Jade Patisserie and Teahouse is a charming, family-run establishment located on that equally charming strip of 13th Avenue in Sellwood that boasts antique shops and other things white people like.
Jade is owned and operated by a Vietnamese family that executes straightforward, homestyle southeast Asian favorites with an emphasis on bright, impeccably fresh flavors.
Ordering is done at the counter, before an impressively composed, handwritten chalkboard menu rife with solid typography. I want these fonts.
The salad rolls are available with lemongrass tofu, or shrimp and chicken. Unlike the goi cuon you’ll find at standard Vietnamese greasy spoons, these have no noodles and feature a higher ratio of vegetables and herbs. For $5, it’s a huge order.
These are some of the best salad rolls I’ve had in town, tightly packed with fresh thai basil leaves that give them an anise-y snap. The fact that the tofu itself is seasoned beyond being simply fried is a touch that does not go unnoticed.
The won ton soup is a pleasant rendition, with a mild but flavorful broth. I definitely appreciated the greens and slices of lean char sui.
The dumplings themselves are on the diminutive side—you won’t confuse these with the overstuffed wontons at Kenny’s Noodle House—but overall it’s a satisfying dish.
The “Stir Fried Rice Noodles” here are nothing really more than stir fried rice noodles. The peanuts denote that it could be a sort of “pad thai” but it’s not trying to be this at all—just a mild, enjoyable noodle dish, if somewhat on the bland side. You’ll want to ask for some chili oil or Siracha to spike it up. But the composure of the dish speaks to what Jade is all about: fresh, simple, and comforting.
Which brings up another distinction. While Jade Patisserie and Teahouse is a full-fledged restaurant, it has a very casual feel. Unlike most Vietnamese restaurants you won’t find condiments (or chopsticks and spoons, for that matter) at each table.
This shot above is of the wonderful nook tucked into the far end of the restaurant (that features Connect Four).
I love the char sui hum bao here. It’s flat on either end unlike the dome-shaped buns you’re more likely to encounter. A much greater protein-to-dough ratio is the result, which in this case is a very good thing, as the hum bao is brimming with flavorful chopped bbq pork.
The beef stew here (bo kho) is one of the better versions of beef stew you’ll find in any restaurant, Vietnamese or otherwise. This is down-home cooking, rich, deep and satisfying.
If you’re anything like me you’ll be busting your gut to sop up every last drop with crusty french bread—just like at home.
7912 Southeast 13th Avenue
Portland, OR 97202