It’s only appropriate that a spot housed in a former library would have menu this encyclopedic. There may be as many as 75 small dishes, covering everything from sushi to stir-fried pork and steamed clams in sake. Take your time and ask the servers—they’re happy to make recommendations, as well as help you pair a round of dishes with a flight of three sakes.
The draw here is variety—there are 10 types of ramen to choose from with soy sauce, miso, or salt broth. The most popular comes with barbecued pork, bean sprouts, green onions, corn, seaweed, and egg. For a heartier meal, try the ramen combo, which pairs a bowl with gyoza potstickers or curry with rice.
BaRa Sushi House keeps the focus on the fish. Its precisely, appealingly arranged sushi and appetizers lean heavily on seafood imported from Tokyo's famous Tsukiji fish market every week. BaRa's chefs greet each day with its very own special plate, constantly editing the menu in the hopes of finally crafting that perfect tiny replica of Michelangelo's David from yellowfin tuna. Sake is always flowing inside the snug, vintage house-turned-diner thanks to Marcus Pakiser, sake sommelier. Guests may dine on the outdoor patio when the weather permits, or host a party for up to 9 in the private tatami room.
At Wild Wasabe, meals are nearly as much about presentation as they are about flavor. The sushi chefs deftly wrap fresh fish and spicy sauces into rolls, then plate them, into edible artworks resembling dragons, sunbursts, or American Gothic. The kitchen also heats up hot soups and entrees, and pours out premium sake, wine, and Japanese beers to complement meals. Diners sip while watching the sushi experts sculpt their appetizing works, or glance at the large flat screen television to fill their eyes as well as their stomachs.
The menu at Ukiyoe reflects 30 years of owner Jin Park refining his approach to Japanese cooking. A selection of more than 50 different sushi rolls daunts indecisive appetites and delights craftsmen looking to put wheels on an edible model car. In addition to Japanese staples such as teriyaki and tempura, the eatery serves maki sushi rolled with calamari, vegetables, and fresh salmon.
Hana’s culinary engineers compose a menu of traditional Japanese fare buoyed by 36 creative specialty rolls, delicate sashimi, noodle and teriyaki plates, and a library of sake libations. The Mt. Hood roll pays homage to its towering namesake with a mound of tempura shrimp and crab salad cascaded with spicy salmon and eel sauce ($9), and the Salmon Generation roll reveres the generation that swims upstream, yet later in life returns to where they were born toting dirty laundry and bulky band equipment ($9). A hot dish of beef teriyaki sates red-meat appetites ($11.50), and yakisoba swirls slippery noodles with chicken or veggies onto plates ($7.50). With a collection of five sake classes, each boasting several vintages that vary in taste and finish, a premium sake flight grants sips with which to hydrate a parched craw ($18).