Sushi Chef WW Called the Finest in Portland Will Open New Restaurant in Southeast Portland

Nimblefish will serve casual, affordable sushi five nights a week—and more exotic omakase Sunday and Monday.

Chef Cody Auger of Fukami—the omakase-style sushi we’ve called the finest in town—has signed a lease to open a new sushi restaurant called Nimblefish in the former Boxer Sushi location on Southeast 20th Avenue and Hawthorne Boulevard.

His partners at Nimblefish will be Davenport co-owner and wine guy Kurt Heilemann, and former Masu Sushi chef Dwight Rosendahl. Both have also worked with Auger at Fukami, known for pulling in a lot of rare fish from Japanese markets.

"We're basically going open up a nigiri and hand-roll concept," says Auger of Nimblefish, "something a little more on the level of what the majority of Portland wants and can afford. But at the same time, we'lll be happy with what we're making."

This doesn't mean that Fukami is going away, however. The more affordable a la carte sushi will be served Wednesday to Saturday, while the Fukami prix-fixe nights are planned for Sunday and Monday, as long as demand continues.

"We're anti-omakase for Nimblefish," says Auger. "But we'll still source some of the cool stuff from Japan."

Auger says he expects the prices to be similar to Bamboo Sushi, but that one of the main things that will differentiate Nimblefish from many sushiyas around town is that they'll be using very traditional Edomae-style sushi technique, and that they'll do their own processing—which allows them to avoid frozen fish.

"We'll bring stuff in fresh, not frozen, and do our own processing," says Auger. "If you go eat sushi and you can tell it's been frozen in it means they definitely aren't doing their own processing. We're gonna do Edomae technique—everything mildly cured and developed for flavor, not a cut-and-make sushi place like a lot of them."

Fukami will continue its Sunday-Monday pop-ups at East Burnside spot Davenport until the news space opens. Auger says the trio hope to open Nimblefish before November.

Willamette Week’s reporting has concrete impacts that change laws, force action from civic leaders, and drive compromised politicians from public office. Support WW's journalism today.