Finely chopped vegetables. Seared slivers of chicken. Sauces that balance sweet and savory notes. These ingredients have come crackling together in the kitchen of Chen's Dynasty since the eatery’s eponymous founder opened it in 1985. Jacob Echeverria took the reins two decades later, and as a longtime associate of the Chen family, Jacob adopted their culinary style.
The Sichuan- and Hunan-style recipes belong to past generations of the Chens, who have eschewed photo albums and immortal butlers to pass down specialties such as peking duck glazed with honey and served with steaming pancakes and hoisin sauce. Another dish, pan-fried oysters, drops onto tables accompanied by onions and ginger, or sizzling with black-bean sauce.
The bamboo steamers sit conspicuously behind the glass counter, spirals of steam escaping their closed lids as guests peer at the expansive menu and consider their options. There are three types of dumplings and four kinds of bao filled with the likes of barbecue pork, Szechuan chicken, coconut custard, and adzuki bean paste. In addition, the menu offers pad thai noodles and banh mi sandwiches. Guests sip loose-leaf teas to complement the meals, soaking in the sun from the large windows or out on the sidewalk patio.
There are plenty of windows throughout Rae’s Lakeview Lounge, but not a single one has views of the lake. That’s because there is no lake. Not anymore, anyway. The shoreline of Guild’s Lake used to run down below where Rae’s stands today, but the flood-prone area was filled in after the Lewis and Clark Exposition in 1905. Though it’s a bit of a misnomer, the lounge's name aligns with Rae’s goal for the business; though it’s newer, it can make guests feel as though it’s been there their whole lives, much like the doll you woke up to staring at you this morning.
The lounge certainly feels like it has an old soul. Inside the rehabbed 1946 building, there are vintage photos on the walls (including one of Guild’s Lake, of course) that evoke a bygone Portland. At the dark bar top, pendant lights glint off an impressive lineup of liquors; sip on a Rae's manhattan or a blackberry cosmo. The food menu has many classic, homestyle dishes— including house-recipe meatloaf and potpie du jour—but it also integrates some finer dining selections such as Dungeness crab cakes and pork tenderloin. Many entrees pair well with the wines, which includes local barrel wines on tap as well as internationals available by the bottle, half-carafe, or glass.
Dan & Louis Oyster Bar, a 104-year-old Portland landmark handed down from fish-loving father to sea-faring son for five generations, boasts extensive menus of locally sourced seafood, a full bar, and an inviting, authentic atmosphere adorned with historical artifacts. Ancient ship wheels, old-timey nautical articles, fading photos, and sexy fishing photos from Davy Jones's high school locker surround diners as they munch on myriad undersea selections.
At Trio Club, guests revel in an atmosphere of exciting urban nightlife, danceable electronic music, and fine international fare. In the kitchen, chefs employ their well-honed culinary skills and basic knowledge of nuclear physics to fuse European, Asian, and American flavors, creating dishes such as Chinese sausage with fried rice and halibut fish 'n' chips. Guests pair these cosmopolitan feasts with craft cocktails made from top-shelf liquors and fruit-infused spirits or with beers sourced from Oregon-based brewers. On the dance floor, neon lights illuminate parties set to the soundtrack of hip-hop, reggaetón, and electronic beats from a live DJ, who also spins country tracks on Thursday nights, as well as karaoke renditions of pop hits.
The skilled chefs at Sungari's Dragonwell bring the flavors of China to American tongues with a selection of traditional and Asian-fusion cuisine. Sit at the stone-inlaid center bar or at a private table in the recently renovated dining area to peruse the expansive dinner, lunch, and sushi menus. Start meals with a small plate of california rolls ($5), then fill mouths with yin-yang shrimp, a tasty balance of prawns in a spicy mandarin sauce and shrimp in a cantonese white-wine sauce ($18.95). Stop in during happy hour to sample specialty cocktails and sakes that provide the courage necessary to ask a stranger to dance, even in the absence of music ($5).