Oregon is home to a lot of restaurants and bars, but there are tons of hidden gems that the majority of Portlanders aren't unearthing. To help guide us to these potential discoveries, we've enlisted some of our city's many food players to share their recommendations for a weekly feature dubbed Dining Confidential.
Photo of Ikenohana courtesy Merkin M. via Foursquare
Ryan Mead is the executive chef at the Bent Brick. Mead started cooking very young, flipping eggs for his grandmother's breakfast in northern Michigan, and has been working in professional kitchens since his first dishwashing job at age 13. Since coming to Portland, Ryan has worked at Clarklewis and Park Kitchen, and held sous chef positions at Decarli and the Bent Brick before becoming the restaurant's executive chef. Mead self-describes as fiercely proud of his Midwestern heritage, and as such, is passionate about sourcing, preparing, and eating meat. But when he's not making sausages at the Bent Brick, Mead enjoys stuffing his mouth with sushi in a Beaverton spot that he considers far better than just a "hidden gem."
Unassumingly in the corner of strip mall between a dry cleaners and a seedy lotto bar stands an archetype of delicious Japanese food. Ikenohana is what most would call a hidden gem; to me it cannot be described as anything less than a paragon. The service is nothing short of warm and inviting and from the moment you walk in to the time you leave you will feel like family. The ramen, udon, donburi, and tempura are absolutely delicious, but I always find myself at the counter stuffing my face with sushi and decadent slices of sashimi.
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