AMONG TRUE SUSHI FANATICS
, the quest for Portland’s best is a raw topic. Variables are myriad—harmony, balance, the quality and cut of the fish, the seasoning of the rice—and opinions are passionately immovable. This warm, industrial space delivers the paramount sushi experience: a journey, doused in whimsy, steeped in discovery, and showcasing some of the best nigiri in the city. Head straight for the sushi bar and order up the omakase
—a dizzying, five-course tasting menu that changes nightly according to the fresh sheet and the imagination of veteran, Tokyo-born sushi chef Kaoru Ishii. You’ll find steamed Japanese egg custard concealing buttery chunks of crab and scallop; an addictively rich bowl of nikudofu
(a long-simmered mix of sliced beef belly, tofu, and Japanese green onion); a delicately rich, textured tower of shrimp, scallop, and fried eggplant topped with a velvety dollop of sautéed foie gras; black cod marinated in sweet soy and yuzu, crisped to perfection; and, the highlight, a fresh wave of nigiri featuring obscure fish from the Oregon coast and beyond. Yes, prices are steep, and you won’t find the hulking, cream cheese–stuffed rolls that have become de rigueur in American sushi—but you’ll leave feeling like you’ve gone somewhere.