Three signs at Skyline's pioneer boulevard location echo its 1935 origins—a neon "Open" sign glowing beneath the awning, a Coca-Cola sign flanking the parking lot, and a "Burgers and Shakes" marker crowning the roof. The Broadway location's dining space similarly hearkens back to Skyline's beginnings with its checkerboard tiles and booths and its insistence on only accepting money from the 1930s. Though all these design elements reflect Skyline's reputation as a classic American burger joint, the menu demonstrates that its chefs never stopped experimenting. The burger selection extends to half-pound steak burgers with topping combinations such as guacamole, pepper jack, salsa, and sour cream. Such innovation captured Food Network Magazine's choice for Oregon's Best Burger in 2009. The chefs' experimentation continues throughout the menu, from milk shakes blended with pie to a deep-fried hot dog dubbed The Resolution Destroyer.
Behind the sushi bar at Sushi Seoul, an ocean of fresh seafood acts as an artistic medium. Skilled chefs fold neat slices of freshwater eel, plump morsels of Dungeness crab, and colorful clusters of salmon roe into specialty rolls topped with dashes of color—crisp green onions, sweet mango, creamy avocado. And to highlight how much their finished works resemble edible art, they eschew lackluster names such as “Roll #2” or “Biology Homework” in favor of appropriately poetic titles such as “Red Moon” and “Rising Sun.”
Out of the spotlight, specialty chefs do something similar with the Japanese and Korean entrees they whip up in the kitchen. Five kinds of ramen simmer with cuts of tender pork or sprigs of scallions while pans flash-fry mushrooms and black tiger prawn tempura. What results are plates as pleasing to the eye as they are to the tongue. But to keep them from bearing the responsibility of the meal alone, they pair expertly with draft brews, fruity bubble teas, and bites of mochi—a sweet, traditional treat that has the soft consistency of a marshmallow or an incredibly ineffective bank vault.
Friendly servers at J's Teriyaki and Pub, reinvigorated by new management, top tables with a roster of stir-fried, simmered, and hand-rolled entrees. Steamed rice and a side of salad accompany the spicy beef teriyaki ($8.45), and a serving of soba noodles ensnares a choice of meat or veggies in its starchy tendrils ($6.55–$7.95). Chopsticks clamp onto cross sections of the chicken-teriyaki roll, filled with its namesake poultry and asparagus ($5.95), or the tiger roll with crabmeat, avocado, and a crown of shrimp to grant it sovereignty over all neighboring dishware ($7.95). The menu's color photographs and a blackboard hawking specials help diners decide on which dish to invite to dinner.
At Hapa Grill, chefs blend Hawaiian, Korean, and Asian-fusion flavors into a diverse Pacific-themed menu that plays with vibrant flavors from citrus fruits and nuts. They crust mahi-mahi with macadamias, braise pork pot roast in a ginger-soy sauce, and deep-fry chicken before tossing it in a poignant pineapple sauce. Kalua-pork sandwiches stack upon Hawaiian sweet-bread foundations, whereas the Hawaiian loco moco—constructed of rice, eggs, macaroni salad, and gravy—takes on five variations featuring everything from Spam to hamburger patties. After they've tucked into barbecue-chicken rice bowls, diners can follow up with homemade red velvet cupcakes from Frankly Delicious, which leave tongues as satisfied as a kid in a treehouse made of trampolines.
The bamboo steamers sit conspicuously behind the glass counter, spirals of steam escaping their closed lids as guests peer at the expansive menu and consider their options. There are three types of dumplings and four kinds of bao filled with the likes of barbecue pork, Szechuan chicken, coconut custard, and adzuki bean paste. In addition, the menu offers pad thai noodles and banh mi sandwiches. Guests sip loose-leaf teas to complement the meals, soaking in the sun from the large windows or out on the sidewalk patio.
Traditional Japanese noodle entrees and teriyaki specialties abound on the menu at Ookii Sushi, where skilled chefs tap into the flavor reservoirs of fresh ingredients to construct dozens of sushi rolls. To generate the nabeyaki udon, culinary crew members lure chicken, fishcake, and tempura shrimp into a net of noodles before dishing the bubbling broth, like a witch's Thanksgiving dinner, into a special pot ($8.50). An extensive lineup of sushi rolls flaunts classic seafood stuffings and eclectic twists, such as seared garlic albacore ($3.95) and creamy scallops ($3.95). Cylinders of fresh spicy tuna ($5.95) mingle with baked salmon rolls ($7.95) and beef rolls ($5.95), and four types of california rolls ($4.50–$5.95) showcase real crab and imitation crab, which dons plastic claws for a popular Las Vegas cabaret act.