Photo of Sen Yai courtesy Avila/EPDX
It takes six paragraphs to get there, but the Oregonian's Michael Russell does enjoy the menu at Andy Ricker's new Division restaurant Sen Yai, upon which he bestows a "B" grade. After a few "greatest hits" dishes from elsewhere in the Pok Pok empire, the restaurant really breaks through with its boat noodle soup (which could "compete with the best in Bangkok") and the crispy kuaytiaw khua kai, for which Russell goes "gaga." Another standout: the "ethereal" yen ta fo, described as "elegance incarnate."
Though stir-fried dishes like Pad Thai and pad see ew are more familiar, Russell writes that they're still "delicious." But the repetitive nature of the menu prevents Sen Yai from fully becoming a destination: "With a half-dozen knockout dishes, some new, some old, Sen Yai is a welcome addition to Southeast Division Street's restaurant row, if not an essential member of the Pok Pok family." [OregonLive]
Another colorful room gets the review treatment: The Mercury's Chris Onstad stops into Teote, the two-story restaurant by the owners of the Fuego de Lotus cart. Onstad likes the signature dish — arepas are consistently "nutty and lightly salted, warm, greaseless, and with a blend of gratifying textures" — and the often "remarkable" meat that arrives on top. Big, "complete" flavors are found in the El Diablo (pork belly), Pernil (braised pork), and a "pillowy" pulled chicken. Plated dinners are less successful, often bogged down by side dishes that lack flavor.
But despite major props for the room, Onstad suggests enjoying the "La Cena" prix fixe dinners — "a leviathan dinner for three" — as take-out. "One of these taken to-go filled two grocery bags — and might be the smartest way to show up at home this fall." [Mercury]
Finally, Portland Monthly visits the late-night sandwich spot Devil's Dill Sandwiches, which according to Ben Tepler, is a "godsend" for those still awake at 2:30a.m. Three sandwiches on the nine-item menu get shout-outs: a pulled pork of "intensely smoky indulgence," the top-ranked tuna sandwich, and a meatloaf that "satisfies a near-Freudian urge." Ultimately, the spot "up[s] the ante for late night snacking." [Eat Beat]
· All Previous Week in Review Coverage [Eater PDX]