J&M Café

527 SE Ash, 230-0463

The J&M does the get-your-own-coffee-and-water thing, which I love, and serves Stumptown coffee, which I double-love. Their service is out-of-control fast, friendly, and efficient, much unlike the typical slackish Portland bar breakfast that takes forever and tastes like a plate of fried grease. Their healthy and tasty garden scramble can be made with tofu, and the accompanying potatoes are crisp on the outside, soft on the inside, and are greaseless, yet flavorful. Great bets besides the scrambles are the hearty breakfast burrito with scrambled eggs, black beans, and fresh salsa, or their eggs-benedict type dish, made with two basted eggs, bacon instead of ham, and a blend of cheeses in place of the hollandaise. KS

Bush Garden

900 SW Morrison, 226-7181

The Garden's greatest claim to fame is the availability of Tatami table dining. You know, where you shed your Fluevogs and plunge your supple legs down beneath the table platform (it's ideal for playing footsy). Kimono-clad waitresses, some of whom have been here since the first Bush administration, are knowledgeable and attentive, and eager to explain some of the more obscure menu choices.

The shredded mountain potato over raw tuna, broiled taro balls with plum sauce, and deep-fried oysters from the appetizer menu were all well executed, particularly the tender oysters, which had a pungent oyster flaver. The enormous Beef Teriyaki (broiled steak served on a sizzling platter with a side of teriyaki sauce) combination dinner came with miso soup, a wonderfully tart cucumber salad, and sides of both chicken yakitori and shrimp and vegetable tempura. The chef's choice sushi platter contained some real gems. A huge raw clam (at least I think it was a clam) topped with sea urchin was luscious. It had a creamy taste and texture, which is a quality that Bush Garden seems to strive for in many of its sushi creations. PL

Abu Rasheed

1921 SW 6th, 274-4412

Abu Rasheed is a fairly new restaurant near PSU, and they do Lebanese right. The Foul Modammas, a make-or-break dish made from mashed fava beans, really lit me up. I knew after one warm, full-flavored bite that this place had "the touch." Yes, it had been microwaved and possibly made from canned favas, but for a three-dollar lunch special that tastes great, who cares? Most top-dollar entrees don't pack as much punch. Their Baba-ganooj was thicker and more intense than others I've had. The eggplant was a bit of a background image here, with the tahini and garlic heartily picking up the slack. While this might not be everyone's style of Baba, it made my tastebuds tingle. PL