Mekong Bistro claims to be Portland's only Cambodian restaurant, and I'm willing to bite. From a brief visit at happy hour—midweek that means from 3 to 6 p.m., perfect for those able to get their drink on early—the cocktail and beer specials are good and the snackage is abundant. But if you want to order some plates to share off the main menu, you'll be amply rewarded with authentic, intensely flavored treats not found on other menus, and nowhere are they executed any better.
Another must-have is the Angel Chicken Wings (above left), painstakingly deboned and stuffed-to-bursting with ground pork, silver noodles, onions and carrot served with a sweet and sour sauce. (Be afraid, Pok Pok, be very afraid.) Myself, I'm going back for the somlaw maju kreoung, called watercress soup on the menu, a brilliant green broth of greens and beef redolent of tamarind and kaffir lime.
If you go, while the menu also features some Thai-inflected items like pad thai, ask to be pointed in the direction of the Cambodian specials like the chicken salad called nyum that I've heard is also, well, yummy. You'll be in for a rare trip through a Cambodia long gone.
Details: Mekong Bistro, 8200 NE Siskiyou St. 503-265-8972.
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Casba Mediterranean Cafe in Old Town across from the NW Natural Gas building.
Good homemade food, honeyed tea served on a silver tray, all for a song? This is my kind of place.
Details: Casba Mediterranean Cafe, 201 NW Davis St. 971-544-0875.