St. Jack, 1610 NW 23rd Ave., 503-360-1281, stjackpdx.com. Dinner and bar hours nightly. $$-$$$$.
St. Jack is a miracle on 23rd Avenue, a restaurant and bar where you can somehow get both the city's finest and most adventurous French-bouchon fare and also dollar Hama Hama oysters and a killer $12 burger at happy hour. It's a place that devotes equal effort to lowbrow food and extravagant highbrow, with the patience to spend three days fat-skimming, boiling and drying its $5 Espelette-pepper pork rinds into fluffy and decadent sheets. (READ FULL LISTING HERE.)
Kim Jong Smokehouse
413 NW 21st Ave., 503-477-9364, kimjongsmokehouse.com. Lunch and dinner daily. $.
Smokehouse Tavern’s barbecue and Kim Jong Grillin’s casual Korean merge at this fast-casual spot. Honey-gochujang spareribs and scorched-rice bibimbap bowls served with a rainbow of kimchi in steaming cast-iron pans, with smoky brisket or pulled pork.
This bright little neighborhood spot uses its Bakers Pride electric oven to crank out thin, low-tang pies that deny any specific geographic lineage. The rest of the menu is simple (arugula salad, blistered padron peppers, charcuterie place) and well-executed.
1204 NW 21st Ave., 503-243-2403, paleysplace.net. 5:30-10 pm Monday-Thursday, 5-11 pm Friday-Saturday, 5-10 pm Sunday. $$$.
Noodles didn't put Vitaly Paley on the map. His 20-year-old Northwest 21st Avenue bistro was one of the fathers of the city's current foodscape, and his kitchen tree has sprouted a number of other talented chefs around town.
But those noodles have given Paley a passport back to his Ukrainian childhood. The farm-to-table staples of the menu are now augmented with a list of unfamiliar stews and dumplings that arrive in steaming pots or in a pile of delicate dough, transforming Paley's Place into one of the less-heralded beachheads of Portland's Soviet invasion. (READ FULL LISTING HERE.)
kungpowpdx.com. Lunch and dinner daily. $.
210 NW 21st Ave,
kellsbrewpub.com. Lunch and dinner daily. $.
1818 NW 23rd Place, 503-894-8904, ataulapdx.com. 4:30-10 pm Tuesday-Saturday. $$$.
"Welcome to Barcelona," the server says as downtempo club lounge music thumps across the modern-minimalist, open restaurant. Located at the edge of Slabtown, Jose Chesa's Ataula is a transportive take on Portland Spanish, and a major node in our newfound status as a North American tapas town. (READ FULL LISTING HERE.)