Clyde's Prime Rib
5474 NE Sandy, 281-9200
Over a year ago, this upper Sandy spot with the faux castle exterior almost closed forever. But a new owner (that would be Clyde) came to the rescue, and kept the menu basically intact. For dinner, feast your eyes on luscious, aged prime rib, carved tableside, in one of three cuts: petite ($19), regular ($23), and house ($27). If you have a modest lunch budget, the "Philly," consisting of thin-sliced prime rib, red onions, and provolone ($8), or the simple yet outstanding prime rib sandwich with house fries ($10), will more than satisfy your inner carnivore.
Jo Bar & Rotisserie
701 NW 23rd Ave., 222-0048
They say taste is part smell, and the smell here tastes great. Joined at the hip with Papa Haydn, Jo Bar is a haven for folks who wouldn't be caught dead shopping at The Dollar Tree. Jo offers a mighty tasty pork panini ($9.95), and signature mushroom stew ($12.95), but as far as I'm concerned, the filet mignon burger--topped with brie, and served with side salad and housemade sweet potato chips--is where it's at.
628 NW 23rd, 242-0055
If you're a fan of famous delicatessens like The Stage, Katz's, The Carnegie, or 2nd Ave., Kornblatt's is a local godsend. In Portland, nothing comes as close to the NYC deli experience. The menu will rock your world: bagels and lox, blintzes, chopped liver... everything you'd expect, and more. It's a tough call choosing between the pastrami and the corned beef, so ask for a taste of each first. If you can't decide, don't. Just opt for the mouth-watering Combination Rueben ($9.25), with pastrami, corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss, and Russian dressing. Beverage? Go for the egg cream (seltzer, chocolate syrup, milk), but know that Kornblatt's no longer uses the traditional Fox's U-Bet syrup, which, for purists, is what makes the drink the drink.
Michael's Italian Beef and Sausage Co.
1111 SE Sandy, 230-1899
The Chicago-born owner of the self-named Michael's has a temperament that'd give the Seinfeld-- "soup Nazi" a run for his money. But what he lacks in interpersonal skills--a plastic bloody cleaver hangs over the counter to ward off napkin thieves--he makes up for with food. You'd be hard pressed to find a better meatball sub ($6.15) served "pizza" style with tomato sauce and cheese. And, good luck finding another place in town that knows the joy of a juicy, ribbon-thin Italian beef sandwich ($6.45). Michael grinds his own pork sausages too, serving them on Italian bread with sautéed peppers and onions ($6.15). Somewhere in heaven, Sicilian grandmothers are proud.
2811 NE Glisan St., 233-0511
Where do you go for Cuban food in lily-white Portland? If the crowds are an indication, you go to Pambiche. On a chilly day, make a beeline for their Cubano: slices of ham, pork, Swiss, and pickles are transformed by a sandwich press into an amazing taste and texture combo. It comes with a side of salty tostones (fried plantains), which are great with a dab of spicy banana ketchup or squirt of lime. If you tire of the Cubano,--the Rikitaki or Picadillo empanada, both with beef hash, should be next on your list. Finish it off with one of Pambiche's desserts, and wonder if Castro eats this good.