Friday, November 22, 2013

Tad's Chicken 'n Dumplins

One of many historic photos of Tad's Chicken 'n Dumplins
Tad's Chicken 'n Dumplins in Troutdale home to drinkers, romantics, scenery-lovers and more
Sitting on a lonely and pretty stretch of the East Historic Columbia River Highway, Tad's looks like a welcoming lodge. A lodge decorated in knotty pine and punctuated with dried gourds, a liquor still and life-size wooden Native American. Drinkers gravitate toward the room with the enormous bar. Romantics toward the room with the fireplace. And scenery-lovers, the room at the back where you can see the twinkle of the river through the tangle of trees. But, no matter where you sit, your meal starts with a crudites platter complete with a tangy, can't-stop-eating dill ranch house dressing and pillowy rolls brought to the table warm enough to toast chilled fingers.
Not to miss: The general rule is the smart diner never went wrong ordering the specialty of the house. And the rule holds true here, with the original chicken 'n dumplins ($14.50). Enough food to feed two (or one, today and tomorrow), the meal starts with your choice of soup or salad and includes chicken, dumplings and green beans. The vegetables are forgettable, but the chicken is a feast of skinless dark and white meat stewed until fork-tender; the two enormous dumplings, each larger than our fist, are shot through with rich chicken flavor; and the chicken gravy, thanks to its secret ingredient, is pure umami. (The secret ingredient? Duck fat.)
Bargains: The portions are so enormous you could make a satisfying meal out of an appetizer, such as the deep-fried zucchini ($5.50) for which several small -- or one enormous -- zucchinis were sacrificed so you could have a platter overflowing with thick spears of zucchini fried to creamy doneness and served with that addictive dill ranch.
Details: 1325 E. Historic Columbia River Highway, Troutdale; 503-666-5337;tadschicdump.com; 5-10 p.m. Mondays-Fridays, 4-10 p.m. Saturdays-Sundays

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