I can't believe I never reviewed this place in all the years I lived in Portland.
I recently visited this old favorite of mine and was delighted to see that it's exactly the same as I remember it.
The place is small (max occupancy of about 18 or 20?) and super unique because you sit at a bar which circles the sushi chef and you can watch him prepare all the lovely dishes you are about to eat! He makes sushi constantly, and loads the plates onto a little train that drives around the bar. If you want something that isn't as common you can order by writing down what you want on the little request lists (they are positioned all around the bar, with pencils) and hand it to the chef. I am embarrassed that I don't remember his name because when I used to live in Portland I went there about once or twice a month and I used to know his name. Anyway he is a very friendly guy and he is happy to explain what anything is if you have questions! He is usually very fast with your order and unless there are loads of other people ahead of you, your wait should be less than about 5 minutes (if you order using the papers)!
There are like 4 or 5 different "classes" or price groups- for example, the really simple rolls are on (I think?) tan plates that cost like $1 or $1.25 each, while the really fancy rolls are on purple plates that cost like $3. So, you take the plates you want and then when it is time to pay they just count up how many of each color plate you have. Each plate is pretty cheap (unless all you eat are the really fancy ones!) but it is easy to spend a lot (ok like $10 - $15!) because everything is so tasty!
I recommend the spicy tuna hand roll, squid salad boat, tempura tai, octopus, and the eel roll (I can't remember what it's called [unagi?] but it's on either a purple plate or a flower plate and there's a brown sauce on it, and it looks super fancy). Oh and the seafood salad is great, and you should absolutely get an order of the sesame balls for dessert. For people who aren't so into sushi, they have several yummy soups and the tempura (you can get vegetables, shrimp and snapper, and maybe other things?) is very good. They have reduced sodium soy sauce, and pickled ginger and wasabi, of course! Their wasabi is always nice and hot, not old and bland like in some other restaurants.
You HAVE to try the escolar. Seriously. It tastes like butter and fish got together and made a baby.
Seriously, this place is in one of my top 10 restaurants of all time. You have to go!
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