3924 N Mississippi Ave
Portland’s dining scene is incredibly diverse. Thai food, in particular, is very good in this city. Pok Pok is renowned for its Issan/Northeastern Thai cuisine….and along Sandy Rd are a number of small family run Thai restaurants (along with a good smattering of Vietnamese and Cambodian). And over in the quickly gentrifying Mississippi District is Mee Sen – a restaurant run by a young crew of Thais that is serving uncompromising Thai food.
Those are indeed deep fried grasshoppers – a common drinking snack in Thailand. Mee Sen serves this delicacy perhaps as a gimmick to differentiate themselves from the rest of the field. The food served here is a good survey of Thai cuisine but definitely leans towards Bangkok style southern Thai. However, noticeably absent from the menu are the all-too common Tom Yum soups, and the red/green/yellow curries found at most typical North American Thai restaurants. Instead you are presented with a menu of curries, salads and soups that are more representative of the cuisine. The flavours and spice levels are authentic – all the food I have had here had the right pungency and heat.
Of note are their sausages – two varieties on the menu – one from the North and one from Issan (Northeast). For noodles, you are presented with a mix and match menu so you can customize your own dry or soup noodle. You can select from five different types of noodles and eight different toppings or soups. Their mains include a good fish, pork, and chicken dishes – including an excellent spice rubbed game hen in a Northern style. They also have an interesting and creative drinks list including some of their own inventions (blueberry iced tea, for example).
Here’s a tip: to maximize variety, go during “Happy Hour” when many of the dishes are discounted and served in smaller portions.