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October 16th, 2013 MARTIN CIZMAR | Bar Reviews
 

Double Dragon: Double Vision

clublist_doubledragon_3950DOUBLE DRAGON - IMAGE: Anna Jae Goellner

In its first incarnation as a bougie banh mi shop, Double Dragon (1235 SE Division St., 230-8340, doubledragonpdx.com) had its fans. I was not one of them. The $7.50 price for a sandwich that typically costs less than $4, obviously, was a scandal. The bread, then baked in-house, was all wrong—hefty stuff that refused to mash down as required. The pork belly was a slick of charred fat. Well, two years later, the sandwiches, believe it or not, have gotten even more expensive ($12 for roast duck, $9 for meatball or pork belly), but Double Dragon’s boozy reboot has bettered the place in every other way. They’ve kept the stylish branding on the walls, but moved the counter to make room for a long bar that serves an outstanding warm toddy called the Gold Soundz—which has lemongrass and an absinthe rinse—plus a variety of special alcoholic punches. The loungey space hosts Baby Ketten karaoke and geek trivia. The jammed-out Genders record plays all the way through on a lazy Sunday afternoon. The bread now comes from Portland French Bakery and is appropriately thin and wispy. The new chicken chorizo banh mi is no rival for Binh Minh or An Xuyen, but it’s not an affront to the form. An expanded menu of soups includes a coconut curry ramen ($10) that’s good except for its floppy noodles. But you shouldn’t eat here when you’re feeling picky, or when too much sunlight streams through the massive windows facing Division Street. To my mind, this is a bar now. It has the same vibe as the old Dragon, but far more utility.

 
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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