Portlanders have long made the pilgrimage to deep Southeast for the quirky Takahashi tradition. Light, crunchy tempura and chunky hunks of sushi bring them here. So does the dark, funky atmosphere, the Japanese knickknacks, the toy train running endlessly around the restaurant and the casual people-watching—not to mention the 40-percent Wednesday Discount Nights, when many sushi and tempura selections come cheap. Completely unpredictable service and long waits may irritate the novice Takahashi diner, but they're just part of the experience. Price and portion size are the main draw for sushi, along with an extensive list of maki (rolls), which make use of everything from Tabasco to chicken tempura. As fish quality may be moderate, cooked items and sauces are appealing; a recent nigiri special of peppery seared salmon proved delicious. Don't pass up the mouthwatering à la carte tempura list, featuring inexpensive deep-fried goodies from kisu (whitefish) to lotus. (TLB)