Noon-7 pm Wednesday-Sunday. $ Inexpensive.
[SPANISH SNACKS] Large windows pour light onto Evoe’s long, broad lunch counter, where bowls of fresh fruit, a tower of chipped plates and tureens of pickled vegetables are all that separate diners from chef Kevin Gibson as he executes one perfect knife stroke after another. Preparing trim salads and sandwiches for either lunch or early dinner, Gibson relies mostly on simple raw ingredients. If he’s out of peaches for the glacier lettuce, peach and speck salad ($9), he might hold up an apricot with an inquisitive smile and ask if you mind the substitution. You will not. Innovative uses of straightforward ingredients, like raw artichoke in a salad with thinly sliced fennel and salty Italian bacon ($8), are the norm. Gibson ensures that each ingredient is both true to itself and selfless in the dish’s marriage of flavors, making Evoe one of the most consistently excellent places to dine in Portland. There is no fancy tableware, and a chalkboard takes the place of a printed menu to accommodate the fresh ingredients of the day. Casual, intimate, cheerful, reverent—Evoe achieves the paradox of elevating food without any extraneous effort. HANNA NEUSCHWANDER.
Ideal meal: Go with a friend or loved one, order any three dishes (everything is priced between $6 and $13), and share.
Best deal: For the quality of both the ingredients and the preparation, everything on the menu qualifies as a great deal.