written by Julie Lee | photo from Bamboo Sushi
Portland continues to garner the national foodie spotlight. VooDoo put donuts on the map. Pok Pok ignited a Thai food revolution. Now Bamboo has done it again with sushi. Here are five favorite sushi spots.
Bamboo Sushi has such a Portland footprint that even Mayor Charlie Hales shows up for grand openings. With the newest location in SW Portland, Bamboo completed its sushi uprising in every quadrant of the city. At this and the three other locales (SE 28th, NW 23rd and NE Alberta), sustainability is the keystone philosophy. Restaurants run on wind, solar, and geothermal energy; decor is comprised of reclaimed timber; and Bamboo is the first restaurant in America to be certified with the “chain of custody standard” by the Marine Stewardship Council. Translation: best and fresh.
Departure Restaurant + Lounge
View? Check. Portland phenom and “Top Chef” runner-up at the helm? Check. Slightly steep checks? Check. Departure Restaurant is on the higher price end of the sushi spectrum, but the bill is worth it. On top of the ambience, artistry, ambition and Portland hipster vibe, chef Gregory Gourdet throws down some solid sushi. Get the Tuna Sashimi with black truffle and Asian pear, paired with the Tasho Machoa-made, Thai chili-infused vodka and ginger beer, and you won’t blink at the bill as you stare, satiated, out into the city lights of night.
Hidden in the middle of plain sight in an understated storefront on SW Salmon, Shigezo Izakaya is a stone’s throw from city center buzz. Beloved by regulars and downtown worker bees alike, the sushi menu is a bit prophesied (think a spicy tuna or spider roll), but it is consistent, delicious and affordable at $5 or $8 per roll.
Daruma opened in 2013 with a masters in what Portlanders were longing for: Japanese fare and sushi rolls so authentic that the names are difficult to pronounce. Breathtaking, yet quite simple presentation shines and an ever-changing menu follows what’s fresh. The late-night happy hour name-your-price concept is a brilliant way for patrons to indulge affordably.
Being tucked in an old library building in Hillsboro creates some funky table setups, but also some fun hidden dining alcoves. Syun Izakaya is a viable option for people living on Portland’s west side who are in search of exceptional sushi. The service is impeccable, guests are greeted with a warm welcome and the plated displays are striking. Want a happy ending to your day? This happy hour rocks: sushi rolls for $3-$6, sake of the day for $6 and $5 off wine bottle selections.