727 SE Washington St.
Tues – Sat, 5pm – 10pm
Sun, 5pm – 9pm
By Cat Wurdack
If you missed the earlier inception of chef Billy Schumaker’s legendary Mexican restaurant on Northeast 28th Street, you’re in luck because Taqueria Nueve (T9) is back and it’s better than ever in its new Central Industrial location.
When Schumaker opened T9 in 2000, it was an overnight success, with rave reviews and lines out the door. Everyone who loved his signature cochinita pibil, tres leches cake, mole (roast chicken) poblano and freshly squeezed margaritas was heartbroken (yes, heartbroken) when he closed because of the recession in 2008.
In January 2013, EaterPDX reported, “By a landslide, readers’ most missed restaurant is Chef Billy Schumaker’s Taqueria Nueve.” And the kickstarter campaign was on with T9 bartender and long-time Schumaker pal Brent Richford leading the charge to bring Schumaker out of Mexican food retirement and restore the restaurant he loved.
“The wild boar tacos, the caesar — those are the reasons I wanted Billy to come back,” said Richford, Schumaker’s T9 partner who runs the bar and oversees the dining room while Schumaker does what he does best in the kitchen.
The menu offers a selection of botanas (appetizers); tacos; a la carta (main dishes); and ordenes (sides). Appetizers are around $5 with the most expensive being caesar con ceviche at $10.25.
Tacos ($3 to $4 each) include roasted beef tongue, crispy wild boar, and pan fried fatty beef brisket, as well as fish of the day. Panucho, a vegetarian taco, is stuffed with smashed black beans, fried crispy, and topped with mushrooms marinated in chiles and lime, pickled onions, and goat cheese.
Tacos are served with two sauces (red and green) and a side of pickled vegetables. T9’s distinctively light and flavorful tortillas are made throughout the evening service by Juana, a native Guatemalan employed full-time for this purpose.
The drinks list includes a selection of house-infused tequilas, a Mexican negroni ($10) with Hornitos, campari, and vermouth; and a solid sangria ($7) assembled with good red wine, Mexican brandy, fresh fruit, and spices.
Main dishes are around $13 with cooked-to-order grilled hanger steak and seafood stew topping out at $15.00. The duck confit tomales steamed in banana leaves (tomales oaxaquenos) are a specialty of the house.
Shumaker uses quality antibiotic-free and all natural local ingredients when possible and is guided by Monterey Bay seafood recommendations. He’s sourcing non-GMO masa for the house-made tortillas.
“The kickstart, which exceeded expectations, helped fund a remodel of T9’s new home in the hard-to-miss lime green 720 building. Schumaker and Richford served as general contractors and laborers with help from local artists and friends who reportedly traded day work and design for . . . tacos!”