Huevos Revueltos el Salvador at Dos Naciones: Scrambled eggs with onions, tomatoes and jalapenos; black beans; rice; fried plantains; fresh cheese; and sour cream. Photo by Meredith Goad

Dos Naciones is not supposed to open for breakfast until sometime this week, but when I dropped in on a recent late Sunday morning hoping to score brunch, the accommodating owner generously offered to make me one of the breakfast dishes listed on the menu.

I chose the Huevos Revueltos el Salvador – scrambled eggs with onions, tomatoes and jalapeno, with black beans, rice, fried plantain, fresh cheese and sour cream. And while I waited, I took the edge off my hunger by trying some of the chips and salsa she’d brought to my table. The salsa was really delicious. It wasn’t spicy by any means, surprisingly, so if that’s what you look for in a salsa, this might not be for you. But what it lacked in heat, it more than made up for in freshness and flavor.

But take my advice: Don’t fill up on the salsa and chips. When my $12.99 breakfast arrived (most of the other breakfast options are priced at $10.99), it was a huge, still steaming plate of food. I was unable to finish it, not only because of the size, but because the fried plantains had soaked up a lot of oil and were a little too rich for me. Everything else was fresh and hot; the creamy black beans topped with a bit of grated cheese were especially good. And if you want more heat, every table has three bottles of hot sauce to try. The meal came with two thick tortillas that arrived at the table in a container to keep them warm.

I appeared to be one of the first customers of the day, but it didn’t take long before couples began streaming in for lunch and ordering beer and margaritas to go with their meals. (I had coffee, since I was still in weekend breakfast mode.) The restaurant, located in the former Local Sprouts, is bigger than it appears from the outside, with about a dozen tables and a half dozen booths for seating. The space looks clean and refreshed. One of the restaurant’s televisions was playing music – “baladas romanticas” – a selection of Latin ballads that was basically a bunch of handsome heartthrobs singing lots of songs with “te amo” (I love you) in the lyrics.

Salsa and chips at Dos Naciones in Portland. Photo by Meredith Goad

I’m eager to go back for lunch or dinner and try more of the large menu. The restaurant is called Dos Naciones, meaning “two nations,” because it specializes in both Mexican and El Salvadoran food. The menu has sections for wet burritos ($11.99-$18.99) and dry burritos ($12.95-$15.99), and El Salvadoran dishes such as the Pescado Frito Con Tostones – a whole fried fish served with four tostones (fried plantain), lemon slices, salsa and rice for $16.99. A selection of pupusas and corn tamales are also available on the El Salvadoran menu.

A page of dinner specials includes a wide range of Mexican dishes, from steak and slow-cooked pork to lamb tacos. The menu includes three kinds of quesadillas and a selection of combo plates as well. Prices are all over the place, but unless you’re ordering for two, everything is under $20.

This is another addition to the Portland restaurant scene that seems to be well worth supporting. The owner has said that it has long been her dream to own her own restaurant, and the love and care she puts into the food shows.

 


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