I found myself at NEPO 42 one night this week, but twice in the same night. I was looking for a nice local spot with some personality and thought I’d give it a try. I went 1st just for a drink and ordered a Sazerac. Ever had one?… it’s a tasty concoction containing rye whiskey, bitters and absinthe. Really good, and everything else looked good too, the food, the bar, the patio, etc. It’s a quaint and simple place, staffed with very nice people. I then left and spent some time in nearby Fernhill Park. When it was time to leave the park however, I decided to head back to NEPO 42 to try out the food instead of going home for dinner. Good decision.
Since moving to Portland I’ve been intrigued by “chicken and waffles”, and they have it at NEPO. Perhaps the combo exists in other cities and I just never noticed, not sure. But, I thought it was time to try it even though I don’t eat much meat. I must say that it was pretty tasty, and I get the appeal of the sweet/salty/savory blend. Glad we didn’t get an appetizer because the breasts were huge, the bacon thick and the syrup sweet and sage-y. I never thought I could finish the whole thing, but I did.
Another in our party got the smoked meatballs, yep, you read that right (below). A simple and novel idea that I’m shocked I haven’t seen before (or done myself). It was very well executed, and the two sides were also quality items, not afterthoughts. The beans in particular were worth ordering on their own as a meal.
They also have decent veggie options like smoked tofu and veggie burger, but you can tell they take special pride in their meats. Especially their smoking, to which they also do ribs and their wings appetizer.
This was the surprise find of the Summer so far, can’t wait to get back there. One last thing, the music was spectacular and really added to the entire experience. I heard Old 97’s, Mofro, Uncle Tupelo, Avett Bros, old Dylan, etc. A myriad of indie-Americana. Perfect. A reviewer on urbanspoon said this, and it is dead-on, “This little place appears to be nothing from the outside but the inside is warm and inviting”
*Just in case you haven’t figured it out, NEPO 42 = Northeast Portland 42nd St*