1337 NE Broadway

Sushi, like capitalism, breeds a very classist system, and as I see it, there are four categories of sushi-dining establishments. 1) The lowest common demoninater: The rotating sushi-mobiles and the grocery store sushi. 2) Mediocrity marketed to the masses: restaurant sushi that's all California rolls and cream cheese 3) Good sushi, accessible mostly to the more affluent, educated individuals in society: makes up approximately 35 percent of sushi restaurants. 4) The really fucking good sushi, extremely limited in availability, and marketed to those who are specialists in sushi-dining: only about five percent of sushi establishments. Yuki, the newest sushi-eating facility in Portland, falls into class three.

This classification is largely due to the quality of fish at Yuki. All of the Nigiri is served in plump, beautiful pieces, the texture is soft and delicate, and not a trace of chewiness is detectable. The Sake (Salmon) is a one of their best; the fish is a deep, reddish pink, and so fresh that it sits almost perkily on its bed of rice, which is also cooked with expertise to a consistency of delicate stickiness. The Yellowtail, too, is light, soft, plump, and divinely mild.

It is in the rest of the preparation that Yuki's ranking goes from top-notch to just pretty good. While the rice is good, the sauces that dress the fish pale in comparison. With both the Spicy Salmon (Salmon and cucumber with spicy sauce) and the Spicy Tekka roll, (Tuna and cucumber roll with spicy sauce), the spicing is a weak, lackluster compliment to the fish. Similarly, the baked green mussels are dressed in a spicy mayonnaise sauce with roe--a common Japanese dish, but one that is over-spiced, stale, and too heavy.

Yuki is a good place for hardcore Nigiri lovers to take friends who don't like raw fish, as there are lots of cooked, noodle-based dishes, which are not great, but will surely suffice. Moreover, since places like Saburro's and Murata are all the way across town and usually have six-mile lines out the door, one can't expect to dine in the top five percent all the time.