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October 15th, 2008 12:00 am Matthew Korfhage | Food Reviews & Stories

Restaurant Guide 2008


Japanese restaurants in Portland generally live or die by the cuts of their nigiri, their sashimi, the sometimes goofy compilations wrapped up in their maki. And Meiji-En is no slouch in this category. Though the kitchen does make use of international pseudo-Jesus-freak Rev. Moon’s True World fish—as does just about every sushi restaurant in Portland save three—the fish is well selected and cut, and its Hawaiian maki (well-proportioned tuna, salmon, mango and avocado) is among the better-conceived rolls in town. Still, the real heart of Meiji-En’s menu is at its fringes. The poke salad with tuna, cucumber and daikon is marinated in a citrus sauce that doesn’t overpower the individual flavors. The mackerel, which elsewhere is usually overpowered by salt and skin, is cooked tender and subtle, with only a hint of pepper to bring out the flavor of a highly underregarded fish. The service can be sometimes affably inattentive, the chefs blank-eyed at questions asked in a language that isn’t theirs, but the true merits of the restaurant lie behind the sushi bar and in the kitchen.

IDEAL MEAL: Mussels, Hawaiian ooke, any given udon (gyoza in particular), Hawaiian maki roll and sashimi to satiety.

  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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