By Cat Wurdack
4612 SE Hawthorne Blvd.
Happy hour: Tues. – Fri., 4:30 pm – 6:30 pm
Tues. – Thurs. 4:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Fri. 4:30 pm – 10 pm
Sat. 5 pm – 10 pm
A fado is a sad Portuguese folk song, yet there is no reason to be sad at Fado on Hawthorne unless the last made-to-order dessert donuts have been served and not to you.
It is remarkable how flour + water + egg transform into sweet clouds of goodness in the right hands. The plump crisp-on-the-outside, custardy-on-the-inside donuts are served in a white porcelain terrine.
There are at least six of them. They taste like really good french toast lavished with sugar and cinnamon and yes, you may eat them all yourself.
Donuts are a splendid way to signal “end of meal” or simply “yay donuts” especially if you’ve only come in for a beer and a petisco or two. In Portuguese, petisco is a snack.
For a hearty meal, consider the assador de barro. One or two linguica sausages are brought to the table in a ceramic piglet and set on fire. You turn them until evenly charred (or the fire burns out) and enjoy with whole grain mustard and a baguette.
Add an order of salt cod potato fritters (pasteis de bacalhau), a bowl of sopa de ontem or “yesterday’s soup” (potatoes, kale, white beans, linguica and chicken stock), and a glass of (red) Cigarra Tinto wine and you are fortified for another chill night in the low 30s.
Salt cod (baccala) is such a big deal in the coastal nation of Portugal that it is the national dish. Fado’s baccala com natas (cod with cream) is salt cod and diced potatoes in bechamel sauce, baked off with a nice crust so it’s crisp on top.
Chef-owner Nick Ross (“Ross”) grew up with Brazilian-Portuguese foods prepared by his Brazilian-born mom, Vivian, whose black and white Communion photo graces the bar. He studied at Western Culinary Arts in downtown Portland, and worked at Henry’s Tavern and several San Francisco restaurants before staking a claim in SE Portland.
Ross is easy to spot because he is often the tallest guy in the room and usually wears a Giants black and white baseball cap. He clearly loves people and food (and sports) and the restaurant biz: “It’s like having a dinner party every night and you never know who’s going to show up.”