Good food in Portland is usually a stone's throw away. Unless, of course, you work where I work. A stone's throw would get you chain bar food, bad Irish food, and some run of the mill Thai. Two stones' throws away would get you every food cart imaginable, some great guisados, some fantastic growler bars, and some high acclaimed lunch spots in PDX (Maurice for example). But two stones' throws also leaves less time for lunch, a longer walk, and a rushed "can we have the check" experience.
That was, until, Lechon opened off of Naito Parkway and brought three things we were missing: a real happy hour, a reasonably priced lunch with fast service, and beautiful ambience. Lechon's defining feature, for me, is their beautiful jelly fish tank (pictured behind the bar in the first photo). I can watch it for hours, and after visiting Lechon about 200 times since it opened in August, have done just that. The restaurant focuses on south american food with a Portland-fusion twist. They wood fire a lot of meats outside in their smoker and the smell radiates into the surrounding blocks. It's enough to make one drool. They serve coffee and breakfast (think breakfast tacos), lunch (average lunch price is $10-$12 per meal), an amazing happy hour from 3-6 p.m., and then a dinner that runs you a bit more money but looks delicious. I've only partaken in lunch and happy hour but specials like octopus make the dinner look intriguing.
What to order if you go to Lechon?
For lunch, I recommend the Le chon mi. No place in Portland is safe from a banh mi, but lechon does theirs just right. It's packed with meat (mortadella and slow roasted pork) with a spicy aioli and slaw on a baguette. It comes with your choice of yuca chips, a salad, or parmesan fries and I'd highly recommend those parmesan fries. They're skinny just the way they should be.
For happy hour, I've tried a whole host of items on the menu but have to recommend their well drinks. They use great liquor for their wells so they're a bargain. Ben enjoyed their "Vitamin Mezcal," a grapefruit and mezcal cocktail, and I've also had their deliciously different Mezcal Mule.
In terms of food, the choripan is a great deal for sandwich lovers. It's a chorizo and chimichurri sandwich that's really filling for only $6. I'd also recommend the sweet potato ceviche which comes with a chili lime sauce and some fun foam. Make it a meal with the forest mushroom, egg and brichoe appetizer. It is full of wonderful flavors. For a carb-ier appetizer, the gaucho bread with chimichurri sauce is awesome to share over drinks.