Portland >Restaurants >
5411 NE 30th Ave, portland, OR | Directions 9721145.562301 -122.634997
Neighborhoods: Concordia, Northeast Coalition of Neighborhoods
This sleek little spot sports one sexy beast of a dining room, and an oasis-like hidden patio to match. Fantastic cocktails, sushi and Japanese small plates, plus a burger of legend. If you like it so much you want to stay a long while, ask about the availability of their Kuza Cabin--an exquisite little studio tucked away in the sensuous garden, just to the right of the stone soaking tub.
A Beast of a Night Turned Wonderful – Our visit to Yakuza was quite seredipitous. We had made reservations for the second seating at Beast next door and were told we could wait at Yakuza until called for dinner. Our first entry into Beast was at best bad so when we entered the light and casual atmosphere of Yakuza our spirits rose and we decided to cancel Beast and dine at Yakuza. The gracious host sat us at a quiet table on the patio and the friendly waitress brought the menus, took our drink orders and suggested several items for our meal.
The simple one page menu belies the depth of flavors, textures and gastronomic subtilties that lie in the food. The first taste of almost evey dish brought out the "Oh my God this is Sooo good!" statement as we relished each new presentation. Since this was our first visit we relied primarlily on recommendations from the waitress with a few selections of our own. We ordered in stages to allow a better appreciation of the full range of dishes which included the Zucchini squash carpaccio, Kobe beef tartar (yum-yum), Hawaiian amberjack sashimi, Dungeness crab maki, Minced Hawaiian yellowtail maki and apple and avocado and sweet pepper maki.
Our only disappointment was that they had sold out of all of the desserts due to our late arrival. Beast had done us in a second time but no matter, we now have another new dish to look forward to on our next visit.
The beverage list was a bit low on wine but had a good selection of Sake, beer and ale. The staff was friendly, helpful, knowledgeable about the food and just plain nice. What started as a terrbile evening ended up wonderful. We look forward to our next visit.
Not even the food was worth it. Never coming back. – I came here for my birthday dinner because I had heard fabulous reviews about the food. And for the most part, the food was pretty fabulous. I don't know if I would go as far as to call this the best burger in Portland, but it definitely ranks up there. And the beef tartare (or, really, the "crispy poached egg") that came with it was quite nearly spiritual, as was the scallop appetizer.
But then, there were some misses, like both maki we ordered (Dungeness crab and hamachi), which were bland, unspired, and far below the standard set by the, well, less Japanese dishes on the menu.
And the service was HORRENDOUS. And I'd like to make the disclaimer that I will usually forgive any degree of terrible service if the food is good enough. And the food here was nearly good enough--but the service was slow enough to ruin the meal. We sat for about 20 minutes before our waiter asked us for our orders, and it was another hour before our first dish arrived--and at least another 20 minutes before the next two. The food came in sporadic bursts, with unforgivable waits in between. And it wasn't just that they hated us--I often noticed times where hardly anyone in the restaurant had food.
I blame the kitchen. They seemed understaffed, for one, and the two-then-three chefs seemed to only be able to work on one or two (SMALL!) dishes at a time. We spent at least two and a half hours here and probably only half an hour of that time actually eating. By the end of the night our waiter was apologizing profusely.
In short, I am never coming back here. If you only order one or two dishes--and I would make it the burger and the scallops, probably--then you might be OK. And this might have been a bad night. But it was enough to keep me away from Yakuza forever.
Amusingly, though, Naomi Pomeroy of next-door Beast kept wandering through the kitchen, either to gather herbs or to watch the degenerating spectacle, I couldn't tell...
Mind-bogglingly good sushi in awesome location – The ONLY reason Yakuza gets less than 5 perfect stars is due to the occasionally pokey service. Otherwise, both the sushi and (especially!!!!) the sashimi are second to none. Carefully prepared and imaginative rolls, and delicate, luscious sashimi, make this THE go-to place in Portland. Highly, highly recommended.
no apology – Food = excellent! Probably the best sushi I've had in Portland. Servers = pretty good, seemed friendly enough, fairly prompt. Why the one star then? They made a big mistake on my bill that showed up a couple of months later. They did refund me my money, but were very blase about it. If they just would have included a note of apology with the refund check I think I would have been fine. But the fact that they didn't feel the need to apologize just shows me that my business isn't important to them. If you go, my suggestion would be to pay cash!
First I would like to thank you for your interest in Yakuza Lounge. Your business is very appreciated. My name is Ralph and I've been the Manager at Yakuza Lounge for the past year. During that time we have gone through several changes and grown much as a restaurant. I apologize for the mistake on your bill. Until now I wasn't aware of it or a refund check being cut. We are always striving for new ways of improving our customers experiences at Yakuza and appreciate your feedback. I hope you do visit us again. We also welcome any suggestions and/or feedback at email@example.com
Unique and Sumptuous! – The reviews which Yakuza received during the summer of 2008 do not do justice to the dining experience it offers now. I ate at Yakuza with Portland friends on October 12, 2008 while visiting from the East Coast. The experience was sublime! We ate slowly, took our time and enjoyed conversation while sampling nine or ten dishes. Four or five of them were among the best Asian/sushi/fusion dishes I have ever had. Don't go here for traditional sushi but do go for inventive Japanese fare. Each menu item was distinct in flavor from the next and each melted in our mouths. The Kobe beef strips with raisins and fresh figs were incredible. The salmon carpaccio was a subtle explosion of different tastes. The tempura fried chevre with caramelized onions was rich and flavorful. There was a squash dish which I could have eaten all night. We consumed the scallops in a citrus infused sauce/soup right to the very last drop. The cucumber and avocado with sesame seeds was a perfect traditional foil of taste to balance against more exotic menu items. The blends of fruits, ginger, other spices and fresh bits of greens were imaginative and perfectly blended to temp the taste buds. The service was prompt and our waiter was able explain all the ingredients of each dish with enthusiasm. I would readily return to Yakuza on another trip to Portland!
Third time was NOT a charm... – The first time I went to Yakuza, I had an amazing aesthetic dining experience. The ambiance was stunning, the service fantastic and friendly, drinks were spectacular and the scallop tempura and pear avocado roll were simply to die for. My next visit was as equally splendid. Spider roll to die for and the honey basil drink was awesome.
However, last night I brought a group of about 12 people to Yakuza, thinking this amazing restaurant would be an ideal place to celebrate my birthday, but I was thoroughly mistaken. The service was horrendously slow-a brand new server was throw into our group and had no idea about the food, drinks, or really how to wait tables at all. She was obviously flustered, but our sympathy and understanding only went so far. The other staff member started getting incredibly testy with us as well. It took us over 45 minutes to get our food and when we got it, it was NOTHING like the food I had experienced before. The spider roll in particular was simply horrendous and nearly inedible. The food simply tasted old and gross. After dinner, one by one, all 12 of us started complaining of stomach pain, which then lasted well into the next morning. It then took an hour to cash out, which was not pleasant considering all of us were suffering from severe sour stomachs.
I have no idea what went wrong this last time, but luckily this was the last time I will be visiting Yakuza. It such a shame...this place was so AMAZING the first few times. The only thing that was constant were their drinks. They were still fabulous, however they were not able to make up for the horrific service and sickening food.
Now there's something I've never seen......... – Got rid of amazing sushi chef. Bartender clad in a grey t-shirt and ratty jeans. We sent back two undrinkable Cosmopolitans (pretty hard to mess up), and guess what? The bartender proceeded to taste, yes, with his mouth on our glass, BOTH drinks. You decide.
Best food ever! – Don't go here if you just want to get some sushi rolls- they cut rice from the menu, so more nigiri or rolls. That said, this place offers up some great dishes! Smaller plates, but not tapas small. My wife and i split 5 plates (3 appetizers and 2 small plates), had one specialty cocktail each and split a 22oz. Sapporo. All for about $68 and we were stuffed! Every plate was AMAZING! It was extremely hard to pick a favorite dish, but the grilled asparagus in orange pistachio pesto with manchego might be the winner.. Maybe a tie with the "fish and chips"- raw salmon, yellowtail, and tuna piled onto crsipy lotus root...mmmmmmm.... It wasn't very busy when we went (on a friday around 9ish), so we didn't encounter any of the "bad service" some of the other reviews mentioned. In fact, our waitress was super nice. This place rules.
Underwelming – I'm a huge fan of sushi and this was some of the blandest I've ever had! The service was speedy, the decor was crisp and modern, but the sashimi had absolutely no flavor. The dishes were way too expensive for the size and taste. I would recommend sinju in the pearl for melt in your mouth sushi or even a conveyer belt over this.
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