A tiny, eight-seat restaurant, Tam opens today at 8235 SE 13th Street, and from 1 to 5 p.m. today, it's giving away free bowls of wonton noodle soup, whether its silky pork belly and shrimp, pork and mushroom, or vegetable wonton noodle soups. Behind Tam are sister and brother Ro and Simon Tam. Simon is best known as the frontman of the all-Asian punk band, The Slants, and he will head Tam's marketing. Ro is the owner of Tanglewood Beverage Company and Either/Or, the Sellwood coffee and tea bar (which located next door to Tam), and she handles Tam's daily operations.
Bringing their father's wonton noodle soup recipes to the public, Ro and Simon offer a daily menu of three wonton noodle soups, plus one Asian greens side, determined by what's fresh a the market. For such a small menu, Tam has something for traditionalists, vegetarians, vegans, the gluten-free, and a variety of these combinations.
"Vegetarian wontons are usually pretty gross," says Ro, "so we experimented forever." The result is a broth flavored with house-made black bean garlic sauce, and you can get it gluten-free or vegan by ordering egg-less wonton wrappers or rice noodles. Ro says the shop's egg noodles are made with lime and placed atop the wontons in the bowl to help them keep their crunchiness. You'll also find vinegar and house-made chili oil on the tables.
While it will focused on Ro and Simon's father's Hong Kong and Cantonese recipes, Tam will change its offerings with the seasons. "In the summer, we might do salads or sandwiches," says Ro. Along with the food, you'll find soft drinks and Pellegrino sodas and water.
After today, Tam will be open for lunch and dinner Wednesday through Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Check out the cartoon by Steven Sylvain and Tam menu below to see exactly what the restaurant is all about.