Ryan and Elena Roadhouse’s vintage modern makeover is complete. Luminescent, wasabi-green light streams over their dining room, filtered through floor-to-ceiling shoji screens. A handsome, wraparound 16-seat bamboo chef’s counter dominates the room, ensuring an eyeful of behind-the-scenes action (and soon to be joined by Italian leather chairs currently lost in transit). In the center, a workspace holds what counts here as kitchen bling—an old cutting knife as long as your arm. It means business.
Steps away, a pair of castle-sized sliding library doors are one of few remains of the Genoa, the restaurant whose once-legendary Italian meals held court in this space for multiple decades. Behind them, a second, hidden eating space is also taking shape. It feels like a vintage modern living room, with books, nooks and seriously comfy furniture. In short, it’s two restaurants in one, neither of which feels like a typical restaurant.
Which is to say: Nodoguro is in the house, at last.
As Eat Beat reported, the Roadhouses inked a five-year lease on the space at 2832 SE Belmont St. The restaurant opens tonight, May 18, with tasting-course dinners five nights a week, one seating only. Wednesdays and Thursdays will showcase Nodoguro’s acclaimed Hardcore Omakase Sushi menus—a parade of classics, snacks, and composed seafood courses featuring premier fish from Japan’s famed Tsukiji and Fukuoka Municipal fish markets. (Sorry, the first six weeks posted on the website sold out in, yes, one minute … but keep trying).
The rest of the week (Friday–Sunday) will feature Roadhouse’s themed, seasonal tasting menus. Those are the formal Japanese meals without rules that cemented Nodoguru’s title as PoMo’s Restaurant of the Year in 2015 during its run on SE Hawthorne. Every month will still have a theme—a jumping-off point for the couple’s muse of the moment. This week kicks off with inspirations from the sumptuously surreal photographs of Salvador Dali’s inspired cookbook, Les Diners de Gala. Godzilla, Tampopo, and, yes, avid cook Vincent Price (!) are possible themes going forward. And the Roadhouses tell Eat Beat they will surely remount their famed Twin Peaks dinners, which helped place Ryan among the country’s best food thinkers in Somethingtofoodabout, a new book by famed hip-hop drummer Questlove.
Meanwhile, meals in the back room, dubbed “The Study,” will launch in a few weeks. Diners can just hang out, relax and indulge four or five courses … then stay as long as they like. More to come, as it develops.