Inexplicably, NW 23rd Avenue is basking in some major buzz right now. In addition to yesterday's news that a celebrated chef is making his return to Portland in the Mangia Pizza space, as first reported on Eat Beat, SE's sustainable Bamboo Sushi is readying a second, twice-as-large location on NW 23rd, which owner Kristofor Lofgren says will facilitate a different overall dining experience — think a bustling 22-seat (not sunken) sushi bar, large bar area with a focus on mixology, and about 90 seats in the restaurant, with a menu more attuned on kitchen food. "Our hope is to elevate our kitchen food to a standard never seen before in town," Lofgren says, citing both Scandinavian flavors and the shuttered-too-soon seafood spot Fin as an influence. "My hope is that [chef Brian Landry] can take over where Trent [Pierce] left off... the creativity coming out of Fin, without removing some of our signature dishes."
But Lofgren's expansion plans extend beyond bettering the Bamboo brand. As part of its new "consumer regeneration" model, Bamboo Sushi is targeting biologically important areas around the world (from Maine to Palau) to fund "fish banks" — protected scientific research centers and sanctuaries for marine life. Lofgren's first purchase — 405,000 acres in the Bahamas — represents an ambitious plan to make consuming seafood more sustainable by literally quantifying consumption and putting fish back in the ocean. "We are cutting our margins to make our consumers 'consumer philanthropists,'" Lofgren says. "Just by eating with us — you just built a marine-protected area somewhere. The more we grow, the more we can do."
And though the exact location of Bamboo Sushi NW has been kept under wraps until now, with rumors swirling, Lofgren is ready to make the big reveal — in the form of a guessing game, natch.
According to Lofgren, Bamboo's 3,200-square-foot space on NW 23rd will help facilitate a different set of demographics, with additional space for select reservations, private dining, and to-go orders. But "our goal is to continue doing Portland right," Lofgren says. "We feel like it's good to have businesses representative of Portland in areas where [they're often priced out]."
That said, the Bamboo NW location is one of the images provided above. For the first five commenters to correctly guess the site of new location (please leave a Facebook/Twitter/some way for Eater to contact you), Lofgren will float a $50 gift certificate to Bamboo Sushi, which can be redeemed now at Bamboo SE. Get ready: These are sure to go quick.
· Bamboo Sushi [Official site]
· All Previous Bamboo Sushi Coverage [Eater PDX]
Image of Bamboo Sushi courtesy Carla R. via Yelp