Tonight I decided to take an outing over to SE Portland with my friend Will to visit Lauro Mediterranean Kitchen. I don't venture over to Southeast very often, but I know there are some fantastic restaurants over there, especially on Division Street. In fact, we drove right by Pok Pok, which is one of the many places I have been told to try.
When we arrived to the restaurant, we stood in the small waiting area behind a curtain in front of the main entrance. The restaurant had an open kitchen with counter seating for diners to watch the chefs in action. The rest of this bistro-inspired restaurant was also open so you could see the chefs cooking and the bartenders mixing from any seat in the house. A blackboard wall, adjacent to the bar, listed all the nightly specials and the rotating beers on tap. This place had a great vibe and is a neat place for locals to walk to for a fresh and flavorful meal.
The menu has a Mediterranean flare, but is not traditional, authentic Mediterranean food, as written on their Web site - "offering seasonal, locally sourced dishes inspired by the rich culinary traditions of the Mediterranean region." We had a hard time ordering because everything looked so good. The menu offered lamb, chicken, beef, salmon and other seafood dishes. Visiting a place like this reminds me that I could never be a vegetarian. With that said, I ordered the short ribs with mashed potatoes and asparagus. Will ordered the Lauro burger with Dry Aged Jack and Pommes Frites. We decided we better split each meal so we could taste a little of both. But first, we tried the Tender Fried Calamari with Portuguese Piri Piri Sauce. I was so proud of Will, it was his first time eating calamari and he actually had more than one piece!
When our entrees came, I ate the short ribs first and oh my gosh...the best short ribs I have ever eaten! They were so tender and cooked to perfection. The flavor was sweet and paired nicely with the savory mashed potatoes. Then, Will and I traded and I ate the rest of the burger. It was also good, especially with the jack cheese, but it did not blow me away like the short ribs. But, I did learn, you can get the Lauro burger and the calamari on the happy hour menu for close to half price!
I look forward to going back to this restaurant because I want to try the Goat Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breast. In the meantime though, I will be visiting one of Chef David Machado's other restaurants in the area, Nel Centro and Vindalho. I look forward to eating at Vindalho because I have never tried Indian cuisine before.
Go check out Lauro Mediterranean Kitchen at 3377 SE Division #106, Portland, OR 97202
Sunday through Thursday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Friday and Saturday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Let me know what you think!