by Michael C. Zusman
Takibi is Japanese for bonfire. In its Northwest Portland iteration, it is also a cross-advertising maven’s fantasy come to fruition: a expensive Japanese-ish cafe that serves as a product sales platform for even pricier camping gear.
As initially conceived, Takibi was a joint work by “outdoor life-style creator” Snow Peak Usa and Joshua McFadden’s Submarine Hospitality, which oversees many, disparate Portland restaurant ideas. If this sounds like a system for dismal, dispassionate fare, that would be a solid conclusion. Thankfully, Submarine scuttled off someday soon after final spring’s opening, and although govt cooks have occur and gone, Takibi is now anchored by Cody Auger, whose deft touch with seafood is peerless in Portland, and Jim Meehan, an acclaimed mixologist.
Takibi occupies the east 50 percent of the larger sized, rectangular Snow Peak place experiencing Northwest 23rd Avenue. The retailer and cafe are joined by two brief hallways. Test wandering into the retailer a number of minutes in advance of your reservation time and look at out the $2,000 tent and $700 iron grill desk, among the an array of fireplace tchotchkes you didn’t know you necessary. Just take take note that a lot of merchandise ($45 bamboo-and-titanium collapsible chopsticks and $10 titanium sporks in rainbow shades) will show up on your table future doorway. Good.
City laggards can park their vehicles in a modest good deal off Flanders and wander straight into the restaurant. Oddly, the dominant aroma inside of is not foods, but fairly anything like the showroom of a Les Schwab tire shop. Perplexing, but you get utilized to it.
The dining area is very, all gussied up in blond wood and white upholstery. On a person facet is the open kitchen area and bar. The other conclusion characteristics booths that curve all-around the perimeter of the home. Be forewarned that the temperature on the dining place aspect hovers towards the bottom of the thermometer. Costume accordingly, or get the $200 flame-resistant Takibi blanket—yes, that’s truly the name—next doorway.
The menu is damaged into several sections. For greatest final results, focus on fish. Auger’s extended encounter sourcing and serving sashimi at Hokusei and then Nimblefish very a great deal ensures leading good quality. Delicate pink slices of trout ($17) and Hokkaido octopus ($18) divided into parts of slim-sliced suction cup and evenly cooked leg meat had been excellent.
Also on offer: tai ($19), referred to as sea bream or snapper, and saba, slices of remedied Norwegian mackerel ($9). Sashimi is served with a modest floor mound of floral, sharp Oregon wasabi root. Talking of mackerel, if you like this boldly flavored fish as a great deal as I do, saba shioyaki ($11), salt grilled and generously portioned, is as fantastic a benefit on this menu as you will get.
As you transfer absent from the water, Takibi will become a far more perilous proposition. Blended pickled veggies, tsukemono ($6), epitomizes the challenge. Of the 4 merchandise on the plate, two—soy-fixed daikon and pinkish-orange radish quarters with a sweet-tart cure—were a delight. Watermelon radish slices and carrot sticks, on the other hand, tasted as raw and uninteresting as a Safeway crudité tray.
Takibi has offered Japanese fried chicken, karaage ($11), because the outset. It is an izakaya normal. At its best, the chicken arrives blistering hot, extravagantly salted and spurting juice with every single bliss-inducing bite. Takibi’s get is from the reverse universe: tepid, timid and desiccated.
On one particular early pay a visit to, the braised pork belly termed kakuni ($17), served with smooth cooked egg and a sprinkle of numbing sansho pepper powder, was nearly completely unappetizing hunks of extra fat. Additional not long ago, unwanted fat and meat ended up in perfect equipoise, the spotlight of the non-seafaring sections of the menu.
An upward craze, most likely? Nope. A lamb chop ($17) on my ultimate visit was a different fatty-cut phobic’s nightmare. And a new menu addition of cured salmon roe atop a blini of kinds ($15) rimmed with a ribbon of liver mousse was even even worse. Soon after 1 bite, two of us shook our heads in unison, aghast at what tasted like fish egg shortcake. If I could untaste this someway, I would.
Meehan’s libations are also a combined bag. A person dining companion, a longtime market insider, swears by the leading-shelf bottles and steady creative imagination of the beverages menu. A 2nd specified drinker, also in the marketplace, was significantly less effusive about the rum-forward, citrus-heavy Shochu the Magic ($17), a riff on a Singapore sling. The captivating-sounding matsutake-washed cherry brandy in this drink was a dud, the piney mushroom indiscernible. On the limited non-alcohol slate, the Queen Back garden Swizzle ($19), anchored by Seedlip Back garden, tasted broadly botanical, but that was about it. Give me club soda and bitters for a quarter of the rate.
Wonderful dining places have a tendency to be fired by passion. Takibi emerged from a marketing plan. It may possibly have its higher points, but it’s challenging to walk away without the need of experience burned.
Try to eat: Takibi, 2275 NW Flanders St., 971-888-5713, takibipdx.com. 5-9 pm day-to-day.