"Ever since I was a kid," says Gabe Rosen, "shellfish has always been close to the pinnacle of dining for me." Rosen owns and cooks at Biwa with partner Kina Voelz, and last week, they doubled Biwa's sashimi offerings. The menu now features five composed fish dishes and one oyster dish, or you can order the sashimi moriawase (tasting menu) and get them all.
Rosen said he was driven by a simple desire to understand and learn how to better work with raw fish, and the new sashimi items have unusual flavors, such as olive oil from Voelz's family farm, as well as fermented pepper paste and powder (think Eastern European sweet pepper paste). "At the end of the day," says Rosen, "sashimi is centered around fish. Handled correctly and sliced correctly, it supports minimalist treatment."
That's why Biwa has been building relationships with seafood purveyors for years to make this happen, and the sashimi menu might just be the beginning. "Surprisingly, for not being that far from the ocean, Portland is a hard place to find high-quality fish." Working with True World, Biwa has sent chefs to work alongside its fisher men and women to learn about sourcing. "Shellfish is an area I'd like to grow," says Rosen, and he says the sourcing system allows for more nimble menu changes.
For now, find the enlarged sashimi menu offered nightly, with Biwa's healthy selection of saké for pairing.