Expatriate is an update on what a restaurant can be—a place where cocktail and food meet minds publicly the same way wine and a meal first did 250 years ago in Boulanger's Paris.

In this cozy, low-lit space lightly themed for the genteel colonialism of the East Asian British, bartender-owner Kyle Webster also doubles as vinyl spinner. It's possible to eat Naomi Pomeroy's Asian-inflected food without drinking and be satisfied. You could also order no food and just drink Webster's Dorleac ($12), named after a '60s French actress who died young and beautiful, the sweetness of honey, lemon and elderflowers in this vodka cocktail is balanced out with the bitterness of Aperol and Angostura.

But you should abstain from neither: The food is made for drinking, from a Korean game hen ($15) expertly fried to crispness and basted in oyster sauce, to shrimp mixed with daikon and ginger ($12) to make a spread on thumbnail-thick toast, to a trademark tea-leaf salad ($13) that makes the crunchy fronds into the main event. Everything here is a journey from bitter to sweet, with lingering spice.

Photo: Thomas Teal
Photo: Thomas Teal

Pro tip: Want to taste Portland history? The cheapest and simplest item on the menu—an onion and butter sandwich ($6) on white bread with the crust cut off—was the favorite dish of Portland's most famed chef, James Beard.

GO: 5424 NE 30th Ave., expatriatepdx.com. 5 pm-midnight nightly. $$.