Toro Bravo, Portland, Oregon
Address: 120 NE Russell Street
Applying Portland's fresh-from-the-farm, made-from-scratch ethos, Toro Bravo transforms the tapas tradition into a parade of unexpected treasures. Trying to narrow down an orderwith choices topping a dizzying 50may leave you wishing for a sushi barstyle checklist and pencil. Enter your neighbors: Communal seating in an open, spirited (read: noisy) red-walled room makes it easy and acceptable to eye your tablemates' food and ask for recommendations. Though few dishes miss, the best include rich squash dumplings with braised lamb; bacon-wrapped dates that are griddled and drizzled with honey; and sautéed hedgehog mushrooms served over crisped bread. Steve's Cheese Board, named for a local purveyor, is an impressive array of uncommon Spanish varieties. Reservations are not accepted and the wait can be long, but the hostess will happily take your cell phone number so you can slip into the cozy bar next door for an aperitif (tapas, $5$15).