I have enjoyed Japanese food, and more specifically sushi for quite some time, well before it became chic to partake. However, I cannot remember a time where I enjoyed it this much.
Let me explain first how I cam to this location. I felt like sushi, and asked the staff at the Hotel Monaco. I had been given suggestions from them before with good results, and I knew that they would at least send me to a decent place. I was hot for sushi as being Portland, I just knew that there had to be fresh fish like I don't get in Florida or Arizona.
They came through with flying colors. It was a Thursday evening at approximately 8:00, and there was plenty of room at both the sushi bar as well as elsewhere in the restaurant. I was greeted at the door by the host, whom I believe was at least a part owner. He was friendly and gracious without being intrusive, pushy or snobbish in any way. He sat me at a seat at the end of the bar, comfortably spaced from another patron and definitely not in an isolated seat.
Almost immediately after sitting down, I was greeted by my server who assisted in choosing an appropriate sake with little input from myself. I'm certain that it was not the cheapest they had but was absolutely delicious. Not overpowering and perfectly chilled. Her only error and the ONLY reason that I did not award 5 stars is because she offered and I accepted a bowl of miso soup which never arrived. In addition, she delivered edemame well into the meal, while asking if I had gotten any or not. But that's not why I came here, so please read on.
The fish was amazing. Sushi, sashimi made no difference - it was all luscious and fresh. Not a hint of strong fish odor or taste - just silken flavor, taste and texture. Everything.
Right out of the box, I went big and asked about their Uni. I don't eat it often, as it is rarely fresh enough and often, well, just plain "funky". Not here. I was immediately presented with the box to view and see that no discoloration had taken place at all, the first sign. When it was served it was a VERY generous portion that was more like two portions than one - VERY light "sea" taste and delicious. I am a "chewer", and not once did I have any concerns. This was a sign that the chef paid attention to the fish when choosing and boy, was I pleased!
I went through my typical choices; yellow tail, sweet shrimp, scallop. I was curious about one entry, and was told that it was somewhat like a shad. The chef said that it was slightly oily, but he was way to excited about having it - a sure sign that I needed to try. I giggled at first, as the filet looked like a large minnow (which, truth be told, is about what a shad is). It was incredible. Firm flesh,very light oil - fabulous. Oh, and the yellow tail? I was provided with some of the belly fat, which he purpousfully left on and I was very glad that he did.
The negatives? well, you get what you pay for. My sake, the fish and a tip took me well over $60. However, it was absolutely worth it. In fact, when I return to Portland in a couple of weeks I suspect that I will be back!
Do not fear this place and definitely make haste to get there as soon as you can!