Sunday, February 13, 2011
Japanese If You Please
We paused at the dark mouth of the wormhole, a nearly invisible doorway in an anonymous strip mall off Canyon Road sandwiched between the blaring fluorescent signs advertising Accident Care chiropractic clinic and Country Korean Restaurant.
The Time Tunnel, with James Darren as handsome Dr. Tony Newman, head of Project Tic Toc, a secret government attempt to master time travel. In rushing to finish the machine, he gets trapped in time but somehow always manages to meet a sultry woman who helps him out of whatever jam he gets himself into. (Can you tell I was a big fan of the show?)
What I'm so very laboriously getting at (sorry) is a second too-long-delayed trip out to Yuzu, an under-the-radar, Japanese-on-the-cheap restaurant buried in the aforementioned strip mall. The Fred Meyer across the street and a TJ Maxx around the corner make it hard to imagine the authentic Japanese izakaya experience you'll find here. The chef's vision steers the menu and everything that comes out of the kitchen is prepared and plated with casual exquisiteness.
With a pitcher of Sapporo sitting on table, we started ordering a few of the small plates, which included a braised pork belly that was so crazily melt-in-your mouth delicious that we immediately requested another one. A plate scattered with thin, tender slices of beef tongue had everyone at the table moaning embarrassingly, and a wedge of smoky grilled salmon should have every Northwest fish leaping out of the water begging to get the treatment this one did.
Then came other plates, too many to mention (or remember)…crispy and flavorful fried rice balls, a trio of tsukemono pickles that were oh-so-reminiscent of the homemade salty, briny delights I had in Fukuoka, then a fish egg and seaweed dish that sent the whole evening over the top.
I'm telling you, if you're looking for the real deal and don't mind heading out Beaverton way…closer than Hillsboro by a long stretch…then you seriously need to give this place a try. Short of finding a wormhole, it's the fastest ticket to Japan you'll find this side of PDX.
Details: Yuzu, 4130 SW 117th Ave., Beaverton. Phone 503-350-1801.