Yoko's Japanese Restaurant
by Brier Chung
Off the beaten track in lower SE Portland is a small sushi restaurant called Yoko's. Named for the owner and main sushi chef (one of the very few women sushi chefs!), Yoko's is producing some really good sushi in Portland.
The quality of the fish can be tasted over many other sushi bars - in both the nigiri sushi and the maki (rolls). The sushi chefs (which on most nights includes Yoko herself!) are more than happy to answer questions for you. There is a nightly special sheet which I recommend ordering from. If you like Poke (pronounced Poke-ay - raw tuna in sesame oil and radish sprouts) then the Poke roll is a must! A variety of vegetarian and cooked sushi options are available here too, as are bento boxes, udon soup and other traditional Japanese dishes. There is also a good selection of mid-range sake to choose from.
Another thing I like about this place is that the nigiri and roll menu isn't huge. Yoko has picked certain things to make and makes them well. The overwhelming lists of 80+ items at some sushi restaurants become ridiculous and not much stands out as being special.
Now the hitch, they have a waiting list that you will encounter any time after 5pm (when they open) HOWEVER the list includes a place for your cell phone. Then you can meander next door to C-Bar and wait with a cocktail in hand. C-Bar has become much friendlier with a makeover earlier this year and there is a smoking room, so the place isn't totally filled with smoke as it was in years past. Or there's the Ship Ahoy Tavern across the street, if you want that great dive atmosphere (and I do mean "dive" in a good way!).
Item to note: There have been mixed reviews lately on the service but I have had only very good experiences in going here. I think if you keep a laid back attitude regarding the wait to get in, you'll be happy. A G&T at C-Bar first and all should be fine...
2878 SE Gladstone St
Portland, OR 97202
Open 5-9:30 daily
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