Portland >Food & Dining > Tanuki
413 NW 21st Ave, Portland, OR | Directions 9720945.525842 -122.694497
Neighborhoods: Northwest District, Neighbors West - Northwest
Empty tables = no space?? – I was really excited when I walked in; afterall, their edgy: "no kids, no dogs" sign really piqued my interest and the weird zombie movie playing on the screen was a definite curiosity. Once the novelty of the tiny restaurant and it's sparse decor faded however, I was faced with a really strung out waitress who insisted that: despite having no other customers she simply couldn't seat a table larger than 6.
I explained that my friends were very laid back and we wouldn't mind being separated, we'd put some at the bar and some at a nearby table. She agreed, until they all arrived, at which point she and the owner simply panicked at the idea of making any more money and refused to let two members of our party sit down at a nearby vacant table (we already had 5 at the bar).
The food was good, and the happy hour prices were fine, but it was nothing really special. Except for the novelty of it being "Japanese", it is the equivalent of charging money for a bowl of peanuts or other side dishes that generally come with your entrée.
As a side note there is very little choice for vegans and vegetarians.
We decided to go up the street to Blue Moon, who was happy to take our money and sit us all together, despite being quite busy.
I would consider going back, but probably not very seriously.
HORRIBLE CUSTOMER SERVICE- but amazing food – HORRIBLE CUSTOMER SERVICE- and amazing food...choice is yours.
We have been to Tanuki twice- not sure if we will be back. Their food is AMAZING and great value- having said that...their customer service is A W F U L! They wont let you sit unless the entire party is there. I understand why they would protect their precious little seating but they should offer to take reservations then. They also wont let you stand by the door- you have to sit by the window- even if you say the chairs hurt your back. They also- wont split checks- I dont understand how much harder it is to run 2 credit cards as opposed to one for each table. I just think in this economy establishments should be more friendly towards customers.
So again a mix bag. If they were more friendly and customer service focused I would tell everyone I know to come to Tanuki- I guess they feel their food is good enough they can (in my opinion) be very rude and unaccomodating to their customers.
It's not for everybody but it's everything for me – Tanuki is my standby when I start twitching to get out of house, away from the kids (and/or wife to be honest) and have a few beers and some spicy food with my friends or by myself. It's a tiny oasis of Japanese punk, crazy murder shows and intensely flavored food. It's definitely not for anybody looking for a quiet romantic dinner or an introspective evening of sipping tea while you read a novel. I took a book there once but found the environment too interesting to try to concentrate on the pages. It's an interactive experience and the servers are quick to give sake or food tips or just shoot the $hit. There's even a big picture window to sit at and watch all the weirdness of Portland parade by. Love it.
A new favorite – I went here after reading the editor review and thought it was worth a try. I went during happy hour to try out the duck hearts (which were pretty good) and was impressed with how cheap the food was espescially when compared to the quality. I don't think I ordered anything that was over $5 (some items were even a $1). The drinks were unique and refreshing and the service matched the quality of the food. Their Sake selection was pretty expansive as well. It reminded me of what I saw when I lived in Japan ( I lived in Yokohama for 4 years, these places were everywhere).
If you're looking for a good place for happy hour or just a place to sober up after the Gypsy (which is right down the road), this is the place.
Northwest eatery shares small plates--Japanese-style. – A small, L-shaped back bar and stretch of stools up front frame the shoebox-sized dining room at this casual, Japanese pub style restaurant. A mix of adventurous, twenty-somethings and in-the-know gourmands wait patiently for a table in the sparse, red-walled restaurant where chef-owner Janis Martin serves a daily menu of dishes to pair with sake and beer. Evening's here encompass a blur of new flavors from natto (fermented soybean served over rice) to pickled plum stuffed riceballs and fresh bay scallops in a spicy Japanese citrus broth.
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