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Mirakutei: Restaurant Guide 2014

536 E Burnside St., 467-7501, mirakuteipdx.com.

[MASTER CLASS] Chef Hiro Ikegaya is still Portland's grandmaster of raw-fish artistry, turning out impeccable nigiri, sashimi and rolls at this spartan sushi bar on East Burnside. After years making sushi in the Pearl, here Hiro's sushi menu has expanded to include ramen and a host of fried treats, and even gyoza is elevated to the sublime. The pot stickers of minced pork and beef are steamed to make the meat tender and fluffy, then pan-sauteed until brown on one side, creating a tastier and more delicate gyoza. Another stunner is the soft-shell crab salad—thin crab fritters with steamed beets, papaya, mango and arugula, drizzled with Champagne vinaigrette and skirted by coriander sweet chili sauce. Up next were several pieces of fresh, high-quality nigiri: salmon belly, albacore belly, yellowtail and sweet shrimp (ask them to deep-fry the unused shrimp head for a crunchy treat). A special of black sea bream was seared, then pressed with kelp and sake to bring out the best in the delicate whitefish. Mirakutei serves five different ramens; we chose the white-broth tonkotsu with char sui pork, sauteed onion, bok choy, three different mushrooms and topped with a boiled egg. The broth was full of flavor. A light dessert of lychee nut sorbet with mint leaf and fresh berries was served with charming, elongated metal spoons with painted porcelain handles—the perfect touch, literally, to end a fine meal. ROB FERNAS.

Pro tip:

If you want to eat like a king, call a day in advance, set a price for omakase and let Hiro do his thing. If you want to drink well, order the Fukucho "Moon on the Water" junmai ginjo, one of the few sakes in Japan brewed by a woman.

11:30 am-10:30 pm daily. $$-$$$.