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Fearless Critic restaurant review
Casual restaurant

Mon, Wed–Fri 4:00pm–9:30pm
Sat–Sun 10:00am–2:00pm
Sat–Sun 4:00pm–9:30pm

Bar Beer, wine, liquor
Credit cards Visa, MC, AmEx
Reservations Not accepted


Alberta Arts District
2930 NE Killingsworth St.
Portland, OR
(503) 206-8261
Lovely pub grub, beer, and...what else might you need?

You might love the name of this brand-new British restaurant. You also might hate it. Either way, the intention seems to be to engage with the innard-glorifying culinary avant-garde while slyly acknowledging the days when overeating wasn’t such a hot-button issue.

The same might be said for Fats’ entire concept. The gleamingly renovated restaurant—bar in back, beautiful beer taps effortlessly marrying the British with the Oregonian, floor-to-ceiling windows, all of it just a bit too cool for school—is situated in what the restaurant group refers to as the “Fox-Chase Addition,” a gentrifying little intersection of NE 30th Ave. and NE Killingsworth, just north of the Alberta Arts District, which scores the place even more trendy points.

Even more tellingly, Fats is owned by the same hip-dining tycoon as nearby Beast, Yakuza, and DOC, and it clearly forms part of the defiant meat movement that is sweeping Portland. This menu is unapologetically food-nerdy, which means that it honors the sort of British nose-to-tail cuisine that, after decades as the pathetic loser of the culinary world, is suddenly in fashion.

Bangers and mash, for instance, has been heroically recast into the mainstream of this new culinary order—not just at Fats, but all over the place—for its relentlessly traditional protein-and-starchness. The dish is well executed here—sausage is juicy, mashed potatoes speak cleanly and clearly. We’re delighted by the authentic appearance of the London pub food par excellence: chicken tikka masala.

Looking beyond British borders to other places where the Queen appears on the currency, Fats has also jumped on the poutine bandwagon. Poutine is one of those lesser-known preparations from lesser-known regions—in this case, Québec—that have been elevated to cult status by virtue of their audacious levels of fat, cholesterol, and calories. That’s not to say that poutine isn’t a delicious indulgence; it always has been. It’s simply to say that the sudden popularity of the dish is laughably faddish. Fats’ version tries to do too much with it, however, replacing the classic cheese curds with goat cheese, dressing the fries with bacon and poached egg, making it even more overrich than real poutine—and less satisfying. Bone marrow on toast is also overwrought, this time by a salty excess of capers.

Sexy modern trends work better when more careful execution is there.

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