Shigezo

What is your favorite little restaurant in your neighborhood that you can go to any day for a quick date? For F and I, it used to be a Mediterranean place but that closed own recently and now our spot is Shigezo Sushi Izakaya and Sushi. Shigezo is a Japanese restaurant that has a large menu that can make omnivores, vegetarians, vegans, and the gluten free all happy. They offer sushi, but I particulalry love their rice bowls, grilled items, and ramen. I even find room to squeeze in desserts. Here are some of our favorite dishes.

For the vegetarian and vegans out there, here’s a starter for you from the happy hour menu: Deep fried tofu in hot soy broth, or the Temaki, or hand roll of the Veggie Roll with avocado, cucumber, shiso leaf, daikon sprouts, yamagobo, and sesame seeds.
Shigezo Agedashi Tofu appetizer with fried tofu, mochi, ginger, grated daikon, shishito pepper Shigezo happy hour Temaki, or hand roll: this is the Veggie Roll with avocado, cucumber, shiso leaf, daikon sprouts, yamagobo, and sesame seeds

Shigezo has a Robata Grill, so you can order individual skewers like these – Thigh, Breast, Pork Belly, Quail Egg and Bacon, and Flank Steak skewers. Thankfully, Shigezo has much more space so you won’t be elbow to elbow and in a cloud of smoke like the typical hole in the wall izakaya in an alley in Tokyo! They have about a dozen skewers so not as many as an in izakaya, but half are meat and half are vegetables so they are great appetizers before your meal. Or just order skewers as a snack accompaniment to drinks like beer or sake, which is what most people do in Japan. The skewers are part of the happy hour menu!
Shigezo has a Robata, so you can get grilled skewers like these - Thigh, Breast, Pork Belly, Quail Egg and Bacon skewers Shigezo has a Robata, so you can get grilled skewers and the skwers are on their regular adn happy hour menu

They also have a handful of teppan grill items not on skewers, such as Grilled Chicken Thigh with choice of Yakitori sauce or Shio Dare (it doesn’t look like much, but the crunchy pieces of chicken are delish) and my favorite, squid such as Grilled Squid Legs (available for happy hour) or the Grilled Drunk Squid, a grilled squid marinated with soy sauce, mirin and sugar over night, both are served with mayo and chili pepper.
Shigezo Grilled Squid Legs, served with mayo and chili pepper Shigezo Grilled Drunk Squid dish, Grilled squid marinated with soy sauce, mirin and sugar over night, served with mayo and chili pepper

Another hole in the wall type of food I sometimes crave is Tempura. In Japan, there are some small restaurants that only do tempura, and you can choose stick by stick what you want. At Shigezo you have the option of vegetables usually on a specials menu (such as kabocha squash) or the classic shrimp and I usually just go for Shrimp Tempura.
Shigezo's 5 pieces of shrimp tempura with shishito pepper

Japanese curry with rice donburi is super comforting. Often Japanese curries have meat, but at Shigezo they also have a Japanese Vegetable Curry that is vegan with eggplant, zucchini, bell peppers, asparagus, carrots, and onion in mild brown curry with shredded cabbage over rice. They have this on the dinner and happy hour menu.
Often Japanese curries have meat, but at Shigezo they also have a Vegetable Curry that is vegan with eggplant, zucchini, bell peppers, asparagus, carrots, and onion in mild brown curry with shredded cabbage over rice.

For the omnivore, the curry I prefer is the Chicken Katsu Curry, a panko fried chicken breast on top of beef curry with shredded cabbage and rice.
Shigezo has on their happy menu this great Chicken Katsu Curry, a panko fried chicken breast on top of beef curry with shredded cabbage and rice.

For the omnivore who wants something lighter then curry, I really like the Shigezo Kitchen special of Seafood Takikomi Don, a Japanese style rice bowl dish cooked with soy sauce, mirin, eringi and and enoki mushrooms and topped with crab, salmon roe, and shiso leaf
Shigezo Kitchen special of Seafood Takikomi Don, a Japanese style rice bowl dish cooked with soy sauce, mirin, eringi and and enoki mushrooms and topped with crab, salmon roe, and shiso leaf

They have delicious ramen with broth, but I also like something unusual that you don’t always see at ramen places – Abu Ramen. All year round, they have Abu Ramen or Udon – your choice of ramen or udon noodles, tossed in house shiodare, vegetable ramen base, garlic oil, chili paste and onion oil, topped with chashu pork, soft boiled egg, green onions, bean sprouts, tempura puffs and crispy wontons – can be made vegan or vegetarian by excluding the pork or egg.
Shigezu Abu Ramen or Udon - your choice of ramen or udon noodles, tossed in house shiodare, vegetable ramen base, garlic oil, chili paste and onion oil, topped with chashu pork, soft boiled egg, green onions, bean sprouts, tempura puffs and crispy wontons - can be made vegan or vegetarian by excluding the pork or egg Shigezu Abu Ramen or Udon - your choice of ramen or udon noodles, tossed in house shiodare, vegetable ramen base, garlic oil, chili paste and onion oil, topped with chashu pork, soft boiled egg, green onions, bean sprouts, tempura puffs and crispy wontons - can be made vegan or vegetarian by excluding the pork or egg

For vegetarians and vegans, besides the Abu you can also get a broth noodle bowl. Here below you see the Shigezo Happy hour portion of Veggie Udon, which is vegan, with napa cabbage, green onion, shungiku, eringi, enoki, tempura puffs, and homemade udon noodles in a seaweed and soy broth.
Shigezo Happy hour portion of Veggie Udon, which is vegan, with napa cabbage, green onion, shungiku, eringi, enoki, tempura puffs, and homemade udon noodles in a seaweed and soy broth

Try to leave some room for dessert. Here you can find special dessert menu items, such as here Coconut Butter Mochi, a rich and delicate homemade Hawaiian style mochi cake served with your choice of vanilla, adzuki green tea or mango ice cream, or Goma Dango a dish with fried sesame balls filled with adzuki served with sweet potato chip and your choice of vanilla, adzuki green tea or mango ice cream
From Shigezo, special dessert menu item of Coconut Butter Mochi, a rich and delicate homemade Hawaiian style mochi cake served with your choice of ice cream From Shigezo, special dessert menu item of Goma Dango, a dish with fried sesame balls filled with adzuki served with sweet potato chip and your choice of vanilla, adzuki green tea or mango ice cream

Do you have a favorite Japanese restaurant in your neighborhood, whether it be for yakitori or sushi or whatever, what is it?

Shigezo Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Headwaters Lunch Recommendations

There are certain places I like to recommend for a power lunch – a place you can have lunch with other professionals in an environment that is more informal than a meeting room so you can be comfortable, and you can linger at your table as needed to continue discussions or meetings. The list includes places like Higgins, Nostrana, Clyde Common, Clarklewis, Andina, Urban Farmer, Serrato, Gracie’s, Raven and Rose, and now to that top 10 list, I add Headwaters. Today I want to share my Headwaters Lunch Recommendations.
Bar at Headwaters Open Kitchen at Headwaters

Of course, any power lunch place needs to take reservations, and have tables that are large enough to be comfortable. The atmosphere at Headwaters additionally adds a feeling of formality with the white tablecloths and transparency with the big windows and lots of light from outside during lunch. The space allows some privacy with your tables for conversation.
Seating at Headwaters Seating at Headwaters Seating at Headwaters  Seating at Headwaters Seating at Headwaters Seating at Headwaters

When you visit Headwaters, my recommendations for a sophisticated start that is sure to impress are from the Crudo and Ceviche section the Diver Scallop with truffle and foie gras. If you feel like treating yourself to a special luxury there’s Caviar Buterbrodi here you see the Artic Char Caviar Buterbrodi.
When you visit Headwaters, my recommendations for a sophisticated start that is sure to impress are from the Crudo and Ceviche section the Diver Scallop with truffle and foie gras. Headwaters Artic Char Caviar Buterbrodi.

For appetizers that you can share, look to the vegan Spit Roasted Cauliflower with broccoli sauce and vadouvan. The Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad with hazelnuts, pecorino, and lemon is also amazing and large enough to share or keep it for yourself!
Headwaters Spit Roasted Cauliflower with broccoli sauce and vadouvan Headwaters Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad with hazelnuts, pecorino, and lemon

The other significant salad I can recommend is the Crab Luigi with mixed lettuces, louie dressing, and it is surrounded by a ring of prosciutto and delicious tender fresh Dungneess Crab in the middle.
Headwaters Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad with hazelnuts, pecorino, and lemon Headwaters Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad with hazelnuts, pecorino, and lemon

There’s soups (including naturally a chowder for this seafood restaurant,  and also a vegetable bisque). For your main dish, there’s a handful of sandwiches, a pasta dish, fish and chips, seared steelhead and a few unique items like a vegetarian chickpea pancake. I am usually a sucker and keep ordering the veggies and salads and stuff from the Crudo and Ceviche section, but I’ve dined with others who had the sandwiches, pasta, and fish and chips dish and they looked really good.

There are even more seafood options at dinner, and they also are offering a Russian tea service, and brunch! For March they are participating in Portland Dining Month, so you have a chance to try three courses for only $29 choosing from

  1. First Course: Hearth fired flatbread with spinach, radicchio, lemon and Pecorino
  2. Second Course: Seared, herb crusted albacore with potato salad and spring vegetables
  3. Third Course: Butterscotch Pudding, vanilla Chantilly, peanut butter “butterfinger” and sea salt.

Have you been to Headwaters yet, what would you order? You can make reservations at Headwaters – and for March if you do they will donate a portion to the Oregon Food Bank – here at OpenTable.

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Superbite Happy Hour

Have you heard that Superbite recently announced they will offer a happy hour a couple weeks ago? I was able to visit it and with friends try every item on the menu. Having so loved the Metrovino burger (which is when I first experienced the awesomeness of the Dentons) I practically ran there days after the announcement even though it was during our Snowpacalypse with multiple inches of snow. It being mid-January and their happy hour being from 5 – 6 PM daily in the bar area it’s already dark, and I am definitely invested in returning when I can get in some better lighting. But, here’s a first look anyway.
Exterior of Superbite Exterior of Superbite

The happy hour drinks include a red or white wine selection, $3 Rainier or $1 off other drafts, and a cocktail called Arts & Leisure that is refreshing with vodka, lemon, bonal, aperol and prosecco.
Superbite happy hour cocktail of Arts & Leisure that is refreshing with vodka, lemon, bonal, aperol and prosecco.

The happy hour is a huge bargain, offering $2 “bites” and $5–10 “plates”. The bites are really for an individual, not shareable since they are literally only 1-2 bites that include options like

  • Salmon Crudo bite with hibiscus ponzu, pickled jalapeno, and shiso
    Superbite Happy Hour item of Salmon Crudo bite with hibiscus ponzu, pickled jalapeno, and shiso
  • Dungeness Crab with celery root tortilla, sesame mayo, citrus, and tobiko
    Superbite Happy Hour item of Dungeness Crab with celery root tortilla, sesame mayo, citrus, and tobiko
  • Grilled Shitake with miso porcini marshmallow and sauternes glaze. That miso porcini marshmellow is really fun in terms of the texture but savory instead of sweet flavor.
    Superbite Happy Hour item of Grilled Shitake with miso porcini marshmallow and sauternes glaze
  • Beef Tongue Spam Musubi with cucumber and chinese hot mustard – I really liked the addition of the chinese hot mustard for a little extra heat on the usual musubi flavors made mini here.
    Superbite Happy Hour item of Beef Tongue Spam Musubi with cucumber and chinese hot mustard
  • Duck Croquet a L’Orange with crispy duck rillette and tangerine aioli is the biggest of the bites, you might be able to in theory share this one with a really close dining companion since it borders 3-4 small bites out of this “bite”.
    Superbite Happy Hour item of Duck Croquet a L'Orange with crispy duck rillette and tangerine aioli

The plates are significant enough to definitely be a filling entree, with the exception of the smaller side order of fries ($2), Little T Baker’s Baguette with irish butter and sea salt ($3), and the Nashville Hot Fried Cauliflower plate ($5) which are more snack size. I definitely recommend the Nashville Hot Fried Cauliflower plate with cucumber ranch, grandma agnes pickles because it is huge with flavor and nice heat – it will make anyone a cauliflower lover.
Superbite Happy Hour item of Nashville Hot Fried Cauliflower plate with cucumber ranch, grandma agnes pickles

But you do have the options of three main plates, including what I think is one of the new top 3 best burgers in Portland, the Superbite $10 happy hour double stack cheeseburger with grilled ground beef and mushrooms, cheddar and fontina cheeses on the two patties, and garnished with fancy sauce remiscent almost of a Big Mac, and also dill pickle, onion, and sesame seed bun. Now you know why there’s an additional dish for $3 of side of fries to make this a meal for $13.
Superbite Happy Hour item Double Stack Cheeseburger with grilled ground beef and shitake, cheddar and fontina cheeses on the two patties, fancy sauce, dill pickle, onion, sesame seed bun Superbite Happy Hour item Double Stack Cheeseburger with grilled ground beef and shitake, cheddar and fontina cheeses on the two patties, fancy sauce, dill pickle, onion, sesame seed bun

Of the two other dishes (both $15), the Pork Shoulder Confit plate with hazelnut chimichurri, grilled escarole, maitake, and potato puree seems more like a whole meal since it includes meat as well as vegetables and potato, but I was more in love with the flavors of the BBQ Beef Shortrib plate with baby gem lettuce salad with blue cheese and radish, even though I think you will want to add some bites or the Nashville cauliflower onto the plate.
Superbite Happy Hour item of Pork Shoulder Confit plate with hazelnut chimichurri, grilled escarole, maitake, and potato puree Superbite Happy Hour item of BBQ Beef Shortrib plate with baby gem lettuce salad with blue cheese and radish

Which of these items do you think you would order at Superbite Happy Hour? Where is your favorite place to get a cheeseburger, whether it be happy hour or not?
Superbite Happy Hour item Double Stack Cheeseburger with grilled ground beef and shitake, cheddar and fontina cheeses on the two patties, fancy sauce, dill pickle, onion, sesame seed bun

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Review of Kizuki Ramen and Izakaya

To me, winter = ramen season! Kizuki Ramen and Izakaya, formerly known here as Kukai (and still known as Kukai at other branches although this is the only branch in Oregon) brings authentic ramen as well as some izakaya dishes to enjoy in a family friendly restaurant setting in Beaverton. Located in a upscale strip mall area, there is plenty of parking nearby. They don’t take reservations – once your whole party arrives, you will be seated based on the order of your sign in. The location is pretty spacious and includes the traditional counter seating to quickly get your ramen on, or regular restaurant style tables.
Kizuki Ramen & Izakaya in Beaverton Kizuki Ramen & Izakaya in Beaverton Kizuki Ramen & Izakaya in Beaverton

Although the ramen comes out pretty quickly, their izakaya portion of their menu is worth taking a look at for some small dishes before you become full on noodles and soup. You’ll find 15+ izakaya options including Chilled Tofu (Soft tofu drizzled with a soy sauce dressing or a spicy dressing), Onigiri (Japanese rice balls), Takoyaki (Octopus Dumplings with aonori, okonomi sauce, mayo and bonito flakes), and Potato Croquette (deep-fried vegetable croquettes drizzled with tonkotsu sauce), and Chicken Karaage (deep-fried marinated chicken with spicy mayo).
Kizuki Ramen & Izakaya in Beaverton, izakaya dish of Chilled Tofu, Soft tofu drizzled with a soy sauce dressing or a spicy dressing Kizuki Ramen & Izakaya in Beaverton, Takoyaki Octopus Dumplings with aonori, okonomi sauce, mayo and bonito flakes Kizuki Ramen & Izakaya in Beaverton, Potato Croquette, deep-fried vegetable croquettes drizzled with tonkotsu sauce Kizuki Ramen & Izakaya in Beaverton, Potato Croquette, deep-fried vegetable croquettes drizzled with tonkotsu sauce

Kizuki Ramen & Izakaya offers 11 kinds of ramen, varying from the traditional Miso (using Hokkaido miso), Shoyu (flavored with soy sauce from Yamaguchi prefecture), and Shio (flavored with French sea salt or a version with both the French sea salt and yuzu, a Japanese citrus) and their signature Garlic Tonkotsu Shoyu Ramen with extra-rich shoyu-flavored pork broth with lots of garlic to Chicken Rich, Spicy, and even a Veggie Ramen with slightly spicy, all vegetarian shiitake mushroom and kelp stock flavored with miso and thickened with soy milk and ground sesame seeds.
Kizuki Ramen & Izakaya in Beaverton, Potato Croquette, deep-fried vegetable croquettes drizzled with tonkotsu sauce Kizuki Ramen & Izakaya in Beaverton, they offer 11 kinds of ramen, including a Veggie Ramen with slightly spicy, all vegetarian shiitake mushroom and kelp stock flavored with miso and thickened with soy milk and ground sesame seeds

They also have a dipping ramen (where the ramen does not come in broth and instead you dip it into a sauce) called Tsukemen Ramen, a type you don’t often see at most noodle places. I haven’t tried it yet though – it’s a great option when it’s too hot for broth. The only other place I know of in Portland that has this is Shigezo.

I definitely recommend the garlic tonkatsu, as well as the yuzu shio. Some bowls are offered in both traditional or low sodium versions, which is unique among ramen places. If you are vegetarian, this is one of the few places in Portland that offers a vegetarian option for you (and the only one in Beaverton that I know of the three places). Customize your bowl with more than a dozen additional toppings including being able to order additional broth or additional noodles. If you order additional noodles, you can choose the type of refills for your bowl from three types of noodles. My favorite are the wavy kind.
Kizuki Ramen & Izakaya in Beaverton, they offer 11 kinds of ramen, and more than a dozen additional toppings including being able to order additional broth or additional noodles

Noodle refills are common in Japan and I don’t often see the option to add more to your ramen bowl when the broth is awesome but you want more noodles for texture of just filling up on the deep broth. I find it tastes a little different from when I spend those first ideal 7 minutes or so slurping up the noodles when just added to the broth and it’s piping hot to my second helping when the soup has cooled a bit more and any toppings I’ve added have absorbed their flavors into the broth more. This also is a way to take it home for more enjoyment if you can’t finish the broth since the noodles will be separated (make sure you put them in different containers).

I think Kizuki Ramen and Izakaya is a great option for the many people I know out there who don’t live in Portland and complain that to get great food you have to drive into the city. So here’s something I highly recommend out there on the West Side for you that is as good and in some aspects better then the many ramen options in the city, and unlike some of the other ramen options in the area is one of the bigger locations to accommodate families and groups easily.

Have you heard of or been to Kizuki before? Where is your favorite ramen place in Portland – is it on PDX Eater Essential Ramen Map that I helped curate or did I miss something?

Kukai Ramen & Izakaya Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Imperial Session Beer Dinner Recap

Last year, I highlighted a new beer dinner pop up series called Imperial Session. Now here’s a look at my Imperial Session Beer Dinner Recap from that September 18 event. They offered both an omnivore and vegetarian version (vegetarian must have given prior notice so they can prepare accordingly) and each of the five courses was paired with a full pour of a beer.
Imperial Session Beer Dinner from September 2016, 5 courses with each course paired with a beer. 2 of the 5 beers are unavailable in Oregon, 2 are vintages which are no longer available, and 1 is a small batch brewery only release

What is unique about this beer pairing pop up are that Ryan and Spencer can choose whatever food style or beer they want for each course, since they are not representing any particular restaurant or brewery. For this dinner for instance, 2 of the 5 beers were unavailable in Oregon, 2 beers were vintages which are no longer available, and 1 was a small batch brewery only release.
Imperial Session Beer Dinner from September 2016, 5 courses with each course paired with a beer. Pop up proprietors Ryan and Spencer can choose whatever food style or beer they want for each course, since they are not representing any particular restaurant or brewery. Imperial Session Beer Dinner from September 2016, 5 courses with each course paired with a beer. Pop up proprietors Ryan and Spencer can choose whatever food style or beer they want for each course, since they are not representing any particular restaurant or brewery.

The next date for Imperial Session Beer Dinner 2.0 is for Sunday, February 12, 2017, located at the Makeshift Room at Shift Drinks from 7:30 PM – 10:00 PM. You can make your reservation via this EventBrite link now. The menu is listed in terms of food and beer, and this time there is a focus on the New England region as a beer theme  with six beers from Vermont, Massachusetts, and Maine. Stay updated on their Facebook event which also liststtheury food and beer plan of record. The $60 ticket price includes food, pairings, and gratuity.

Special thanks to F for the photos that I’m sharing here – I did not attend as I was still full from attending Feast and the Go Get You Some Picnic event I shared earlier, and I had an early work flight the next morning. However, F and I will both be attending this next one!

Course One

Grilled corn, Kewpie mayo, sesame cracklin, togarashi
Paired with Trillium Fort Point (a hopped American Pale Wheat Ale from Massachusetts)
Imperial Session Beer Dinner from September 2016, 5 courses with each course paired with a beer. Course 1 with Grilled corn, Kewpie mayo, sesame cracklin, togarashi paired with Trillium Fort Point (a hopped American Pale Wheat Ale from Massachusetts)

Course Two

Radish and turnip salad, caramel egg dressing, carbonated citruses
Paired with Breakside Carte Blanche (American Wild Ale with Brett, gin and hops)
Imperial Session Beer Dinner from September 2016, 5 courses with each course paired with a beer. Course 2 Radish and turnip salad, caramel egg dressing, carbonated citruses paired with Breakside Carte Blanche (American Wild Ale with Brett, gin and hops)

Course Three

Lamb pierogies (or with mushroom if you opt for vegetarian version as shown here), mint chimichurri sour cream, beet harissa
Paired with De Garde/Heater Allen Doppelbock (Eichenbock, an oak barrel-aged Doppelbock)
Imperial Session Beer Dinner from September 2016, 5 courses with each course paired with a beer. Cousre 3 Lamb or Mushroom pierogies, mint chimichurri sour cream, beet harissa paired with De Garde/Heater Allen Doppelbock (Eichenbock, an oak barrel-aged Doppelbock)

Course Four

Sai oua sausage, fingerling potatoes, charred green onions, mushroom demi-glace (minus the sausage for the vegetarian version)
Paired with Holy Mountain The Goat (Saison / Farmhouse style ale from Washington)
Imperial Session Beer Dinner from September 2016, 5 courses with each course paired with a beer. Course 3 Sai oua sausage, fingerling potatoes, charred green onions, mushroom demi-glace paired with Holy Mountain The Goat (Saison / Farmhouse style ale from Washington)
Imperial Session Beer Dinner from September 2016, 5 courses with each course paired with a beer. Course 3 Sai oua sausage, fingerling potatoes, charred green onions, mushroom demi-glace paired with Holy Mountain The Goat (Saison / Farmhouse style ale from Washington)

Course Five

Ancient Heritage Sheep’s Milk Cheese with Chocolate Ganache and Red Sorrel
Paired with Block 15 2015 Kriek (Kriek is a cherry sour /wild ale style)
Imperial Session Beer Dinner from September 2016, 5 courses with each course paired with a beer. Dessert course 5 of Ancient Heritage Sheep's Milk Cheese with Chocolate Ganache and Red Sorrel paired with Block 15 2015 Kriek (Kriek is a cherry sour /wild ale style)

What do you think of the beautiful food shown here, have you attended a beer pairing dinner before? What about the next theme of New England, if you could choose a theme for a beer pairing what would you like to see?

 

Pairings for the upcoming New England beer dinner:

  1. Course One: Washed Rind Cheese, Baguette, Honey with Allagash Coolship Resurgam
  2. Course Two: Shaved Brussels, Bearnaise, Lardo, Crostini with Von Trapp Helles
  3. Course Three: Squid Ink Tagliatelle, Chanterelle Conserva, Roasted Winter Squash with Hill Farmstead Dorothy
  4. Course Four: Duck Roulade, Curry Sauce, Pear Agrodolce with Trillium Oat Porter
  5. Course Five: Old Tom Frosting, Red Velvet Cake with Maine Beer Co Mean Old Tom
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