February 2007

Acadia LogoAfter the fiasco that constituted Meiji-En, I was more than a bit nervous to get Restaurant Roulette back on the right track. My only blessing from Meiji-En was the fact that the majority of people who had attended that protracted, impacted, and not at all compacted ordeal had been regulars, people who know that the dinners usually didn’t go THAT badly. Acadia was to be a new beast, however, nine newcomers were on the roster, and if nine new people were to be given a bad impression first go round, it would surely lead me back to the world of advertising for people to eat dinner with yet again. Over the two weeks after the RSVP went out, the list of RSVPees dwindled from the original 18 to the 13 that eventually showed up at Acadia, seven of these being new faces. So thanks to newcomers Julia, Erica, Larry, David, Bev., Pat and Regis for joining us in this evening of New Orleans style eating and conversational adventure.

I made the reservations at Acadia quite a bit in advance this time, as it was Mardi Gras, and Valentine’s week, and lots of newcomers had said they wanted to come. With the original 18 people committed, I knew two tables would be necessary, and I made two separate reservations. Since this was going to make things very difficult with so many new faces, I commissioned famous blog-mistress and all around good person Marnie to be my second table hostess and to write a review from the alternate table. Luckily, when “only” 13 people ended up showing at Acadia, we managed to squeeze into one table taking up an entire wall. Fortunately I still had Marnie to “man” the South end of the table and write her review, since from my vantage point I had no idea what was going on down there, except for much laughter and oyster gulping.

Here’s Marnie’s review, from her Acadia South viewpoint. Below that, you will find my impressions of what was going on, and being ordered, at the North end of Acadia. Dig In. (more…)

Over the months in which Restaurant Roulette has existed, at almost every dinner people have asked me, when’s sushi night? I always said that it was on the agenda, but as I wanted to find just the right venue, I had not scheduled sushi yet. For months I was mulling over the possibilities. My favorite place, Yoko’s Sushi, was too small for any group larger than four (and sometimes that’s a stretch.) Takahashi on Holgate was always decent, but too felony flats. Other places I like such as Mio Sushi and Hama Sushi are just too simple and don’t do reservations. Todai, too expensive, touristy, and generally thought of as lacking in quality fish. Restaurant Murata, Masu, and Sinju, all places known for their wonderful decor and high quality sushi, but at $12 – $18 per roll, out of my humble league (at least with my appetite.)

After a co-worker mentioned a favorable review in Willamette Week, and I did a bit of web research, I selected Meiji-En on NE Broadway, as it had excellent ratings for its fish selection, a decent sized space, took reservations and had no qualms about large groups, and was said to have pleasant decor and seemingly private tatami rooms. I tried to be the best hostess possible and warned everyone to adjust their footwear accordingly as toes would be on display. So I happily made our reservation for nine people, a number multitudinous enough to provide conversational fun and variety for all, but not so unwieldy that people could be lost in the pit under the table and I wouldn’t even notice their absence.