5905 N Lombard St., 830-1515. Dinner daily, lunch Monday-Friday.
The original "drunken noodles," or pad ki mao, were made popular by Chinese immigrants living in Northern Thailand, and this transient history is probably responsible for why the best pad ki mao in North Portland can be found in a tiny noodle box that bucks any particular regional loyalty. The restaurant's house-specialty drunken noodles are made with wide rice noodles, wok-bronzed fronds of broccoli and wilted Thai basil. But owner Tyler Pathammavong—who's Vietnamese, not Thai—doesn't consider them his favorite dish. For that honor he proffers bo bun Hue, a take on the spicy soup hailing from Central Vietnam that's layered with gelatinous slices of slow-cooked beef shank and thick rice noodles. I'd prefer a little more heat in the soup, but I guess that's what the jar of chili flakes on every table is for. No one will get mad here for mixing things up how you like them.