1126 SW Alder St., chizubar.com. 3-10 pm Sunday-Wednesday, 3-11 pm Thursday-Saturday.
Chizu is famed Portland cheesemonger Steve Jones' effort to slow down. Themed on sushi and named for the Japanese word for cheese, Chizu places Jones in the role of master chef Jiro Ono, presiding humbly at the center of his tastefully appointed, burnished-wood elbow of a bar serving up cider, beer, sake and wine. You can order individually among 30 personally selected cheese varieties that change almost daily, but smart customers will just leave it to the expert by ordering omakase and choosing their price. For $20, we received five decadent cheeses—garnished appropriately with walnut, fig and Little T crostini—including our favorite, a Fourme Aux Moelleux bleu that was an explosion of light sweetness and heady penicillin funk, with Vouvray wine from the Loire injected into its middle. The cheeses weren't merely good—because face it, all cheese tastes pretty good—they all had immediate and recognizable character, like somebody in a Dickens novel.