For five years now, Taqueria Nueve has had the distinct pleasure of offering Portlanders a sophisticated opportunity: re-imagining Mexican cuisine that is at once innovative and authentic in its range of palate thrills. Under the watchful eye of chef Billy Schumaker—who has a stellar free-range, organic sensibility—this often crowded neighborhood establishment is consistently on the mark. You'll experience vivid flavors in everything from the enchilada (the usual gravy boat of sauce is replaced with green tomatillo, cilantro, queso fresco or a spicy tomato-and-chile sauce) to the more exotic fare, like wild-boar taco, the coctel de pulpo (octopus, a house specialty) and tortitas de yuca (cassava root fritters with crème fraîche—a Mexican hush puppy of sorts). Looking for something a little more meaty? The bistec del nueve (grilled hanger steak over a Oaxacan pasilla chile sauce) or the mole poblano con pollito is a must (if it's on the menu), as are the desserts, especially the coconut ice cream. A very knowledgeable staff is willing to go the extra distance for a good experience, even under great pressure to turn over tables—and that can make all the difference. (TD)