THE DINING REPORT – BAMBOO SUSHI NW
Eat Raw Fish, Restore An Ocean

True to form, if I put Japanese and Sushi on the roster, my turnout tends to be smallish. I thought it might help the situation if I selected a sushi joint that is Portland’s most talked sushi outpost, but it turns out a few of my regulars don’t care for the place.IMG_3164 Anyway, I was glad I managed six for my recent dinner at Bamboo Sushi, but Restaurant’s Roulette’s Sushi Curse continues (Sushi #1, a disaster, slow service, rice shortage, not enough food to go around; Sushi #2, canceled due to lack of interest; Sushi #3, a moderate success, but smaller crowd than usual; Sushi #4, good restaurant, only moderate interest.) Anyway, I guess if I ever want a big turnout for a sushi dinner I need to have it at that kooky, overflowing little place in Sellwood where you get gigantic, modest quality rolls. Yoko’s is still my favorite, but it’s hardly the place for a group dinner.

Portland may not be a trendy sushi mecca like LA, but we do have Bamboo Sushi, the only sustainable sushi restaurant in the United States, if not the world (Marine Stewardship Council Certified.)IMG_3158 Bamboo Sushi serves only items that can be harvested from species with healthy populations or farmed in an environmentally conscious way. In the beginning, the space that houses Bamboo on NE 28th (next to Ken’s) was an Eastside outpost of another sushi place, and I had lunch there once, and it was really fancy. Then Kristofor Lofgren, who I believe was associated with Masu East (the aforementioned restaurant) decided he would take over the spot himself, and go in another direction, a much harder direction. In fancy sushi cities, they ofter gravitate toward certain species of fish that are trendy and unusual to eat, not caring what their harvesting is doing to the species themselves or the oceans that support them. Mr. Lofgren, on the other hand, ┬ádecided he would open a sushi restaurant based on his own sensibilities, those being that you have respect for the sea and don’t market seafood that is over harvested or environmentally damaging to harvest. Although he wanted to open a popular restaurant, he insisted on putting the ocean before the eater, knowing there are plenty of abundant, fresh, tasty fish out there that you can create magnificent seafood meals from. Many people believed that Bamboo Sushi wouldn’t be able to make much of a go of it, but over the last 3-4 years it’s been packed, so much of a success that they decided to open a second location recently in NW Portland.
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