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The burger at Bistro Agnes

Image: John Valls

If you’ve fallen for dinner at Bistro Agnesdowntown Portland’s French comfort hot spot at 527 SW 12th Ave, you’ll find plenty to like about lunch, which launched April 2. Greg and Gabi Denton—the power couple behind Northeast Portland’s flame-centric Ox and last year’s James Beard Northwest Chef winners—largely double down on the dinner menu. From the evening lineup, the kitchen gleans a whopping 16 starters and salads (onion soup gratiné to roasted beet salad), a few entrees (including a knife-and-forked cheeseburger proudly standing in a pool of Bordelaise sauce), and five desserts (crème bruleé to profiteroles).

As Portland lunch dwindles to food cart runs and fried chicken sandwiches, credit the Dentons for busting out an ambitious list. Where else are you going to find fried pig’s head croquette, beef tenderloin tartare with homemade potato chips, and malted chocolate mousse … at noon?  

Lunch will be served daily, from 11 a.m.–2 p.m. Prices hover in the $12–16 range, topping out at $38 for a 12-ounce steak frites. 

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Croque madame at Bistro Agnes

Image: John Valls

Also in the mix: a handful of new dishes with a brunch-lunch flavor: daily quiche, hulking classic French sandwiches (croque-monsieur and madame) and homey coq au vin (wine-braised chicken). Meanwhile, spring asparagus is paired with mushrooms, poached eggs and sauce Béarnaise.   

Pain perdu, one of my evening favorites so far, appears in a slight variation at lunch: crispy, eggy French toast dabbed with fruit compote and, if you’re flying high, an optional lobe of seared foie gras. It’s $28 for both, and easy to share … but then again, who’s sharing?

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