May 21, 2008

Holy Yakuza, Batman!

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I've never ever been in a mood where I say, "Gee whiz, I am really craving sushi. I just have to have some." Now mind you that I have said that about probably every other kind of food, but just not sushi. It kind of scares me, sushi. I always get a picture in my head of someone doubled over, throwing up into the garbage can. "Bad sushi," they say, heaving away, their face pale and stressed. Don't ask me why. My head is a mystery.

I am on the email list for Beast (which I am totally going to eat at sometime) and a couple of weeks ago, they mentioned their next door sister restaurant Yakuza in their newsletter. They said that Yakuza, though formerly a full fledged sushi bar, was now more "Japanese gastro pub" with the best burger in Portland. Hmmm. Intriguing. I take the claim of best burger seriously. And I take it as something that I must investigate.

I got there before my friends did and ordered an appetizer. Fried goat cheese with caramelized onions and honey with grilled bread. I'm not sure that I really need to describe that any further because, hello! Fried goat cheese? Yeah.

I asked the waitress to surprise me with a drink. Muddled apricots, nutmeg and vanilla with soda water. Yum. So good. When Jeff arrived, we ordered the grilled asparagus with pistachio pesto. I so love asparagus. It was delicious and beautiful. I wish you could have seen it before we devoured it.

Kristin arrived and we ordered sushi. Now I can't remember the name of it, but it had Japanese eggplant and avocado in it. Oh my gosh - it was amazing - the flavors were strong and intense and melded together to be a kind of super hero sushi, saving my mouth from boredom. Oh and we also had sashemi. I really have no idea what kind of fish it was, but it was delectable. I quite enjoyed it!

Unbelievably, we then ordered entrees. I ordered the burger. Jeff ordered the duck. Kristin ordered more sushi. I was totally full, but when they brought out the Kobe beef burger, piled high with goat cheese, arugula and potato crisps, the smell alone made me almost cry at the work of art in front of me. I gripped firmly and took a big bite. The flavors really ignited my taste buds beyond anything I have tasted before. I really mean that. There was something spicy in the burger and the subtlety of the goat cheese, the crunch of the potatoes and the crispness of the greens - all together, this beat out Cafe Castagna's burger by a long shot.

The duck was good, too (I only had a bite) but I'm super glad I ordered my burger. All night, I just kept thinking about my fairly boring week and how it had turned out to be quite exciting after all. Sushi, sashemi, goat cheese (fried!), and an amazing rich burger in one night. Awesome.

Yakuza Lounge on Urbanspoon


Hey, It's Ansley said...

This sounds sooooooo goooood. Too many ooos? We'll have to go back sometime.

Hey, It's Ansley said...

I forgot to say how much I liked the title of this post.

Jean Ann said...

sounds really yummy...I would have avoided it fan of sushi, but maybe I will give it a try...

malbee said...


My name is Lizzy House, and I have a line of fabric coming out called Lizzy Dish, and I might move to Portland... weird! Cool?

just saying hi


Anonymous said...

the poke (that's po-kay, folks, don't be alarmed or get your hopes up) with red chili peppers is dynamite. The famous burger was not a disappointment, and the rolls were good. They use real wasabi, not that green paste shit most sushi-yas use. Only drawback: its a little pricey.

ta ra.