Clyde Common is great for two reasons, a healthy selection of American Whiskey and Bourbon and a fresh and ever-changing menu.
Forget building up any suspense, the highlight of the night was the fideos with scallops, squid, beef cheek, and squid ink vinaigrette (pictured above). The depth of flavor, tender pieces of fish, succulent cheek, surrounded by a black squid ink sauce. Really, off-the-charts good. This could be my favorite dish of 2011 and we're nearly half-way through the year. It's going to take something special to outrank fideos.
The fried chicken livers came in a close second. Great fry job, even and perfectly golden brown. As if the liver didn’t have enough cholesterol, dip that fried chicken nugget into a bath of fresh aioli and see if the heart starts racing around midnight; then start to wonder if you made the right decision. Then think that more wine and a barrel aged Negroni might help power down some of that fat and cholesterol. Or was it Lipitor? I get them confused sometimes.
These fried chicken wings were good, but were they as tasty as Pok Pok? Nope, but they were good.
The pastas disappointed me. Paparedelle in beef sugo was described by Cousin Marco as “tri-tip cooked in the crock pot with bell peppers and shreaded over the the pasta”. Exactly correct Marco. I didn’t find the pasta anything more special than that. This is not to say the pasta wasn’t prepared properly, it was. But the final analysis has to be Cousin Marco’s.
The cavatelli with ramps, asparagus, fava, ricotta, and walnuts was muddled. My first clue that it was overly complicated pasta should have come from the “V” warning on the menu. “V” for Vegetarian. Maybe “OPV” would have been more appropriate, Overwrought Portland Vegetarian. Cavatelli with fresh fava and ricotta splashed with virgin oil would have been more Italian.
The service we had that night was top-notch. Never felt neglected and each dish was served hot; no waiting in the window. It can be busy and there is the community table, so if noise and dining with people you don't know aren't your things, Portland is a big city.
I like Clyde Common. I like the atmosphere, the bourbon, the barrel-aged Negroni, and the food. I just might think twice before I order pasta again, but I'll certainly come back when I'm in Portland.