132 SW 3rd Ave., 222-3187, bijoucafepdx.com.
[POWER BRUNCH] Maybe it says something about Portland that our rulers convene not over old whiskey and bloody meat in a wood-walled den, but over fluffy oyster, bacon and onion omelets in an airy downtown breakfast joint with a waiting list clogged by tourists. This stalwart Portland bruncherie, popular with our city's political and business elite, turned 35 this year. The front of the menu, where the breakfast standbys queue up (oatmeal, granola, bacon, sausage and fruits) isn't anything unique as far as a $40-breakfast-for-two goes. Flip the menu over, though, and you find some wonderful surprises, including two Latin-influenced entrees that are among the best breakfasts I've had in recent memory. The first, a plate of cowboy-style, sliced medium-rare steak with bright chimichurri and two over-easy eggs ($13) atop a bed of stewy, brown borlotti beans specked with chorizo, delivered enough spicy herbed protein to fill me up until dinner time. The second, spoon-tender achiote-braised pork ($10) with over-easy eggs, slivers of mildly hot poblano peppers, pickled red onion, cilantro and plump hominy kernels, was just as gooey, flavorful and filling. If you haven't been to Bijou in a while, give it another look—starting with the back of the menu.
Ideal meal: Steak and eggs with chimichurri.
Best deal: Pastrami on rye ($9).
Pro Tip: To get some sence of Bijou's importance in the Portland restaurant scene, check out the old reviews by the restroom.
7 am-2 pm Monday-Friday, 8 am-2 pm Saturday-Sunday, 6 pm-close Friday jazz supper. $$.