Yakuza takes you not only through a culinary journey, but a visionary one as well. The N. Killingsworth spot is a japanese-themed oasis, housing gorgeous custom wall paintings by Susannah Kelly and Neil M Perry and beautifully crafted cocktails. Run by Portland’s restaurateur, Dayna McErlean (owner of DOC, Dash and The Colony), it is no surprise that we are so in love. Everything that woman touches is pure brilliance.
Yakuza was named after the mid-Edo Period of the Japanese feudalism caste, made up of misfits and undesirables, identified by tattoos and non-conformist hairdos. (Hm, sounds a lot like a place we all know.) The “restaurant’s name pays homage to these original black sheep of a highly structured society—they’d feel right at home in Portland, amongst our own merry bands of beautiful outcasts”. Don’t you love the place already? We definitely felt right at home, maybe even wanted to stay forever. If that makes us misfits, we’ll take it.
When it comes to food and flavor, chef David Gaspar de Alba definitely doesn’t hold back. We felt it was simply wrong to order just a couple of dishes, so we went for an array, including the famous Yakuza burger that everyone swears is the best in Portland (they’re right), Scallop Tempura (little nests of heaven—sounds strange but there is just no other way to describe them), Ahi Prosciutto sashimi (pear should be paired with all tuna from now on), Pear Jalapeño roll and the Really Spicy roll. Just talking about it gets us excited. It was one of the freshest, most innovative yet not too complicated and beautifully prepared meals we’ve had (trust us, we like our food). Not to mention the cocktails, that were the perfect accompaniments to the meal in all respects.
If you aren’t already in the car/bike/bus (it stops right in front) on your way, the patio (personally one of our favorites in Portland) is now OPEN, which means Happy Hour outside can commence once again! So, if you are looking for something a little outside of the usual Portland scene, need a good drink, fresh bites and some visual stimulation, head to Yakuza, you won’t be sorry.Yakuza5411 NE 30th AvenuePortland, Oregon 97211Hours:Wednesday - Sunday 5pm-10pmHappy Hour - Wednesday, Thursday +Sunday 5pm-6pm