Nodoguro, the “by appointment only” Japanese restaurant that closed its original location in southeast Portland during the pandemic, has found a new home, chef Ryan Roadhouse told The Oregonian.
The new Nodoguro will open Thursday in a former event space tucked behind an upcoming retail store in the Kerns neighborhood for Eleusis, his wife Elena Roadhouse’s hypoallergenic home and body care line. Dinner reservations are booked through December.
Before the pandemic, Ryan Roadhouse’s creative approach to Japanese cuisine and impressive sushi technique had elevated Nodugoro from a traveling pop-up to one of Portland’s finest restaurants and one of the finest Japanese restaurants in the world. ‘America. But after a year of pivots — including selling high-end bento boxes and take-out chirashi bowls — the Roadhouses decided to walk away from the restaurant and its just-opened sister, Tonari, at the start of 2021.
“We faced the thing that was one of our ultimate fears, in terms of how the restaurant would run, and it just got worse and weirder and weirder,” Roadhouse said. “But there is always a silver lining. When you have to disrupt, it’s like the gift of time. For us, that meant more time to spend with our kids who were transitioning into college, when a lot of people might lose the connection to their kids. For me, I felt even more connected. I will always be grateful for that.
Last summer, the Roadhouses took over a former Italian restaurant in northeast Portland with a pop-up, Izakaya in the Canaries, inspired by a Spanish culinary conference they attended last year. Despite the two-year hiatus, the pop-up has shown no signs of rust, with familiar dishes including dashi-infused sungold tomatoes, bowls of rice draped in bright salmon roe, and sashimi of flawless origin.
In the new restaurant, Ryan Roadhouse plans to restructure the menu, dividing the Hassun course – a mid-meal crescendo of complex, seasonal bites – into a first series of snacks, taken up by bites of similar size to the dessert. As with Nodoguro’s old “Supahardcore” format, fresh oysters and seafood cooked like steamed abalone will lead to a series of creative dishes, including a Thanksgiving dinner-inspired slice of duck with pumpkin and cranberry jam, followed by a rapid progression of sushi made from fish imported from Japan. Dinners are $250 per person, with an optional wine and sake pairing for $50.
Beyond cooking at the Culinary Conference, the Roadhouses have kept busy developing Eleusis. Last year, Ryan Roadhouse took a crash course in nutrition at Stanford University and plans to use that knowledge to write menus for an affiliate app, as well as host wellness-focused cooking demonstrations. be in the restaurant space. The brand’s concept store, Eleusis Way, is expected to open shortly after Nodoguro.
Nodoguro opens for dinner four nights a week starting Thursday, November 10 at 623 NE 23rd Ave. Roadhouse recommends joining the restaurant’s waitlist and following their Instagram account for updates on future dates in January.
—Michael Russell; firstname.lastname@example.org; @tdmrussell
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