Thursday, December 27, 2007

Saburo's, my friend, I'm sorry to tell you this

O.K., so I've been a Saburo's fan for years. I admit I have a loyalty thing, it lends prejudice in my decision making. I haven't ventured around much in the Portland Sushi scene since I discovered Saburo's. I loved the portion sizing, and even the notoriously grumpy waitress. It struck me as a New York experience, wait in line, get seated by a more-than-offputting server, and order ONE ORDER of sushi ONLY.

I can say, I never had a bad piece of fish there. Other folks have said the quality varied, but I personally never had that experience.

On the other hand, the quality and attention to detail and flavor of the sushi last night at Bara Sushi House beat the hell out of any sushi I've had yet in Portland. The company didn't hurt, Desta and her crew were great fun. It was Desta and The Wife's their first meeting, and it went very well, they enjoyed each other's company.

But the sushi was superb. The portions were traditionally sized, not Saburo's size (which, sadly, makes me realize how much of that grand size is made up of rice at times -- not always, but sometimes), and it's not a cheap meal. We spent about $30 a piece, and were being conservative. But it was worth it, every cent.

My favorite sushi are Hamachi and Unagi. I use them to judge sushi restaurants -- like I use Chili Rellenos to judge Mexican restaurants, or Pad Thai and Red Curry for Thai. The Hamachi last night was absolutely superb -- I've never had better. It was ultra fresh, buttery, just fantastic. I hear from some folks at the table that the way it's cut has a huge effect on how good it tastes. Bara cuts it right, apparently. The Unagi, barbecued fresh-water eel, was also just fantastic. It was barbecued til the fish was just slightly crisp on the edges, and not totally drowned in sauce. Really, really good.

The only criticism I can level from last night is that The Wife got a couple bones in her Unagi for some reason. She was bummed by the bones but not by the Unagi itself. She agrees that the flavor was not to be beat.

I will still go to Saburo's -- especially if I'm having that bizarre craving to "fill up" on sushi. Those two cravings shouldn't really go together in a sane world, but they occasionally do for me. But for a special night out, or a celebratory dinner, I'm hitting Bara's again. For now, in my experience (which isn't exhaustive), it's the best sushi in Portland hands down.

Enjoy your long-winded, early-morning, restaurant posts,



Tate said...

so i know that die hard sushi people will cringe at this, but if i wanted to take someone there, do they have non sushi for me to eat???? I am sorry but i do not like fish or most kinds of sea food....... but my partner loves the crap, so it sounds like a nice place to go out

Bpaul said...

Yep they have tempura and soups and all sorts of cooked thingies, you'll be fine Tate.

The Wife read this comment over my shoulder, and said "I can so hear him saying that CRAP hehehe"

I have to admit I was waiting for some anti-sushi sentiment coming from your direction sir LOL.

Tate said...

oh no anti sushi... i mean if you want to shovel nasty ass raw or semi cooked squishy things that swim in the ocean or rivers into your mouth that is your choice...... i actually ate raw tuna in hawaii and it was ok. but not something i will go looking for.

so all sorts of cooked thingies does that mean regular meat with out seaweed near it????

Bpaul said...


CtheG said...

oh my.....I am just so...I need to sit down.
ok, I'm getting used to the fact that BP thinks there is a better sushi place then
I'm so there next time I visit....which might be sooner then you think!

Bpaul said...

Do it, visit, I dare ya!

Bpaul said...

The Princess and the Pea bed is waiting for you, you know you want to stay here...