Opening Watch: Hokusei
While the words "local, seasonal, and fresh" have become near-clichéd descriptors when it comes to new restaurants in Portland, the novelty of regionally-sourced ingredients is alive and well when it comes to international cuisines.
Hokusei, set to debut this week, is one such eatery set to prioritize the best of Oregon’s bounty. The restaurant’s name—pronounced ho-ku-say—means Northwest in Japanese, and reflects Executive Chef Kaoru Ishii’s efforts to craft traditional Japanese dishes with seasonal offerings from regional farms, ranches, and rivers. The Tokyo native has gathered over two decades of experience perfecting his own take on Japanese cuisine at restaurants around the world, including top kitchens in Japan, Los Angeles (Malibu’s Nobu and Beverly Hill’s Matsuhisa) and San Fransisco (Okuma).
The 1700 square foot, 47-seat restaurant is co-owned by chef Cody Auger and chef Eric Boor (who met at the Pearl District’s shuttered Hiroshi) will occupy a space on Southeast Belmont next-door to Slappy Cakes and steps from the popular Good Food Here cart pod.
The menu is divided into hot and cold starters (think house-pickled vegetables and seasonal tempura), nigiri and sashimi, specialty rolls (including vegetarian options), and entrees (like roasted Kurobuta Pork shoulder with kabocha squash puree and seared bok choy and grilled Painted Hills tenderloin with root vegetable puree and shiitake mushrooms with a plum wine reduction. Full omakase (chef’s choice) dinners will also be available.
The bar will be managed by Brian Gillard, who will offer over 25 varieties of saké, shochu, and nigori, as well as specialty cocktails like the Oni (Yamazaki 10 year whiskey, Cointreau, dash orange bitters and fresh grated ginger) and Akamatta
(Aviation gin, yuzu, sparkling wine, with muddled shiso leaf).
Auger—who also has a background in architecture, woodworking, and design—has handcrafted every wood feature in the space to complement the ceiling’s 100-year-old wooden beams and open kitchen.
Stay tuned for an exact opening date and photos of the space, right here on Eat Beat.
Hokusei Japanese Restaurant
4246 SE Belmont Street Suite 2; 971-279-2161
Open Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from 4 to 10 pm
Friday, Saturday, and Sunday 4 to 11 pm