4912 SE Division St.
The effervescent energy of Long Nguyen, owner of MeKha Grill, has sustained himself, several businesses and his family on his journey from Vietnam to Cambodia to America to Portland. His family left Vietnam for political reasons and went to Cambodia where his mother and father opened their version of a street cart. Long’s job was to rise early every morning and begin cooking the broth for the beef noodle soup/pho. He became quite expert at it.
After his immigration to Seattle to attend college, Long opened his first coffeeshop. Then his cousin invited him on a trip he was taking to Portland to meet a prospective bride, but it ended in Long meeting his wife, Chau Tran. He learned more by opening a coffeeshop on 82nd Ave. that served the Banh Mi sandwich and created a community spot for many in the Asian community. As they say in the business, location, location, location and this was not a good one, and he eventually moved his business to Sandy Blvd. serving his family’s famous noodle soup. His wife comes from a large family and her siblings and the parents pitched in to help establish this new endeavor, MeKha Noodle.
It was Long’s desire to have a restaurant that served all his favorite foods with a fast food approach and the new MeKah Grill does just that. After his mother’s approval on all the recipes, he was ready to open the doors on this second location.
“I’ve kept the menu simple because this is how we like to eat,” Long said. Most of the menu items can be prepared quickly substituting beef, pork, chicken or tofu for the protein. The pho, which is made fresh daily at MeKha Noodle – NE and brought over to MeKah, is mostly beef but there are chicken, Pho GA, and tofu versions made in a vegetarian broth.
Specialties like caramelized quail and chicken or the Beef Short Ribs and MeKah plate can be stir-fried quickly. The meat is marinated and ready to cook. The Banh Mi sandwich has really caught on here and Long thinks his is one of the best. “All simple, fresh ingredients with some of my special sauces.”
There is an offering of appetizers, salads and beverages that covers many Vietnamese specialties. There is indoor and outdoor seating as well as take-out available too.