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The 15 PDX Restaurant Dishes That Keep You in a Rut

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Photo of Dove Vivi courtesy Avila/EPDX

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We asked readers to name the one restaurant dish that kept you from branching out — the dish that's so satisfying, so seductive, that it ensures the rest of the menu inadvertently goes unordered. A quick survey of the results reveals why many of Portland's most popular restaurants — Pok Pok, Bunk Sandwiches, Biwa, Tasty N Sons — remain so popular (they apparently offer an insanely wide range of "siren song" dishes, making it easy for everyone to have their favorite).

Here now, a small sampling of that conversation, in the form of a map of Portland's 15 Dishes That Keep You in a Rut. These are the dishes mentioned most consistently, had the most impassioned arguments, or surprised in some way. Either way, they just scratch the surface — for the original discussion and laundry list, head here.

· All Previous Open Threads [Eater PDX]

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Autentica

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5507 NE 30th Ave
Portland, OR 97211
(503) 287-7555
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[Photo]

2. Boke Bowl

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1028 SE Water Ave
Portland, OR 97214
(503) 719-5698
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Maybe the ramen at Boke Bowl's too obvious a go-to: Readers say they get into a deep rut with the menu's warm brussels sprout salad. Says one: "Agree with [other votes for] the brussels sprout salad at Boke Bowl. It's the only thing I've eaten there."

3. Bollywood Theater

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2039 NE Alberta St
Portland, OR 97211
(971) 200-4711
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With its focus on Indian street food, perhaps its no surprise that the siren-song dish at Bollywood Theater is the Kolkata region's kati roll. Several readers professed a love for the comfort-food flatbread.

4. Chiang Mai

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3145 SE Hawthorne Blvd
Portland, OR 97214
(503) 234-6192
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[Photo]

5. Country Cat Dinnerhouse & Bar

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7937 SE Stark St
Portland, OR 97215
(503) 408-1414
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Maybe it's no surprise that the Midwestern/Southern-inspired Country Cat has one believer in its chicken-fried steak: "That plate made me a chicken fried steak believer and I have a hard time ordering anything else there!"

6. Dove Vivi

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2727 NE Glisan St
Portland, OR 97232
(503) 239-4444
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Cornmeal-crust pizza spot Dove Vivi offers no fewer than a dozen toppings, but commenters apparently go straight for the untraditional: the corn-topped pizza came in as a frequent vote, with one reader suggesting that the sausage add-on is a must.

7. Kenny & Zuke's Delicatessen

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1038 SW Stark St
Portland, OR 97205
(503) 222-3354
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One reader applies the "go big or go home" approach to Kenny & Zuke's, going for the sandwich featuring pastrami, chopped liver, and cole slaw. "I've been unable to eat any sandwich other than Ken's Special for three years now at Kenny & Zuke's," the commenter writes. "EVERY TIME I go, I can't order anything else."

8. Lardo West

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1205 SW Washington St
Portland, OR 97205
(503) 241-2490

Lardo made its fame with its porchetta and enjoys a loyal following for its massive hamburger, but Eater readers name-dropped Rick Gencarelli's pork banh mi sandwich as their menu-killer.

9. Nostrana

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1401 SE Morrison St
Portland, OR 97214
(503) 234-2427
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The radicchio-and-Parm Insalata Nostrana is one of Cathy Whims' signature dishes, and for good reason: No matter what the main course, readers report being unable to skip the dish as an appetizer.

10. Restaurant St Jack

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2039 SE Clinton St
Portland, OR 97202
(503) 360-1281
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For one reader, simplicity is key at St. Jack, where the steak frites emerges as the most-repeated dish: "I have ventured a couple of times and tasted other dishes, but I just can't get away from the perfectly cooked steak, crispy fries and Bearnaise. Swoon."

11. Screen Door

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2337 E Burnside St
Portland, OR 97214
(503) 542-0880
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[Photo]

12. Sen Yai

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3384 SE Division St
Portland, OR
(503) 236-3573
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Andy Ricker's noodle joint offers more than a dozen varieties, many of which are collecting their share of loyal fans. Says one reader: "I know it's recent, but I can't lay off the Tom Yam Plaa Naam soup noodles at SenYai. Intense flavors with a perfect combo of salty, spicy, sweet. About every fourth visit I force myself to order something else, but I always come back to this."

13. Swiss Hibiscus

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4950 NE 14th
Portland, OR 97211
[Photo]

14. The Farm Cafe

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10 SE 7th Ave
Portland, OR 97214

One reader e-mails with an ode to the aauteed crimini mushrooms appetizer at the Farm Cafe: "The ingredient they don't list is magic. There is something extra special about this mushroom dish. They've been out once when I tried to order it. It was a wrenching disappointment." [Photo]

15. Toro Bravo

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120 NE Russell St
Portland, OR 97212
(503) 281-4464
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Perhaps the key to Toro Bravo's success is that its sprawling menu results in different "must-order" dishes for everyone: Readers confessed addictions to everything from patatas bravas to squash with harissa. But perhaps the most fervent love came in for a non-tapas item: the burger. Says one reader: "Cannot go to Toro Bravo without getting their burger — ever! It is the holy grail of — best in Portland, best on the planet!"

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1. Autentica

5507 NE 30th Ave, Portland, OR 97211
[Photo]
5507 NE 30th Ave
Portland, OR 97211

2. Boke Bowl

1028 SE Water Ave, Portland, OR 97214

Maybe the ramen at Boke Bowl's too obvious a go-to: Readers say they get into a deep rut with the menu's warm brussels sprout salad. Says one: "Agree with [other votes for] the brussels sprout salad at Boke Bowl. It's the only thing I've eaten there."

1028 SE Water Ave
Portland, OR 97214

3. Bollywood Theater

2039 NE Alberta St, Portland, OR 97211

With its focus on Indian street food, perhaps its no surprise that the siren-song dish at Bollywood Theater is the Kolkata region's kati roll. Several readers professed a love for the comfort-food flatbread.

2039 NE Alberta St
Portland, OR 97211

4. Chiang Mai

3145 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland, OR 97214
[Photo]
3145 SE Hawthorne Blvd
Portland, OR 97214

5. Country Cat Dinnerhouse & Bar

7937 SE Stark St, Portland, OR 97215

Maybe it's no surprise that the Midwestern/Southern-inspired Country Cat has one believer in its chicken-fried steak: "That plate made me a chicken fried steak believer and I have a hard time ordering anything else there!"

7937 SE Stark St
Portland, OR 97215

6. Dove Vivi

2727 NE Glisan St, Portland, OR 97232

Cornmeal-crust pizza spot Dove Vivi offers no fewer than a dozen toppings, but commenters apparently go straight for the untraditional: the corn-topped pizza came in as a frequent vote, with one reader suggesting that the sausage add-on is a must.

2727 NE Glisan St
Portland, OR 97232

7. Kenny & Zuke's Delicatessen

1038 SW Stark St, Portland, OR 97205

One reader applies the "go big or go home" approach to Kenny & Zuke's, going for the sandwich featuring pastrami, chopped liver, and cole slaw. "I've been unable to eat any sandwich other than Ken's Special for three years now at Kenny & Zuke's," the commenter writes. "EVERY TIME I go, I can't order anything else."

1038 SW Stark St
Portland, OR 97205

8. Lardo West

1205 SW Washington St, Portland, OR 97205

Lardo made its fame with its porchetta and enjoys a loyal following for its massive hamburger, but Eater readers name-dropped Rick Gencarelli's pork banh mi sandwich as their menu-killer.

1205 SW Washington St
Portland, OR 97205

9. Nostrana

1401 SE Morrison St, Portland, OR 97214

The radicchio-and-Parm Insalata Nostrana is one of Cathy Whims' signature dishes, and for good reason: No matter what the main course, readers report being unable to skip the dish as an appetizer.

1401 SE Morrison St
Portland, OR 97214

10. Restaurant St Jack

2039 SE Clinton St, Portland, OR 97202

For one reader, simplicity is key at St. Jack, where the steak frites emerges as the most-repeated dish: "I have ventured a couple of times and tasted other dishes, but I just can't get away from the perfectly cooked steak, crispy fries and Bearnaise. Swoon."

2039 SE Clinton St
Portland, OR 97202

11. Screen Door

2337 E Burnside St, Portland, OR 97214
[Photo]
2337 E Burnside St
Portland, OR 97214

12. Sen Yai

3384 SE Division St, Portland, OR

Andy Ricker's noodle joint offers more than a dozen varieties, many of which are collecting their share of loyal fans. Says one reader: "I know it's recent, but I can't lay off the Tom Yam Plaa Naam soup noodles at SenYai. Intense flavors with a perfect combo of salty, spicy, sweet. About every fourth visit I force myself to order something else, but I always come back to this."

3384 SE Division St
Portland, OR

13. Swiss Hibiscus

4950 NE 14th, Portland, OR 97211
[Photo]
4950 NE 14th
Portland, OR 97211

14. The Farm Cafe

10 SE 7th Ave, Portland, OR 97214

One reader e-mails with an ode to the aauteed crimini mushrooms appetizer at the Farm Cafe: "The ingredient they don't list is magic. There is something extra special about this mushroom dish. They've been out once when I tried to order it. It was a wrenching disappointment." [Photo]

10 SE 7th Ave
Portland, OR 97214

15. Toro Bravo

120 NE Russell St, Portland, OR 97212

Perhaps the key to Toro Bravo's success is that its sprawling menu results in different "must-order" dishes for everyone: Readers confessed addictions to everything from patatas bravas to squash with harissa. But perhaps the most fervent love came in for a non-tapas item: the burger. Says one reader: "Cannot go to Toro Bravo without getting their burger — ever! It is the holy grail of — best in Portland, best on the planet!"

120 NE Russell St
Portland, OR 97212

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