3405 Odell Hwy, Hood River, OR | Directions 9703145.625755 -121.540876
The Michoacan in Odell is definitely at the very top of my list when we want to go out for an authentic Mexican lunch or dinner, and we're so lucky they're right here in our sweet upper Hood River Valley!
I didn't give the Michoacan 5 stars for three reasons: 1) The main reason for the low rating is due to the inadequate kitchen ventilation, which has nothing to do with the amazing 5 star quality of the food served. The entire restaurant tends to fill with fumes and smoke from griddle oil as the hard-working cooks grill their delicious handmade tortillas patted out to heavenly perfection right there on the spot. I was told the owners are currently working on the ventilation issue...hopefully...but its been the same for a couple years. Its not unusual to hear customers coughing in the restaurant and most locals order take-out to enjoy elsewhere. I can imagine working in that environment as a cook or waitress for 8 hours; and 2) The general atmosphere could use a touch of comfort ...like cozy booths, fresh interior paint, and a TV that works (it is a sports bar, right?)...or at least a thorough cleaning and a few green plants.
And 3) The beer is way way way too pricey for a local "Sports-bar" with a TV that doesn't always gets signal, no comfortable seating, and the only fresh air is when someone opens the door. A friend ordered a couple Miller light beers and was caught off guard when he was charged 4$ per bottle! (equals $24 a six-pack for a low-scale beer you could probably buy across the street at Clem's Market for 7$ a six pack)... so make sure you check the menu for current prices or pretend you're in Mexico paying for "imported" beer. (Maybe the restaurant owners could use the profits from their beer sales to make a few interior improvements (-:
In the meantime, don't pass up Michoacan's stellar eats just because their restaurant is hazy and basic as a south of the border bus station...that's the fault of the owners and not the people who are cooking and serving. The fresh quality of their authentic dishes made by expert hands absolutely makes up for the lack of restaurant ambiance. I hear they're famous for their carnitas and enchiladas but I havent tried. I like their quesadillas stuffed with mushrooms, squash, and/or spinach (plus shrimp for a little extra $) and their refried beans are perfect. Don't forget to smile at the cooks when you're at the cash register...and leave a big tip for them too...even if you're just ordering take-out (:
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