Friday, August 26, 2011

Yuki Restaurant: Go for the Oysters

The city of Portland, Oregon lives up to all its stereotypes–being environmentally friendly, being weird, and having good reason to be called Porkland as a reference to some of its over-bingeing residents. It's a bicycle-friendly town, which means it doesn't cater to cars, and therefore parking is a challenge, not to mention the inconvenience brought on by all the one-way streets. The fact that there is no sales tax in Portland is a singular perk.

I was chagrined at most of the food in this tree-lined town due to the blandness of flavors, but perhaps Pacific Northwesterners are overwhelmed by the pungent and the piquant. Some of the oysters I had in this city, however, were truly remarkable.

For Japanese-style oysters, look no further than Yuki Restaurant. Shigoku oysters, famous for their deep-cupped shells and firm insides, are sweet and refreshing here, especially because they are served with green onions, spicy grated radish and a mixture of ponzu sauce and rice vinegar. Meaning "ultimate" in Japanese, Shigoku is a Pacific oyster that hails from Willapa Bay, Washington.

Yuki's oysters may vary depending on the day. Sometimes, good ol' Kumamoto oysters are available. Kumamoto oysters, which originated in Kumamoto Bay of Kyushu, Japan, have a slippery consistency and are notably less sweet than the Shigoku. The Kumamoto oysters are about the same size as the Shigokus, and at Yuki's, they are served with the same toppings.

Another special at Yuki's is the Columbia River King Salmon sushi, although it doesn't taste as exotic as it sounds. The Ichiban Roll–with its hodgepodge of thrown-together ingredients like sun-dried tomato, shiso leaf, fried shallots, spicy tuna and cream cheese–has far more flavor.

From the colorful Makimono menu, which shows the price, description and a photo of each roll, one may also choose the $9.50 Sumo Roll, which is excellent with its pickled jalapeno, snow crab, seared salmon, and wasabi-flavored tobiko and wasabi mayonnaise.

Yuki Restaurant
930 NW 23rd Ave., Portland, OR

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