Oswaldo Bibiano is Portland’s dean of Mexican cuisine. The talented chef behind Autentica and Mextiza—a family-style flyover of Mexico’s culinary regions that opened in Overlook last year—is now folding some serious tacos at Uno Mas. At his new spot, he’s hunting down tripe, stuffing blood sausage, aging cesina (cured beef), and taking just about everyone to school.
Slotted between 24th and Meatballs and Basa Basa inside the Ocean, a new “microrestaurant” project at NE Glisan Street and 24th Avenue, Uno Mas is little more than a brightly colored taco parlor: a few dozen yellow stools, long metal counters, and two wooden garage doors that open to the picnic tables outside. The excitement here is reserved for the food.
Portland, OR 97232
The cramped kitchen churns out an impressive lineup. Tender barbacoa brisket is cooked with avocado leaves and juicy endiablado prawns in red-hot chile marinade and oregano, all singing inside house-pressed corn tortillas. Vegetarian offerings hold their own, from garlicky crimini mushrooms to queso asadero, lightly browned and stuffed with avocado. Some of the best tacos on the menu, however, are the most daring: dark burgundy crumbles of Bibiano’s signature moronga (blood sausage) come out salty and rich, with grilled onions, and charred curls of polpo (octopus) are magnificent with red chile powder, epazote, and lime.
Bibiano calls it a taquiza, or “taco party,” where options spill out from the kitchen by the dozen and bottles of well-calibrated salsa come in every hue of the chile spectrum. Order from the chalkboard list of 20 or so $2 tacos, or opt for a chef’s choice selection of a dozen tacos for $20, served with a few wedges of radish. Pair it with your pick from an arsenal of 32-ounce Mexican beers, killer micheladas (a Mexican hangover cure of tomato, spice, and iced beer), or a ladleful of daily fruit-filled agua fresca, from sweet melon to spicy pineapple.
Uno Mas pushes beyond the usual al pastor and carnitas—both very good here—to stand out as a rising player in Portland’s Mexican revolution. It’s proof that delicious things can come in small packages.