Chef Thu Ha Dinh and her eclectic team at fuAsian merge flavors from a variety of Asian cuisines. Whether they're helming a cooking class or whipping up well-crafted meals for diners or catered events, the chefs use handpicked natural ingredients, creating dishes that ooze earth-culled goodness and each write polite thank-you notes to the ozone layer.
Elephants Delicatessen has been providing Portlanders with fresh deli fare since the dying days of disco. Items are made from scratch daily, with the menu and prices varying from location to location. A few staples pop up at several Elephants eateries, however—namely, the delicatessen's highly praised soups, including the beloved tomato orange soup ($4.50 for a bowl at the Elephants on Wheels location), said to have the ability to align stars in a single spoonful. An array of sandwiches is also available at Elephants Delicatessen, including an albacore tuna salad mini-hoagie ($4.50 at the three Flying Elephants locations), or the Elephants' Own Hamburger ($8.95 at the NW 22nd Avenue location). Depending on which Elephants you choose to harness with your lunch-grabbing lasso, you can also opt for pizza, spinach salad, a black-bean burger, fish and chips, or a Carolina pulled-pork sandwich. Be sure to check your location's menu before making crazy-eyed demands for lobster-and-squash cookies, which don't exist.
At Umi Sushi Japanese Restaurant, chefs busy chopsticks with 14 specialty sushi rolls and a menu of traditional Japanese dishes. Servers stroll through the placid dining room, rescuing empty plates from the clutches of Olympic-discus hopefuls and dotting the yellow tablecloths with appetizers, such as the taco su's octopus, cucumber, and seaweed salad ($7.50). Behind the sushi bar, fresh ingredients merge together to create raw and cooked nigiri sushi ($3.50+), vegetarian maki ($3.50+), and specialty maki, including the dragon roll with eel ($8.95 for seven pieces). The Umi special sauce marinates thin strips of short-cut ribs ($11.95–$13.95), and the Tanshin bento box ($12.50 for a large) partitions teriyaki flavors into culinary cubbyholes. Diners can augment meals with scoops of green-tea ice cream ($3.95) or signal their departure by gurgling imported beer, wine, or sake.
Bellagios Pizza, locally owned and operated since 1996, brews ripe batches of tomato sauce and tosses fresh disks of dough daily at their Wilsonville location, while crews at each restaurant sprinkle pies with delicious toppings to create a menu loaded with pizzas, grinders, and calzones. Heaps of spinach, artichokes, and juicy tomatoes guide wandering bellies out of the desert with the Oasis pizza ($10–$19.99), while the Butcher Block throws a crust-top party of salami, pepperoni, canadian bacon, and italian sausage ($10–$19.99), coming together in hearty harmony like a chorus of lumberjacks. Diners interested in a wider variety of toppings or in teaching children about medieval class structure can opt for a pie cleanly divided down the middle, such as a half-cheese, half-pepperoni pizza ($8–$17.99). Slathered with pizza sauce and adorned with meaty toppings, the Bellagio grinder ($5.99) competes with a host of calzones ($10.99) for the silver medal to the pizza menu's gold.
Players plugs gamers into a cavalcade of entertaining diversions while fueling competitive spirits with eats and drinks from a menu of pub mainstays. Satisfy pin-busting urges by bowling on one of 12 sleek lanes ($2–$4.75/game per person; $2.50/shoe rental). Each lane sports a massive flat-screen hovering above pins, helping bowlers catch the game while dominating their own opponents. Decamp to Players’ billiards lounge for lessons on trick shots, geometry, or the mating habits of eight-balls staged atop one of the contemporary pool tables ($8–$10/hr.). Players' bar and dining area basks under warm amber lights punctuated by the blue glow of 25 sports-affixed TV screens. Gab with old colleagues about advancements in office pranks over frothy brews (bottle $3.25–$4; draft $3.50–$4.50), goblets of vino ($5+), or one of 10 burgers ($8.99–$10.99). The under-21 set stays occupied in the 8 Ball Lounge, a youth-friendly hideaway packed with shuffleboard tables and sleek seating.