Stay up to date on Portland’s latest restaurant reviews with Week In Reviews. This updated column (starting now) features opinions on Portland restaurants and bars from the city’s most respected restaurant critics.
HEM AND HAW — The Oregonian’s Michael Russell popped into Northwest’s new Vietnamese street food spot Hem 23, but the critic “wished for stronger flavors throughout — more lime tartness, more fish sauce funk.” In particular, he was disappointed with the turmeric-orange Mi Quang noodle soup, which he says “isn’t in the same league” as the version at treasured Foster-Powell Vietnamese soup joint Rose VL. Russell suggests the “crunchy and juicy” deep-fried soft-shell crab for those who decide to visit. Well, after all that, who would? [Oregonian]
NIMBLE AND MIGHTY — Everyone’s talking about high-end sushi counter Nimblefish, and that includes the critics. “Nimblefish helps fill a gaping hole in Portland’s restaurant scene,” writes Benjamin Tepler at Portland Monthly. The Mercury’s Andrea Damewood went even further, calling the restaurant’s tamago (egg omelet) nigiri the best she’s ever had and the uni (sea urchin) “achingly creamy and so full of the sea you could feel it at the top of your throat.” Damewood uses “perfection” three separate times in her story, so you know, she thought it was okay. While both balk a bit at the prices, Tepler suggests hungrier diners on a budget “lean toward hand rolls, like the chopped mackerel with ginger, takuan, shiso, and green onion” or “a hodgepodge bowl of chirashi zushi: sashimi over well-seasoned, just-fanned rice.” [PoMo, The Mercury]
SKEWERED — Meanwhile, Matthew Korfhage at Willamette Week is off doing his own thing, focusing on more hole-in-the-walls and pop-ups than mind-boggling, expensive sushi houses. He recently visited a Sichuan spot, which apparently is all about skewers: “Everything that can be eaten on a stick can be eaten on a stick at Pot N Spicy,” he writes. He says diners should skip the “chewy mussel and shrimp” and opt for the “lovely and acidic spicy lotus root salad.” [WWeek]