Diamond Head Grill (13435 SW Tualatin Valley Highway, Beaverton, 574-3800).
A Beaverton luau: Finally, a reason to tap the brakes as we motor down the crapland of TV Highway. This tropical lunch counter/sit-down dinner house hasn't exorcised the sterile spirit of its former occupant, a Lyon's Restaurant, just yet. Still, the place strikes a breezy chord with its goofy surf-'n'-sand table accents and weekend bouts of live island music (steel drum and Hawaiian-print shirts included). Steer clear of the lackluster poke and fill up instead on a mondo portion of respectably juicy, shredded kalua pork, served with a half-head-sized portion of cabbage and two scoops of tangy macaroni salad ($7.25). Bite Club's claiming this deliciously bizarre tiki joint as our new suburban paradise.
Cafe Voilà (901A SW Washington St., 788-5094).
Fellow urban workers, it's time to kiss your bland lunch rut goodbye. You're going to want to thank somebody for opening this sunny new lunch spot while you're moaning over a mouthful of drip-off-the-bone tender lamb shanks or devouring a cup of the elegantly flavored yet scandalously creamy salmon-packed chowder. You can pay your respects, not just to Cafe Voilà's talented chef/co-owner, Tamara Kay, and her partner, Jonathan Goodrow, but also to the City Club of Portland. When the local meeting meisters moved their home base uptown to the Pittock Building, clubbers begged its favorite upscale, seasonally obsessed caterer, Kay and Goodrow's Voilà Catering, to fire up the stove for downtown's hungry masses. Now the just-opened Cafe Voilà stocks a packed lunch case with thick strata of tall sandwiches, tamales, tarts, innovative salads, and daily vegetarian and carnivore-minded surprises. (Pssst--former cookie baker Kay also makes her own helluva German-chocolate chipper.)
Hibachi Park (4908 SE Powell Blvd., 245-8646).
Thanks to disappointing ventilation constraints, Hibachi Park has no hibachis. Instead, it's cook/owner Kyu Hwa Kim's smoky, spicy Seoul food that helps this 5-month-old Korean barbecue house transcend its ratty Powell Boulevard milieu. Simple touches like marinated cucumbers and piquant, crisp (two-day-old) homemade kimchee dress up generous mounds of tender, slow-marinated charcoal-grilled beef and pork ($7.95). The chunky golden-fried pork and scallion-packed pot stickers ($3.50) make for a killer lunch break, when paired--no joke--with a frosted pint glass filled with Bacardi Black Cherry. Hibachi's mis-matched decor is equally charming. "I picked the colors and the lamps," says Mijoo, Kim's daughter and Hibachi Park server, nodding to the lime-green restroom door and the slick, flame-colored lamps hovering over the open kitchen. "Mom? She picked those little pink flowers and those Korean dolls over there."
From the Department of Corrections: In a recent Thanksgiving roundup, Bite Club reported that the turkeys featured on Paley's Place's Thanksgiving dinner menu would be delivered from Heritage Farms. Actually, Paley's juicy, organic heritage turkeys are specially raised for the restaurant by Greener Pastures Poultry. The Noti, Oregon-based company has supplied Paley's with Turkey Day birds for the past four years. Bite Club regrets the error.