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Visiting Portland...Andina

pikawicca | Mar 24, 201404:02 PM

This place was really raucous and loud when we showed up for our 7:00 reservation, the reason being that it was packed to the rafters with people of all ages obviously enjoying their food. the only empty table was our reserved two-top.

My son had the green salad with hearts of palm and asparagus. Huge portion, with a delicious and unusual passionfruit vinaigrette. As he tends to judge the quality of a restaurant based on how well they roast a chicken, that is what he ordered. The Pisco-brined chicken was tender and juicy, with a deeply caramelized skin. It was served with escabeche-style pickled onions and quinoa-crusted slices of sweet potato (which we both loved so much that I'm going to try to reproduce them at home).

I opted for 3 small plates, started with the duet of smoked fish. When the waiter described the dish, he must have notice me blench at the mention of escolar (never again!), for he quickly offered to do all-trout. Excellent fish, with just enough smoke to compliment the sweetness of the trout.

Next up was grilled octopus, a favorite of mine that is, unfortunately, frequently poorly cooked. This was not. It was a single rather large section of tentacle, curled onto a skewer and served with chimichurri and potatoes mashed with capers and olive oil. I thought this dish was perfect.

Unfortunately, I could not finish my third dish, which was the best of the lot. The Causa Mixta Nikkei was a tall, molded, lime-scented potato cake, topped with spicy tuna and crab salad, and a crisp quinoa-coated shrimp. This was garnished with a generous portion of avocado.

The bread served at the beginning of the meal was gluten-free and made with quinoa flour. It's the only gluten-free bread I've ever had that didn't fall apart in my hands and turn to sawdust in my mouth. The texture was fine, the flavor a bit lacking, but since the bread was served with 3 very tasty dipping sauces, that wasn't really an issue.

We each had two drinks, stuffed ourselves to the max, and the bill before tip was $107.

I have to ask: Is there any bad food in this town?

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