At Portland’s next-generation sushi temple, there will be no hushed reverence. Nodoguro, Portland Monthly’s Rising Star of 2014, mixes serious craft, laid-back cool, and boatloads of charm at a 12-seat chef’s counter. Last spring, we called the kitchen’s “Hardcore Omakase Sushi” the city’s hottest reservation. How hot? October’s Sunday-only sushi seats sold out in a half hour.
Now, Eat Beat has learned that owners Ryan and Elena Roadhouse are taking their hardcore following to heart: Nodoguro sushi is now rolling two nights a week, every Wednesday and Sunday (Thursday-Saturdays showcase the Roadhouse’s innovative Japanese menus).
At the center of action: a stash of wild fish from Japan’s famed Tsukiji and Fukuoka municipal markets, picked up hours earlier at the airport. The quality is unparalleled in Portland. One night’s haul included shiraebi (Japanese white shrimp), noresore (baby conger eel), wild Japanese sea scallop, hagatsuo (bonito), Japanese sardine, and wild horse mackerel. Then there is Roadhouse, as unique a sushi chef as you’ll find, both an artist and a traditionalist. The warm sushi rice, cooked throughout the evening, is as sublime as you’re likely to find. Everything is small-scale and highly personal, even the sake options, curated by devoted customer Paul Willenberg. “We could get a rep but we wanted a unique perspective from a true wine nerd,” says Roadhouse. “We’re not interested in selling pairings; we’re about the passion.” It says everything about this place.
3735 SE Hawthorne Blvd.
Dinner Wednesday-Sunday; reservations required