French Vietnamese specialties can be found in the well-maintained Sellwood neighborhood of Southeast Portland, Oregon. It is the home of Jade Bistro and Patisserie, located among the quaint and colorful streets with numerous antique stores, Victorian homes, cottages, and Craftsman bungalows.
The mother-daughter team of Lucy and April run the casual dining restaurant with dedication and passion for Thai, Laotian, and French Vietnamese cuisine.
Location: 7912 SE 13th Avenue, Portland, Oregon
Menu: Do you fancy a hot soup? How about a cold, crunchy salad? Spicy or mild? Perhaps a hearty stew or the famous Vietnamese Meatball Sandwich served on the perfect Bahn Mi baguettes that are made fresh daily?
From fresh salad rolls, lettuce wraps, skewers, meatballs, or dumplings you can create an “a la carte” menu of your own. There are noodle dishes with tofu or meat, an extensive selection of entrée soups and salads, as well as hearty stews. All include variations of chicken and seafood.
Thoughts: The menu is well-defined and clearly states items with gluten. Most menu items indicate whether they are gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, or low carb. You can request these when ordering at the counter.
There are six different salads plus a simple small side salad. I enjoyed the Green Papaya Salad that was huge and took a long time to eat. Every mouthful was flavorful and crisp. It made an ideal to-go box with the leftovers.
There are Small Plates for small appetites. Fresh salad rolls make excellent appetizers or lunch because they are a light combination of taste and texture with the peanut sauce served on the side. Or, you can wrap your own lettuce rolls with fried pork, cilantro, and vermicelli noodles. Add to that a satay skewer, meatballs, or dumplings, and you have quite a satisfying meal. The Truffle Oil French Fries on this menu is quite elegant with just a hint of truffle.
Noodles dishes come in all types and styles. You can have them with tofu or veggies, or with meat (for $1 more). There are also several egg or rice noodle soup options.
Speaking of soup, there are seven exotic soups on the menu, and there is simple Vietnamese comfort food – chicken rice soup and Pho, which is beef broth and noodles.
If you are in the mood for hearty stews, there are curries with potatoes and onions or bamboo shoots and Thai eggplant, or beef and carrots. There are also many variations of chicken and seafood.
For those who are unfamiliar with Vietnamese food, you will be very pleased with the selection of meat and vegetarian menu items. You can easily decide on how much or how little spice you want. The flavors are light, quite delicious and enjoyable.
Daily selections of Kombucha, as well as Drinking Vinegar (Basil Raspberry) are drinks that I am not used to seeing on a menu. Coconut water and passionfruit juice are seasonally available. And, because they are known as a tea house, there is a wide selection of teas to enjoy.
Jade does not take reservations, and there is frequently a queue out the door. However, that does allow you time to decide on what you want to order. The complete menu is displayed over the register as well as a hand-held menu at the door.
Having eaten at Jade on more than one occasion, it is a constant draw when I am in Portland. The food is unique and plentiful. This inspired and appetizing menu should not be missed!
Price Range: Moderately priced entrees range from $11.50 to $16. Drinks range from non-alcoholic $2.50 to $4.50; craft beers $5; wine by the glass is $6.50.
Julie is a member of TravMedia, PPA and ITWPA and can also be found at www.jdptravels.com.
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