Gabe Rosen’s much awaited Biwa, a Japanese restaurant in the same space as the Simpatica Dining Hall, opened this week
Do not expect your run of the mill California roll sushi and chicken teriyaki emporium here. Biwa is inspired by countless neighborhood joints throughout Japan; places that serve (according to Biwa’s website),
“the simple things people eat everyday in Japan…
where small shops in neighborhoods still make noodles by hand
where quality is prized in even the lowliest ingredients
where people eat when they drink and go out in big groups…”
Rosen, who took a long sabbatical from Portland to study cooking in Japan, will be making things like housemade ramen in a “secret broth,” and tsukemono (Japanese pickles – called kimichis at Biwan), in addition to an assortment of yaki-mono (grilled things) and yet unnamed seasonal specials. You can check out their website.
Is Ten 01 Restaurant Spiraling Down the Drain?
No meat thermometer needed for Ten 01, it’s about done. First it is lambasted by Willamette Week in a review called Looks: Ten, Food: 0. After that, Adam Berger moved back into the kitchen to get things under control. Now Karen Brooks has written her most biting review in ages called 01 to Forget (2010 – link no longer valid: removed). Some choice quotes:
“Dishes at this splashy new restaurant are conceived as if they were the last on Earth and every flavor known to man and beast must be sampled before the hour of annihilation. What else could explain the kitchen’s bizarre concoctions?”
“The restaurant’s Web site calls the cooking here “a marriage of flavors that will astound both the casual diner and the connoisseur.” It’s astounding, all right. Misguided and misfiring. Pretentious and amateurish. And wildly overpriced, given the likely tab for two ($100). This is food so bleached of life that you wonder if the kitchen harbors a secret deflavorizing machine.”
“Delivered to the table with the exclamation, “Here’s your rockfish,” it was bland and indifferent and topped with a warm wad of arugula that brought to mind — no kidding — cow cud.”
“And that, in a cold, unsavory lump, is the tale of Ten 01.”
Wow! An astonishingly vitriolic review for the O, and good reading; kind of like a car wreck you can’t help but look at.
Even though I know people in the building, I haven’t been back since opening week. Friends I trust have told me the food’s fallen off dramatically. Something tells me I won’t be running over any time soon. I feel sorry for the guys; trying so hard… maybe too hard. So much potential unfulfilled.
Fried Rabbit Ears – a New Thing?
Just in time for Easter! Ferran Adria is considered by many to be the most innovative and influential, chefs in the world. Culinary giants like Thomas Keller venerate him. El Bulli, the restaurant where he creates his masterpieces, has become a pilgrimage site of sorts; food connoisseurs from around the world journey down a dizzying coastal road to Roses, Spain to experience his tasting menu which often consists of 25 or more courses.
Now then; let’s say you score some reservations, and fly to Spain for this 25 course meal. How would you feel if one of the courses consisted of a plate of nice fried rabbit ears? Maybe? Look at this picture on the hungry in hogtown blog and then make up your mind. They call them “ear-resistible”.
I’ve eaten a lot of strange things in my life, but Anthony Bourdain I am not. I think I’d have a hard time getting biting into one.
Portland musical restaurant employees
Jehnee Raines, who was interviewed for this site, originally moved here from the Bay Area. She worked at Gotham Tavern and the ill-fated Balvo, before heading back towards San Francisco. Word on the street says she’s heading this way again. A good thing for our city. Meanwhile, Collin Casey from Andina has moved on, leaving Ken Collura to run the pearl wine shop and work the floor of the restaurant by himself. Somehow I don’t think he’ll have much time to write for this site for a while. On the other hand, Rocket, Leather Storrs new venture is getting so much buzz, they are doing interviews by cattle call. Those making inquiries are getting a form email back.