchen bartop.
Head this way towards the brown/orange doors to enter the Han Oak space Head this way towards the brown/orange doors to enter the Han Oak space Keep stepping through the doorway into this backyard, and the entrance to the Han Oak restaurant space is then to your right Han Oak restaurant interior space Han Oak restaurant interior space Han Oak restaurant interior space Han Oak restaurant interior space faces a quaint backyard patio area

Here’s the gloriousness of a Han Oak brunch: you don’t need to make any choices. You are going to get a little bit of everything so it’s all balanced and you get to try many things without feeling overwhelmed which generally is about 2-3 tapas sized portions (but just for you! No need to share) along with multiple banchan, or small accompanying side dishes, plus rice.
Here's the gloriousness of a Han Oak brunch: you don't need to make any choices. You are going to get a little bit of everything so it's all balanced and you get to try many things without feeling overwhelmed which generally is about 2-3 tapas sized portions (but just for you! No need to share) along with multiple banchan, or small accompanying side dishes, plus rice

For this brunch for instance, my so cool little brunch tray boasted

  • Kimchi, soy pickled vegetables, sauteed and wilted greens
    Han Oak brunch, banchan like kimchee and Sauteed and wilted greens Han Oak brunch, banchan
  • Blood cake with soft boiled egg
    Han Oak brunch, Blood cake with soft boiled egg
  • Seared albacore tuna with daikon, fingerling potatoes, romanesco cauliflower
    Han Oak brunch, Seared albacore tuna with daikon, fingerling potatoes, romanesco cauliflower
  • Savory waffle with braised pork belly, kimchi, and bean sprouts with a little dipping sauce
    Han Oak brunch, Savory waffle with braised pork belly, kimchi, and bean sprouts
  • A bowl of pork and chive dumpling soup with beef broth, rice cake, egg and nori
    Han Oak, A bowl of pork and chive dumpling soup with beef broth, rice cake, egg and nori Han Oak, A bowl of pork and chive dumpling soup with beef broth, rice cake, egg and nori
  • Korean multigrain rice, also called japgokbap
    Korean multigrain rice, also called japgokbap

The above also come with your choice of iced barley tea (the traditional Korean “water” that you should just get), or Water Avenue coffee, or cold brew. You have additionally drink options of cocktails, beer and cider, wine, soju, as well as non alcoholic beverages. For you, my readers, I sacrificed my liver to try all four of the cocktails, curated by the gifted Michelle Ruocco that included

  • The Asian Flush with gin, plum and tamari syrup, lemon, and peychauds bitter is a fun way to start brunch like a prettier cousin of usual brunch mimosa
    The Asian Flush with gin, plum and tamari syrup, lemon, and peychauds bitter is a fun way to start brunch like a prettier cousin of usual brunch mimosa at Han Oak, with drinks curated by mixologist Michelle Ruocco
  • The Sick Day with brandy, toasted rice dandelion tea, lemon, and honey brings out a slight roasty nuttiness which I really enjoyed (and go ahead and eat up the toasted rice at the end of the drink) with the waffle and the rice
    The Sick Day with brandy, toasted rice dandelion tea, lemon, and honey brings out a slight roasty nuttiness which I really enjoyed (and go ahead and eat up the toasted rice at the end of the drink) at Han Oak, with drinks curated by mixologist Michelle Ruocco
  • The Jeju with sake, nori liqueur, and pepper you can have either cold or warm – I had the warm version and it had a salty seaweedy funkiness which I loved with the dumpling soup and the tuna. This was my favorite, though it’s non-traditional flavor may not be for everyone
    The Jeju with sake, nori liqueur, and pepper you can have either cold or warm - I had the warm version and it had a salty seaweedy funkiness at Han Oak, with drinks curated by mixologist Michelle Ruocco
  • The K-Pop was how I finished my cocktail drinking at brunch, a cocktail light and refreshing so would be great as a starter as well, with soju, gin, apple, ginger, and cucumber. I wish there was a bit more ginger in this, but I really like the spiciness of ginger too so maybe that’s just me.
    The K-Pop with soju, gin, apple, ginger, and cucumber at Han Oak, with drinks curated by mixologist Michelle Ruocco

At $32 for the Korean brunch tray + bowls (with the four cocktails or other alcoholic drinks being extra) that is prix fixe and includes service, this is an insane bargain that is incredibly unique. The atmosphere feels traditional with recognizable Korean stalwarts like the kimchee and the iced barley tea and the rice or the dumpling soup, but also includes modern Northwest playful takes like the blood cake and savory waffle.

The seating feels modern and airy, but almost like dining with family and friends with the intimate atmosphere of a 5 large tables with benches, and a backyard where multiple guests’ children kicked around a beachball together. This is not an experience that you will usually find anywhere, even in larger cities with established larger Korean populations. We’re so fortunate to have this opportunity in Portland.

So what are you waiting for? Make your reservation for brunch now! Brunch is only offered on Sundays, 11 AM – 2 PM. They are also open for dinner (reservation only – make them on the website) on Friday and Saturdays 6 – 9 PM only.
Han Oak presents a Korean brunch on Sundays offering 2-3 main dishes and then several banchan and rice on a tray so you get a little bit of everything Han Oak presents a Korean brunch on Sundays offering 2-3 main dishes and then several banchan and rice on a tray so you get a little bit of everything

And aren’t those cocktails Michele created incredibly lovely? Which one would you order?

Han Oak Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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