Brazilian feijoada, vegan ceviches, and fish tacos are coming to a new spot on SE Division. Mestizo, an agave bar and restaurant set to open this November, will specialize in Latin American classics meant to accommodate diners with specialized diets.
The new restaurant comes from the team behind vegetarian Thai spot Kati, specifically co-owner Ketsuda “Nan” Chaison. Chaison recruited longtime employee David Rodriguez to handle the bar and Bistro Agnes alum Jake Ochsankhehl to cover the kitchen, hoping to create a friendly, accessible space for Latin American spirits and snacks.
Originally, Chaison wanted to stick to Mexican food at her new restaurant, but Ochsankehl thought it’d be fun to expand into cuisines throughout Latin America: On early drafts of the menu, the chef includes a number of ceviches and stews, ranging from the vegan to the pescatarian — In particular, he plans to serve a version of the Brazilian bean stew feijoada and a Colombian cazuela de mariscos with mussels and shrimp. The chef also wants to get into even fishier territory, with fish tacos on Three Sisters tortillas, a whole fried fish, and a pescado a la parilla with banana leaves. On the lighter side of things, Ochsankehl plans to make empanadas with Three Sisters masa, oyster shooters, and even a few vegan paletas for dessert. Much of the menu will be naturally gluten-free and soy-free, with several vegan and vegetarian options among the seafood.
Rodriguez will handle the cocktails, which he says will lean heavily on Latin American spirits. Many of the cocktails will focus on agave — mezcal and tequila — but he also wants to dive into other spirits like cachaca and pisco. As opposed to focusing exclusively on drinks like margaritas and pisco sours, Rodriguez instead wants to swap out other spirits in cocktails for Latin American spirits, to show their impact on a drink: For instance, he plans to make an Army and Navy, a gin cocktail with orgeat and lemon juice, trading in the gin for mezcal. Similarly, the bar will also serve agave highballs, as a way to taste the spirit without sipping it straight. For those less interested in cocktails, Mestizo stock beers like Tecate and Ex Novo’s Mexican lager for shot-and-beer specials, and will also have a dedicated list of non-alcoholic drinks.
Chaison plans to design the space to feel cozy and also bright, with lots of natural light, neutral tones, and plant life. The 60-seat restaurant will feature a large mural incorporating Portland and Latin American imagery, all visible from the restaurant’s open-format kitchen. Mestizo’s planned opening date is November 15 at 2910 SE Division Street.
• Kati [Official]
• Previous Kati coverage [EPDX]
• Previous Bistro Agnes coverage [EPDX]
• The Secret to Portland’s Best Tacos Is This Masa Factory [EPDX]