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Jul 14, 2012 09:25 PM

Best Sushi in Portland

Just moved here. Am a sushi lover. Don't want to waste my time on bad sushi places. Please help.

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      Voters on this site are above citysearch/zagat in credibility. But stay away from Mio Sushi and Saburo. They are truly gross.

      1. I love Kurata in Lake Oswego, but I rarely want to schlep over there. My new go to is Hokusei on SE Belmont. I also like Murata and Mirakutei, and though I like Bamboo too, I don't go there as often these days as the other choices are on par and a bit less expensive.

        2 Replies
        1. re: JillO

          Have you been to the new place Boxer on 20th and Hawthorne yet?

          We went there this weekend and were fairly impressed. Among the sashimi and nigiri we ordered, the salmon, tuna and mackerel were particularly good. They don't have much in the way of non-sushi items, and the rolls on the menu at least were fairly limited, but the quality and presentation of the fish were very nice.

          Thanks for the idea on Hokusei. Haven't been there yet. Plan to remedy that soon.

          1. re: jonoropeza

            No, I haven't been to Boxer yet, but it is on my list of places I want to try...

        2. any recent updates? We want to go this weekend, looking for more traditional than modern, with excellent service and not needing to try really unusual foods, just want stellar service, nice atmosphere, and absolutely top-notch fresh sushi. Price no object.

          On list:


          What do you suggest?

          8 Replies
          1. re: thesnowyday

            Roe easily has the best fish in Portland and some of the best fish I have had in the US. Definitely modern, some raw, some cooked though.

            1. re: thesnowyday

              I've been to Hokusei twice since the post last summer. It's what you're looking for in terms of top-notch traditional Japanese sushi. A favorite.

              I also still like Boxer, it's my #2 spot behind Hokusei. Much more of a modern-West-Coast kind of sushi spot.

              I like Wafu a lot for drinks and snacks, and I'm sure the food at Roe is very good as well. Not sushi bars though, and I'd put them on the far modern end of the modern-traditional spectrum.


              1. re: jonoropeza

                ^^And that is almost exactly what I would say!

                (because I finally got my ass to Boxer, and yes, it is good, but a notch below Hokusei...cheaper for omakase too - which is definitely what you should order!)

                1. re: JillO

                  which one is cheaper for amakase - Boxer or Hokusei? More to the point, which is better?

                  There's always another night. Roe actually sounds like outside of our normal comfort zone, good for a major celebration dinner for two.

                  1. re: thesnowyday

                    For omakase we find Boxer to be cheaper and there is a lot more food (and it is a mix of sashimi and sushi). Boxer's downsides include chairs I find very uncomfortable, less than 20 seats (waits can be long when it is crowded both in terms of service and in terms of getting a table), there is no bar and sake choices are limited (OK, they suck) - also they only have small glasses for water/soda/etc.- and those small glasses are actually repurposed single serving sake jars (I hate lousy glassware, YMMV ;o) . Preps are a bit more adventurous with more ingredients, a bit more of a modern take. And the omakase is rounded out with miso soup and a small salad, which is not the case at Hokusei.

                    Hokusei has just a bit more impressive selection of fish (incl. stuff I have never had before) and a more restrained hand with the prep. If you order omakase here, you need to specify how many pieces each (nigiri here are priced per piece when ordered a la carte, btw) and you are charged whatever the night's price is for that nigiri. You can probably ask them to keep it under a certain point. We usually say 10 pieces each (and note any "must-haves" or "no-freaking ways" ;o) and then re-evaluate at the end. Many times we end up ordering more, often the chawanmushi (which is excellent at Hokusei) or sometimes hamachi collar or oysters...sometimes more nigiri. Seats at the bar are comfy (better service than at a table), there's a full bar and a great (if a bit expensive) sake list.

                    So while at Boxer you know that it is $38 each - everytime; at Hokusei, the pricing will be different depending on what you are getting. And because of the sake list, we tend to spend more at Hokusei, finding it hard to get out of there for under $130 for 2.

                    If money is no object and you want sake and cocktails - Hokusei, no contest. If you want an awesome deal on sushi/sashimi (because they really don't serve anything else there) and are not a traditionalist and don't care about chairs/glassware/full bar Boxer is your spot.

                    I am thrilled to have a choice, frankly, and recommend both.

                    And yes, to do Roe right, it is an expensive celebratory dinner (they have a decent sake list too, but have some of the highest prices in fact, the mark-up is so high I have stopped drinking sake there).

                    But if you haven't been to Wafu (the restaurant that makes up the front of Roe), I definitely recommend it - not a lot of sushi/sashimi on the menu but what is there is great, and a lot of the other stuff on the menu is really good too (the roasted crab handroll is a must-have, btw).

                    1. re: JillO

                      appreciate this info. Service and intimate atmosphere important for this weekend so Roe sounds better than Wafu (which I haven't been to). By "do Roe right' do you mean the only way to 'do it right' is with the full tasting menu? If so that is fine $ wise, and since we're likely to only go once we want to get it right. But we're not huge eaters - afraid of just getting too stuffed. And we don't drink sake, at all, so at least we won't have that on our bill. If they can pour me a crisp acidic white wine with my fish I'll be happy.

                      1. re: thesnowyday

                        I think Roe does an optional set of wine pairings with the multi-course, so you might want to do that there. I think that the 4-course is $65pp (you pick the dishes) and there is also a larger, maybe 10-course that gives you a tour of the whole menu. Plates are small, and appetites vary, don't know where you fit on the spectrum...but I err on the side of more vs. less and think I can handle a 10 course.

                        And yes, the back room Roe is in is dark-ish, lovely mural, and intimate - the front room of Wafu is casual and not exactly a date night atmosphere.

                        1. re: thesnowyday

                          Roe has made some great changes to the list recently. We enjoyed the 10 course a week ago with pairings and thought it was well worth it. We have eaten the 4 as well and came away happy as well.

                          Ate at WAFU at the chef's counter two nights ago and love it as well. The menu is evolving a great deal now that Daniel Mondok is heading that side of the kitchen.

              2. super helpful tip. I read up on Roe and it sounds perfect, and they even had 6 pm reservations for 2 for this Saturday. My wife will love it, and my kids won't, which was the whole point of getting the babysitter in the first place. thank you

                1 Reply
                1. re: thesnowyday

                  TSD - yahoo! Call to request to sit at the chef's counter (if available) so you can chat to Chef Trent and Patrick while they create the magic in front of you.