Isa was a medium sized interior with additional seating available on the outdoor patio. The patio was against the building on one side and fenced on the other along with being covered by awnings. Inside there was a tin ceiling, a striking black and white tile floor and small bare wood tables with adequate space between them. There were windows to the street on two sides of the building and the back wall had a large window into the kitchen where food was passed through. Some faint music played in the background and nice sized cloth napkins were set at the tables. It had a casual, friendly vibe and our server was particularly welcoming. Chef Perez could be seen in the kitchen fixing plates as well as inspecting them before they were served.
For starters we had octopus and lobster tostado.
The grilled octopus was served with marinated chickpeas and chimichurri. The octopus was chewy and tender and had a nice grilled taste. The chickpeas were among the best I’ve had. The chimichurri was on top of the tentacle and blended wonderfully with the meat. This was a total winner.
The lobster tostado was served with fennel, cilantro and guajillo aioli. The tostado was totally crisp with a good corn flavor and topped with nice chunks of lobster and shaved fennel. Just the right amount of dressing was tossed with the ingredients to bring out the best flavors. It was a wonderful mix of flavors and textures. Another winner.
Duck Carnitas tacos were served with radish, salsa verde, cilantro and mixed greens. The duck was shredded and wonderful. The soft tortilla encasing it was tasty also and just the right texture. The green salsa was a perfect addition to the taco – it was full of flavor. Alongside was a terrific bit of salad, simple but fresh and properly dressed. This was the lighter of the 2 mains we selected but shouldn’t be missed.
The Shaved Local Lamb Sandwich was served with pecorino, pepperonicinis and horseradish mayo. The shaved lamb was nicely rare and surrounded by a toasted focaccia bun. A perfect ratio of meat to cheese to greens made it an outstanding and filling sandwich. The lamb had good flavor which the horseradish mayo complimented perfectly. Don’t miss this one either.
We split an order of House Cut Fries served with guajillo aioli with the main dishes. They were made from fresh cut potatoes and fried to a nice crisp with good potato flavor. The aioli was nice and they offered to bring ketchup if we preferred but I think I liked them just by themselves with a little salt.
For dessert we had the Coconut Cream Pie with a toasted coconut crust. The twist on this one was a layer of chocolate between the crust and coconut cream. It was topped with shaved, crisp coconut and the crust was made toasted coconut. It was good but the savories are the star of this kitchen.
2 thoughts on “Isa, Portland, 6/27/18”
Love the blog! The food looks delicious! The lamb and the fies and the pie would fill me up! You always do a good job, Helen!