Portland: Tanuki

Tanuki looks like a standard neighborhood Japanese restaurant. Do not be fooled. At this teeny-tiny izakaya, Janis Martin serves small plates of Japanese and Korean fare, meant to go with sake (two dozen well-chosen bottles) or beer (mostly Asian lagers). You won’t find this kind of Japanese soul food by way of the Pacific Northwest anywhere else, which is why Tanuki has been slowly building a Momofuku-like cult following. Martin, who learned to cook while living with a Japanese-American family in Cleveland and went on to work at Charlie Trotter’s, serves sake-steamed clams with kimchi sorbet. Her “breakfast sandwich” consists of a slice of sautéed lotus root topped with a longanisa sausage patty and a fried quail egg. She cooks every dish herself, on a hot plate, and charges absurdly low prices.

Tanuki 413 N.W. 21st Ave., Portland, OR (503-241-7667; tanukipdx.com)



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