Portland >Food & Dining > Papa Haydn
5829 SE Milwaukie Ave, Portland, OR | Directions 9720245.480393 -122.649646
Neighborhoods: Sellwood - Moreland Improvement League, Southeast Uplift Neighborhood Program
Nice outdoor setting on SE Milwaukie and wonderful desserts, though very few are gluten free. My husband ordered the chocolate mint tort which is gluten free except for the outside edge, and we were told by the server that I could have a few bites from the middle, which I did. Delicious! I ordered a shrimp salad and was assured that it and the dressing were gluten free. All was well until the next day when I experienced a major gluten reaction. I called the manager and graciously explained what happened, but she was less than gracious and slammed down the phone when we ended the call. Apparently the server was supposed to tell me they can't guarantee that their GF food is gluten free, but she didn't. I understand why this restaurant gets low ratings for service and have no plans to return.
Like the food here a lot, but today's terrible service experience pretty much wiped out a decade of good will. Our lunch order (four sandwiches and salad) took over 45 minutes, and after about the first 10 we never saw our waiter again. He was hiding in the kitchen. We finally sent somebody to ask about our food. Tables around us were seated, served and cashed out while we waited for our food.
I understand kitchens get backed up or make mistakes or lose orders, but the absolute lack of communication about the delay was profoundly irritating. I had to leave to get back to work so was not the one to settle the bill, but this is the first time since the mid 1990's that I would have deliberate zeroed a tip.
I do not recommend Papa Haydn's any more. They have a severe kitchen problem compounded by a severe server training problem.
Est. in 1985 Papa Haydn's cozy Sellwood spot ditches NW's pretentiousness, maintaining their flavor-infused cuisine, and irresistible desserts. An ideal way to end an afternoon of antique and boutique browsing.
Overpriced and pretentious – I've been to the Papa Hadyn on Milwaukie Ave. only two times, but both were bad experiences, so I will not be returning.
I first went several years ago when I got a gift certificate. I called an order in for take-out, but when I went in, I ended up having to wait for 30 mins. for my good (all I ordered was a sandwich and hot cocoa).
I went again just last week with a large group of friends who had made a reservation for 9pm. The waitress was very rude and seemed pissed to be serving us (although we had reservations, so it wasn't a surprise or something). The service was very slow (despite being fairly empty), and the food wasn't very good for the price. I got the fondue, which was not good, and I was less than impressed with the cake (go to Rose's for good cake and not for some tiny sliver that costs $8!).
I ordered some chocolate torte cake to go, the lady brought it back labeled as another cake, I clarified that I wanted the chocolate torte, and she got snippy and said it IS the chocolate torte!, instead of admitting that she'd labeled it incorrectly.
To add insult to injury, checked my bank statement yesterday and realized that the waitress had charged me THREE times. Ugh, never returning again.
Disappointed – I must admit I was psyched to try out Papa Haydn after hearing glowing reviews from several other Portlanders. Unfortunately, I found the experience fell flat of the hype.
My issues with Papa Haydn can be summed into three points:
First, it is the mark of a good pastry chef to balance and accentuate the unique flavors of their creation through proper proportioning of each component. Unfortunately, this was not the case at Papa Haydn. The two desserts we tried (Raspberry Gateaux and Autumn Meringue) seemed as if the proportions of different component had been determined either by aesthetics or by whim alone. The gateaux was disappointingly dry and lack luster and relied on the raspberries and raspberry sauce, of which there was depressingly little, to create moisture and interest. The Meringue, on the other hand, was overwhelmingly rich and sweet, and suffered from an excess of chocolate "mousse" and, again, a lack of zippy raspberry sauce to counter-balance it. The meringue, which had exquisite texture, was almost lost in the layers of mousse, and its subtle orange flavor went unnoticed until almost half of the dessert had been eaten. Also, saucing seemed more about appearance than taste. Chocolate sauce was squiggled in the common, extraneous way across most plates I saw come out of the kitchen, despite the fact that it detracted noticeably from both of the desserts we ordered.
Second, a good dessert should always leave you wanting one more bite. You should crave a return visit to your patisserie almost before you leave it. Unfortunately when a dessert, and particularly a very rich dessert like those at Papa Haydn, is very large the diner is able to indulge the desire to eat "one more bite" and actually eat the dreaded "one bite too many". This leaves one, at the least, wishing they had eaten one bite less and, at worst, leaves one wishing they hadn't come for dessert at all. Thus was my experience at Papa Haydn. When our desserts came out, I was shocked by the enormity of each (in fact, my date remarked that they looked more like "cheese cake factory"-sized desserts). Besides the classlessness of their appearance, the desserts were so large that, my appreciation of each suffered from over indulgence. I do realize that Papa Haydn creates most of their desserts in large cake form, as opposed to in individual servings, which is a great time/cost cutting measure- a savings which they seem to pass on to the customer through their enormous portions. However, I think that if Papa Haydn were to cut the size of their desserts in half, they would been much better for it.
Third, and this is a most minor point, the desserts were not properly represented by their descriptions. As someone who has extensively studied and eaten French pastries (mostly in France), I have very defined expectations about the application of certain French terms. For example, when I order a dessert that is described as including layers of pot de crème and chocolate mousse, I do not expect to experience any confusion about which is intended to be which. I do appreciate the right of each chef to express themselves creatively through their medium, but I also expect to be handed the dessert described to me. It's not a big deal if the dessert doesn't exactly match some French standard, just use a different word to describe it.
I must say the ambiance was very pleasant, with a very welcoming lighting scheme and a cohesive design concept. Wait staff was terse, but not unpleasant overall. Gluten-free options were plentiful and well marked.
Hamburger & Fries Are The Best! – Although a big fan of their desserts, I also love their burgers and fries. Fun atmosphere and the staff is always terrific. Excell wine list, really one of my favorite restaurants in town.
Wonderful Variety – What a wonderful treasure. I adore resturants that use healthy local ingrediants. A wonderful variety to choose from. The salmon I chose was cooked perfectly. Light & delicate, not overly seasoned. BTW... I parked on the side street, very close and felt safe in this charming neighborhood. Today was my first time here, and I am looking forward to going back. Creative Chef, great cook, lovely service.
Excellent – Have been coming here for about 10 years, it is 100% consistant all the time. Great food, Great Service and Great Desserts!
Loved our wedding cake!! – We loved our wedding cake! It tasted delicious and everyone complimented on it.
We can't wait until our 1 year anniversary for our free one! :)
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