Southeast Portland’s Bamboo Sushi, the first Marine Stewardship Council-certified independent sushi restaurant in the United States, is tackling the question of whether sushi can still wow and delight using seasonal and sustainable ingredients. The answer is a resounding yes. There’s no unagi, bluefin toro or octopus here, since Bamboo only serves items that can be either safely harvested from species with healthy populations or farmed in a manner that doesn’t harm the surrounding environment, but it doesn’t seem like much of a sacrifice. The MSC-certified albacore tuna nigiri is as buttery-funky as any piece of tuna belly could wish to be, and while the sea-eel roll may lack the sticky-sweetness of kabayaki (sauce-laden unagi, or freshwater eel), the briny subtlety of the anago (saltwater eel) paired with cucumbers is a refreshing change. Mixed seafood and vegetable tempura is hot, airy and nearly greaseless, the tempura batter enhancing rather than obscuring the ingredients. The MSC-certified black cod is glazed with roasted garlic and cooked with smoked soy. It’s ridiculously good. Who knew responsibility could be so tasty?
Order this: The black cod. Dear lord, the black cod.
Best deal: The organic mixed greens with champagne miso-mustard vinaigrette, poached egg and goat cheese ($10) could stand alone as an entree.
I’ll pass: Switch out the firm tofu in the agedashi for softer stuff and we’ll talk.