It’s way pricier, and you’ll likely have to wait for a table, but it’s worth it. I’ve eaten a bunch of vegan sushi in a bunch of cities, and this is the best I’ve had so far. (And the omnivores were equally pleased, so if you need a place for mixed company…)
While we waited for our table, we ordered some cocktails. Sitting outside in Southeast Portland, sipping on these darlings, the wait wasn’t so bad. Clockwise, starting with the little pink guy with the lemon, we’ve got a South of Hokaido: shochu, run, lemon-lime, bitters, and ginger; Paprika Cup: vodka, whisky, Pimms, passionfruit, and a paprika-sugared rim; Lychee Martini: red grapes muddled with vodka, lemon-lime, and lychee puree; and two Purple Hazes: blackberry puree with vodka and lemon-lime juice.
What made Bamboo’s sushi so special? First of all, everything was fresh and gorgeous. Even in a roll as simple as this, each vegetable’s flavor was clear and crisp. Also, the rice was almost creamy. Not mushy, but so tender. I wish I could afford to be a regular here so I could ask them what the secret is. Is it the brand of rice? Is it in the method? WHAT IS IT? I HAVE TO KNOW!
This is Tom’s 310 Roll: marinated fried tofu, roasted peppers, cucumber, asparagus, and yamagobo (pickled burdock), wrapped in avocado and topped with a sweet shiitake glaze. Yeah, I stole a piece, and yeah, it was just crazy good. This was the roll that had me wanting more later that night and even the next day.
And here’s an army of Avocado Rolls and Kanpyo Rolls (pickled gourd). When the specialty rolls cost as much as they do, you order up some filler rolls. But honestly, the simple Avocados were so good that they hardly took a backseat to the fancier ones.
I wanted to try something besides sushi, and most of the rest of their menu is not vegan (not the yakisoba nor the yam press box), so I went with the vegetable tempura. At first glance I was let down, as I saw only yam and onion, but there’s squash, and I believe carrot in there too. And it was light yet flavorful. The tempura batter had enough of a flavor (as did the vegetables themselves) that I didn’t use any sauces with this.
So if you’re in Portland and you want to drop some coin on really fantastic sushi, do it here. Our whole experience was lovely, not just the food. I can’t wait to go back—anybody wanna be my sushi sponsor?