Musubi officially opened October 3 beside Bar Avignon, at 2134 SE Division St., and it’s a 670-square-foot spot dedicated almost entirely to musubi, the Japanese and Hawaiian rice snacks. Musubi’s versions are made by stuffing sushi-grade rice with fillings (see full menu below) and wrapping it all up in nori.
Owner Darrell Yuen comes from Hawaii, and while Musubi will even make its spam in-house, he tells Eater the menu focuses on Japanese-style musubi, aka onigiri. Onigiri are shaped like triangles and feature unseasoned rice to let you season accordingly. Two to three usually forms a meal, says Yuen, and they’re most commonly eaten for lunch and on the go.
As more and more restaurants begin to focus on counter service in Portland’s highly competitive restaurant market, Musubi is offering a high-turnover business model as one might find in San Francisco or New York: There are only four seats inside, and the business will focus on takeout and delivery. In fact, customers can order by text and Musubi will show up to offer what it describes as a “musubi pop-up” onsite (just make sure the location is within this delivery area covering much of central Portland). It offers beer, ciders, and sakes for delivery, too.
Heading the kitchen is J. J. Needham (Broder), and he’ll make much of the menu from scratch, including things like kombu, a sea kelp umami bomb stewed in soy sauce and dashi. In addition to more traditional musubi, Yuen tells Eater he’ll serve “unicorns, like musubi featuring lobster knuckles or a really special Korean fried chicken.” Sides include salads — one involving Maine seaweed — and a Hawaiian-style mac and cheese modeled on Yuen’s mother’s recipe.
Musubi will also give ten cents of every musubi sale “to an organization working on the frontline of hunger in our communities.”
Musubi is now open Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., at 2134 SE Division St. Here’s the opening menu:
- Musubi [Official Site]