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Ryan Roadhouse crafts dessert for November's harajuku-themed dinners. 

Image: Karen Brooks

According to the wise men, where there is crisis, there is opportunity. Ryan and Elena Roadhouse are about to test-drive that notion. In November, Nodoguro, their Japanese tasting menu restaurant on SE Hawthorne, a house of intimacy, commitment, and playfulness, earned Portland Monthly’s top honor, Restaurant of the Year 2015. Demand surged, and seats for Nodoguro’s tasting menu dinners and exquisite sushi nights disappeared quickly (like, in one hour). A month later, they lost the space for 2016. Word came via next-door landlord, Pastaworks, which is vacating the building to spearhead a new food lover’s emporium at 2340 NE Sandy, opening soon (read our breaking news story here.)   

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Fresh crab with ikura roe and creamy egg yolk sauce 

Image: Karen Brooks

For weeks now, the Roadhouses have been juggling intensive reservation requests and airport runs for shipments of hard-to-get Japanese fish while searching for a new home. It’s been a wild ride. Offers have poured in, from chefs, entrepreneurs, and all-out dreamers, including an air B&B owner hoping to host Nodoguro house dinners. For now, the Roadhouses have settled on a great new location, two nights a week, at 511 NE 24th Ave: a hidden, super cozy, loft-like space that opens into a dreamy, 1950s yard with outdoor couch and fireplace.

Starting in early 2016, dinners will be held on Wednesday and Thursday nights. Earlier this year, the space was the staging for two of the year’s most exciting “restaurants” that never became restaurants: Stray Dogs, a short-lived hot dog rave, and then Stray Birds, a promising Korean BBQ experience from talented New York expat chefs Peter Cho and Johnny Leach. Though known informally as the “Stray Birds” space, Eat Beat has learned that Cho and Leach are morphing the 32-seater into an incubator/collaborative kitchen as well as a place for their own cooking projects.

Additionally, Nodoguro will occasionally take over the chef’s counter at Ataula in Northwest Portland on Sunday or Monday nights, when the restaurant is closed.

With the new location comes new ideas. Already in the works: “Supahardcore,” 21 little courses of composed Japanese dishes and Roadhouse’s masterful sushi. 

Seats for early 2016 dinners will drop on Wednesday, Dec. 23, at 5 pm Check the website for details.

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