Happy Birthday Steven!   Leave a comment

For Steven's Portland branch of his birthday celebration, we went to Dragonfish Asian Cafe for happy hour sushi and sake. We started off with a glass of Momokawa Ruby Tokubetsu Jummai, a sake with a taste that is soft and lightly sweet with hints of honeydew, as well as a Lemongrass Lime Rickey, a cocktail with vodka infused with lemon grass and kaffir lime leaves, lemon and lime juice, and a splash of soda. It was like a Sprite really. I grabbed a sheet and started filling in circles of the happy hour menu (sort of like filling in the circles of an SAT or ACT test that I actually want to take) with cheap bites, such as Inari, Tuna, Salmon, and Spicy Tuna sushi for $1.95 each, cucumber rolls and crunchy crab rolls for $2.85 each, and edamame ($2.85), caramel ginger chicken ($3.85) and my favorite of the evening, salmon katsu ($3.85). Since they made the mistake of putting the vegetarian sushi on the plate as the fish, F couldn't eat it so he additionally ordered off the dinner menu a green curry dish with tofu. We ordered a flight of sake and a bottle of the house warm sake.

They have a sake club at the restaurant- each time you visit and order a glass, flight, or bottle you get a punch to earn you free sushi or dinner. This is really a fun place to unwind after work, and it's on the way home. Definitely want to take Steven here for some sake when he comes into town!

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Another good meal I've had recently is when I went with my dining group (my first meeting with them) to go to a restaurant in Portland called Belly.  I loved the appetizer of a smoked pork rillette which spread so well on the toasted bread, and was countered well by the pickled asparagus (although there was a bit too much asparagus given- too generous!). The mustard was not needed.

The entree of the "loaded potato" gnocchi with bacon, scallions, creme fraiche, and shaved white cheddar was good, but I was expecting something special besides making it taste like a baked potato. Yes, they seared the gnocchi for an interesting texture when you found a crunch, but I think adding another ingredient to counterbalance the heaviness with something spicy or tart would have improved it by a lot. I know traditionally baked potatoes are pretty rich, but some places do throw in a touch of curry powder or something reminiscent of sour cream to add to the cheese and bacon richness. I guess I was looking for innovation because it seems like they want to try it: also on the menu, but I didn't order because I wanted the smoked pork more, was an appetizer called "pb & j – crisp pork belly, toasted baguette, apple butter". Other entree choices also included chicken fried duck leg and braised rabbit pot pie, so they seemed like they wanted to take known traditional comfort food and put a twist on it. It just didn't happen to the extent I wanted it to for the loaded potato gnocchi, and after the perfect balance of that appetizer, I felt a bit disappointed by the gnocchi because it wasn't at the same level, though it was still pretty good.

Dessert was aa-maa-zing and so I ended on a happy note: dark chocolate cake with hazelnut bavarian cream and chocolate sauce. I ate that thing in minutes, and I don't usually like chocolate. I still think about that dessert when I think of chocolate- it is the new chocolate cake by which I will measure other chocolate cakes.

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Posted October 11, 2008 by pechluck in Uncategorized

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