Friday, August 26, 2011

It's All About Sustainable Sushi

In keeping with Portland's "green" culture, there is Bamboo Sushi, which is proud to be a "Certified Green Restaurant" as well as the first Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified sushi restaurant in the world. The MSC, which is the world's leading independent third-party certification and eco-labeling program for sustainable seafood, has developed standards for fishing that are the global standard.

Quite possibly, Bamboo Sushi could be the most sustainable sushi restaurant in the country. And this doesn't deviate from the Zeitgeist. It's a highly publicized fact that bluefin tuna is being overfished, putting the species in jeopardy; the demand for hon maguro hasn't slackened, either.

Bamboo Sushi is doing what it can to help the oceans by properly harvesting its seafood. In addition, the restaurant plans to take a percentage of each dollar spent there to work with conservancy groups, with the idea of protecting areas where fish breed. Patrons also have the option to donate after they dine.

As environmentally conscious as this restaurant seems to be, I wasn't at all surprised that even their chopsticks are made of sustainably harvested teak wood.

Of the five items I ordered, the tasty Tasmanian Ocean Trout sushi, recommended by the chef, was my favorite. Perfect in its simplicity, it didn't need any enhancements–it was served bare and natural, sans toppings or lemon juice. Where I expected flavors to burst, as in the Truffled Avocado sushi (sprinkled with French black truffle salt), there was a bit of a let-down; the truffle salt did not taste very truffle-like at all in my opinion, and the Ring of Fire roll–with its fried oysters, yamagobo, albacore and jalapenos inside and yuzu juice and jalapeno marmalade on top, plus a crown of fried shallots–was good, but a bit blander than expected. For $13, this roll may have been compliant with carbon-footprint-lowering food industry standards, but it was not congruous with a palate as customized to strong flavors as mine.

For a refreshing sashimi plate, try the MSC Albacore Carpaccio, also $13. Chopped, house-smoked cippolini onion, pickled shiitake mushrooms, momiji, chervil, and Japanese sea salt adorn and flavor these raw, pink slices of fish.

Bamboo Sushi
310 SE 28th Ave., Portland, OR

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