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“Always a fine night out”
Review of Yakuza Lounge

Yakuza Lounge
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Ranked #657 of 4,430 Restaurants in Portland
Price range: $41 - $80
Cuisines: Sushi, Japanese
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Large groups
Dining options: Reservations
Dining style: Casual Dining
Cross street: NE Killingsworth
Transit: Trimet 72, 9, and 10
Reviewed June 6, 2011

In the five years or so, since we *discovered* Yakuza (mere blocks from our home), it's become a favorite that we've visited several dozen times. Over the years the menu has been twisted and turned frequently, both to reflect the seasons or the whims of the chefs. That's a good thing, I guess (despite occasionally 'losing' a crave-worthy dish) - it keeps things fresh and interesting.

One big reason to visit Yakuza is their chevre and potato-strip laden burger, a juicy handful (that may require utensils!) and a relative bargain at $12 (as of mid-2011). Paired with an appetizer of cucumber/avocado salad or a side of spikey-haired tempura-battered scallops and the meal could be considered complete. Some emphasis on sushi -both in maki rolls and nigiri slivers- has returned to the menu, always with a Northwest 'fusion' twist. For example, a recent yellowtail/avocado/pear handroll was so excellent that we had FOUR at one sitting!

They have a small but pleasant patio at the back of the restaurant (almost zen-like, but for the occasional raucous party or rambunctious children) and a wide garage door facing NE 30th - both make Yakuza a great choice in nice weather. But even when the weather is foul, the sleek and oddly cozy (albeit sometimes loud) dining room is inviting.

Service can be slow at times, as the kitchen can get backed up during busy times. When that happens, we just order another cocktail (some fine recipes making use of the likes of beets or cilantro), a beer (a couple local taps, plus several Japanese lagers) or a sake (a couple dozen to seklect from) and go with it. Regardless of the server (and we've gotten to know several fine ones over the years), he or she will be friendly, forthright with recommendations and will keep the pace going as seamlessly as possible.

A night at Yakuza may set you back a few bucks but should be an enjoyable respite and will leave your taste buds enlightened.

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Thank msubulldog25
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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41 - 45 of 46 reviews

Reviewed August 2, 2010

Had drinks @ yakuza in late July (waiting for dinner seating @ another restaurant). Really cool atmosphere; drinks were great. Very innovative cocktails. Did not eat but saw some food being served (mostly a sushi bar, but has a few other items)--food looked good would like to return & dine.

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Thank Art918
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 7, 2009

Our visit to Yakusa was quite seredipitous. We had made reservations for the second seating at Beast next door and were told we could wait at Yakusa until called for dinner. Our first engry into Beast was at best bad so when we entered the light and casual atmosphere of Yakusa our spirits rose and we decided to cancel Beast and dine at Yakusa. The gracious host sat us at a quiet table on the patio and the friendly waitress brought the menus, took our drink orders and suggested several items for our meal.

The simple one page menu belies the depth of flavors, textures and gastronomic subtilties that lie in the food. The first taste of almost evey dish brought out the "Oh my God this is Sooo good!" statement as we relished each new presentation. Since this was our first visit we relied primarlily on recommendations from the waitress with a few selections of our own. We ordered in stages to allow a better appreciation of the full range of dishes which included the Zucchini squash carpaccio, Kobe beef tartar (yum-yum), Hawaiian amberjack sashimi, Dungeness crab maki, Minced Hawaiian yellowtail maki and apple and avocado and sweet pepper maki (heavenly).

Our only disappointment was that they had run out of all of their desserts because of our late reservation at Beast. Beast had done us in a second time. Nevertheless we now have one additional thing to look forward to on our next visit.

The beverage list is a bit light on wines but has a nice selection of Sake, beer and ale. Unfortunately one of our party disliked Sake so we ordered a bottle of Chardonnay. We will try Sake on our next visit.

The staff was friendly, helpful, knowledgeable about the food and just real nice. What started as a terrible evening ended up a total pleasure. Mnay thanks to the staff.

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1  Thank KlumpKnop
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor reviewer on Facebook
Portland, Oregon
Reviewed May 26, 2009

great space, creative dining, cool palce to enjoy with friends, happy hours plates were tasty and recession proof. backyard dining looked fresh for hot summer nites.

Thank A TripAdvisor reviewer on Facebook
This review is the subjective opinion of an individual contributor and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 24, 2009

Excellent scallops and pork! Also interesting cocktails, many being infused with ingredients you wouldn't expect (e.g. carrot juice). The crab sushi was delicious, but I will bypass the shrimp sushi next time I'm there.

Thank KyleDPDX
This review is the subjective opinion of an individual contributor and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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