The Conquering of Portland’s Tanuki

http://Pictures of Tanuki - Restaurant Photos
(This photo of Tanuki is courtesy of TripAdvisor)

In my efforts to absorb (or rather ingest) what Portland had to offer in my most recent visit to Oregon, my also very-epi-curious sister suggested a second attempt (last effort squashed due to lack of accommodating our party of 5). We made it our “moral imperative” to go to Tanuki, a purposely dark and bare bones Japanese/Korean/Okinawan drinking bar/restaurant that serves authentic drinking food. Tanuki has little patience and a strict code, with their sandwich board stating: “NO SUSHI & NO KIDS”. Check and check. Not remotely deterred and still intrigued by their diverse menu and eager for their sake and the Omakase (chef tasting) experience. At Tanuki, you set the price of your Omakase ($15-$30), and the chef with surprise you with an array of items on the menu. This element of shock, curiosity, and maybe a bit of anxiety, just elevated the entire experience. The wine and sake list is nothing short of impressive, while Korean “slasher” movies graced the screens.

Now let me forewarn you: This was not a meal for the shy of palette or meek of mouth-feel. This was not a meal. This was an experience… no, a revelation. Each time we finished a dish, another one or two appeared. Not knowing when or what delicacy was coming our way just elevated the excitement to a whole new level. We explored a multitude of seafood offerings; from Netart oysters on the half shell and tasty mussels, to jellyfish cartilage (tastes like sesame seaweed salad, but chewier:). The interplay of bold, spicy flavors and delicate preparations kept my palette popping like a pinball machine. Just another excuse to continually reach for my luscious, unfiltered sake. Cinnamon tea-scented quail eggs took me back to the days of egg salad from my Korean grandmother that I never had. The Ojingoh (squid jerky) had a tangy, crunchy, chewy effect that was out of this world (better than candied bacon, yes I said better). One of the greatest “S”‘s I felt from Tanuki was surprise. I was surprised how available and vulnerable I allowed myself to be with every dish placed in front of me. I was also surprised how I left my analytical sensibilities and critical eye behind, and instead, embraced that bowl of Ume Suisho (salt plum pickled jellyfish) and really enjoyed every flavor and texture that came our way.

If you are ever in Portland, curious, or hungry/thirsty for something off the beaten path; Tanuki will not let you down.

<a href="http://Tanuki on Urbanspoon“>elliansflavorfiles @Tanuki -Portland,OR

About these ads

About Ellian

I have always been an adventurous and healthy eater. Always searching for new flavors and local gems in old San Diego is what puts a smile on my face. I love to cook and share the finished product with, anyone who cares! This blog is for sharing my finds and obsessions with everyone. People tend to ask me "where do you eat this" and" how do you make that". So I decided to chronicle my discoveries. My hope is that by reviewing some of our local eats and sharing some of my homemade creations in the kitchen; others will also be inspired to explore deeper into their communities, and their kitchens:)
This entry was posted in Restaurant Review and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s