There’s a new Mexican restaurant in town, and it’s pretty much what I’ve been waiting for.Â While there’s not really a shortage of decent taquerias in Portland, there is a dearth of what I call chips and salsa sit-down restaurants.Â Los Baez is the Portland location of a classic Salem restaurant located just above SE 24th on Burnside.
Walking in, the first thing you’ll notice is that this place is huge.Â There’s a nice bar and some tables for smaller parties in the front, while the back half has seating for larger parties.Â The staff is very friendly.Â As far as ambiance, it’s not the greatest, jumping on the post-industrial bandwagon a bit, but that’s not what we came here for, is it?
The chips are pretty good, not a standout, but the salsa is excellent.Â Fresh tasting and flavorful.Â The two times I’ve been, I requested a picante version, which the waiter prepared for me by chopping or grinding peppers specifically for me.Â And they were different each time, once using fresh jalapeno, and the other grinding chiles de arbol.
I’m a pork fan.Â I ordered the carnitas on the waiter’s recommendation, and I was not disappointed.Â They were excellent and unique.Â There was a bit of a sweetness to them that was pleasantly surprising.Â The rice and refried beans are very good as well.
On my second visit, I decided to try one of the combination plates, with the intention of taking it home for another meal.Â A chicken taco, chile verde, chile colorado, a chile relleno, and an enchilada were married on the same plate, along with the usual accompanyments.Â There was a ton of food, and it lasted me for two additional meals.Â And it was all excellent.
The homemade flour tortillas deserve special mention.Â They are delicious.Â Warm, fresh, and hearty, they really take the cuisine of Los Baez to the next level.
The margaritas are pretty good as well.Â They have them fresh or made from mix.Â The fresh is nice and limey, but the ones from mix work fine as well, and are reasonably priced.
The prices at Los Baez are good.Â Dinners range from $8 for some entress to $15 for fajitas and combo plates.Â You will not leave hungry.
Overall, I highly recommend Los Baez.Â They’re open until 10pm seven days a week.Â Go there immediately.