It was yet another dark and rainy Portland night. Our group was seeking out some ethnic comfort food. Mi Mero Mole was suggested due to their reputation and the group’s need to warm up with something a bit spicy. We headed for the neon sign in the window, Mi Mero Mole, and entered the simple restaurant.
Don’t let the skulls dissuade you. That’s part of the Mexican folk art ambiance. We entered and found familiar Mexican offerings… jarras of refrescos, cerveza in the cooler and menus offering guisados, down home street foods. Chef Nick Zukin’s menu consists of locally sourced (whenever possible) and freshly cooked ingredients, including the tortillas, rice and beans. He draws inspiration from the local foods found in and surrounding Mexico City.
Chef Nick explains that guisados are usually stews or quickly cooked up stir-fry. In Mexico City customers stop by food carts and choose their ingredients, fresh tortillas to wrap them in, and are on their way. And so at Mi Mero Mole you can select your ingredients and combine them as desired. The guisados are the fillings for tacos, burritos, quesadillas, and plates. Their corn tortillas are made fresh using ground nixtamal. Everything they serve, including moles, salsas, rice, and beans, are made from scratch. And, much of it is made to order.
The menu was a little mind-boggling. There were so many choices. So I opted for a margarita while I perused the menu. I took one sip and decided the margarita was excellent, no frozen margarita mixes for sure!
I wanted something fairly simple but tasty. I chose a Plato Chico ($9.75) with chicken and chose the red mole poblano for the sauce. The plates come with black beans and rice. I added a small side of guacamole. One of the other diners decided to sample several guisados and ordered a Plato Macho ($12.25 – $15.75). The chicken was tender and the mole poblano just spicy enough. Fresh cilantro, the freshly made guacamole and salsas added to the truly Mexican flavors. The soft, warm corn tortillas were freshly made.
All meals were thoroughly enjoyed, the diners were warmed up and the conversation was lively. Since the menu was so extensive, it was easy to decide to return another day for yet another meal.
Mi Mero Mole has a downtown Chinatown location as well. The menus at the locations are not exactly the same, but you can be certain that the offerings are built around a variety of guisados. There are bar menus for those not interested in a full meal.
Watch their Facebook page for special menus and events such as Dia de los Muertos.
Mi Mero Mole
5026 SE Division St., 232-8226