Bao Bao, is award winning chef Cara Stadler’s entry into Portland’s restaurant scene. A lot has been written about Chef Stadler’s first restaurant Tao Yuan, and I am sure the accolades will continue to follow for this latest venture. The restaurant is nicely decorated and very well laid out, offering substantially more personal space than most of Portland’s newer dining options. While the prices are so reasonably, it’s hard not to stop in daily.
We have dined here several times and loved it. The purpose our latest visit was to try their highly anticipated brunch menu. We began with the excellent scorpion bowl, a very tasty drink. I can’t imagine a more festive/fun cocktail to enjoy with a meal. This happiness factor was compounded when we saw the wonderful brunch additions to the menu. Limiting our selection proved difficult and we ended up ordering quite a feast: shrimp soup dumplings, pork belly fun roll(insanely good), steamed pork bun,Asian slaw, and pan fried pork dumplings. As you will see from the photos that follow each dish was beautifully presented. I am happy to confirm that every plate tasted even better than it looked. The soup dumplings were so rich, with the wrapper having an unparalleled creamy texture. The burst of broth added a bright burst of flavor to the happy bites. The pork belly fun roll may be the most accurately named dish in Portland. It consisted of a rice/tapioca wrapping filled with the most tender flavorful slice of pork belly that I have had in recent memory. It was a welcome change to the ever present crispy fried offering that has become so commonplace. Similar for the steamed pork bun, it’s beautiful presentation made it so much more satisfying than other versions. The salad as I have mentioned was not only satisfying but served as a nice break between rounds of beautiful dumplings and buns.