If you frequent the food truck scene here in Portland then you are probably well aware of Kuno food truck, which has been serving Southeast Asian inspired food since 2019, but what may have snuck under your nose is the exciting news that owner, Nick Yee, pulled the brake (just for the winter season) & put roots down at a permanent location on Cumberland Avenue under the same name & with an expanded menu. Open for dine-in & takeout daily & following all COVID guidelines, we took the time to visit Kuno’s newest restaurant to revel in the experience.
While opening a restaurant is never easy, opening a restaurant during a pandemic is an especially tolling task, but Kuno’s commitment to providing a safe dining experience for their customers was evident upon walk-in. Tables were plenty spaced out, dine-in was reservation only, staff wore masks, & guests were required to wear masks at all times unless physically eating or drinking.
& during these times it is important to talk about COVID procedures & guidelines to ensure the health & safety of both the staff & the customers, we also know at this point it’s a bit fatiguing, so let’s get to the fun part…the food. With a menu that features Yee’s own family recipes & a lot to choose from, including Crab Wonton, Crispy Fried Calamari, Spicy Chicken Wings, Char Kway Teow & more, the menu left our taste buds ready to take on what was bound to be a delightful journey. Detailed below is what we decided on after minutes of back-&-forth debating (we wanted it all). Overall, dinner was thoughtfully designed & very appealing to both taste & sight.
First, cocktails: Leely & My-Thai
With a full bar & lots to choose from, we always say, save yourself the headache & ask the waiter! What was brought over were their two most popular drinks, the Leely & My-Thai (Kuno’s interpretation on the classic Tiki drink, Mai-Thai).
Leely: Hardshore Gin, Domaine de Canton, Cointreau, Benedictine, Lemongrass Syrup, Lime, Orange, Bitters, & Egg Whites.
My-Thai: Plantation Pineapple Rum, Mekhong Spirit, Luxado, Orange, Pineapple, & Orgeat
Next up, the appetizers: Brussels Sprouts & Spicy Chicken Wings
Brussels Sprouts: Just like avocado, brussels sprouts are really having their moment, & when you do em’ as Kuno did, here’s hoping this food trend is here to stay. Both vegan & gluten-free, these sprouts were tossed with green tomato sambal, a chili garlic sauce.
Spicy Chicken Wings: Popular item alert! These fried wings were tossed & served with a sweet & spicy tamarind sauce, which is made from the sour, dark, & sticky tropical tree fruit.
& for the main course: Char Kway Teow & the Fried Chicken Sandwich
Char Kway Teow: Stir fry flat rice noodles with shrimps, Chinese sausage, chive, bean sprout, egg, & chili sambal in a mix of soy sauce. Love at first bite.
Fried Chicken Sandwich: Let it be noted that while your first thought might not be to go to Kuno & order a Fried Chicken Sandwich, it really should be. Comes on a brioche bun, & is topped with Asain Slaw, Chili Mayo, & Peanut Sauce.
& in a regrettable fashion, we did not save room for dessert, but we have an inkling that Kuno is going to see us again very soon! & if you yourself are interested in trying out Kuno’s newest spot at 166 Cumberland Avenue in Portland, or have missed their food truck rolling around the scene, then you can visit them nightly 5-11pm for dine-in by reservation only &/or takeout. Order online here & stay up to date by following their Instagram here.
You can see more of Seve C Deery-DeRap’s Portland adventures by following her on Instagram at Portland’s Small Business Saturday.