I’ve been there so much that I think I know everybody’s name. It colors my opinion, sure–so I won’t go on forever and ever about how good their food is. Okay, I can’t resist: Biwa is really really good!
I bring them up today because the FOH manager mentioned that they have a new spring menu, and I stopped in to see what it looked like:
Radish Salad (radish, miner’s lettuce, daikon, vinaigrette), that was awesome, earthy and close to the definition of freshness (some of the lettuce was a little beaten up);
Green Bean Salad;
Shoyu Chicken Wings;
A new cold (I think) scallop dish;
Spring Onion Dengaku;
Grilled asparagus with Hot Mustard-Egg sauce that was like the hottest, tangiest, delicious version of Asparagus Hollandaise I can imagine.
I think there may have been another new dish or three, but I didn’t steal a menu or memorize things better. It is worth mentioning that there aren’t any changes to the Happy Hour Menu.
There has been a glass jar sitting on the bar for a month or so, stuffed with Ginseng and full of vodka. They’ve started serving the elixir in a cocktail of Vodka and Carrot juice. You heard me. I hate hate hate raw carrot juice, but I loved this cocktail. I almost ordered two, but I was glad I didn’t. That delicious elixer set me back $10. Delicious, though, and thoroughly unique.
So in 5 words: Biwa spring menu. Try it.
Biwa 215 SE 9th Avenue Portland, Oregon 97214 503-239-8830
I apologize to my 4 readers that I have not been writing anything worth a damn about food in a long while. It’s tough to make food your hobby when it is also your job.
At the same time, cooking all day makes me totally unwilling to cook for myself at home, so I eat out a lot. Way too much, given my salary and other habits. Here is a short post about the places I’ve been recently, all wrapped together. Continue reading I've been away so long…→
The development of lower E Burnside –loE-bu?– has been interesting to watch. You have destination restaurants aplenty, but there are still day laborers hanging out on 6th and Ankeny and the homeless contingent forced across the river occupies the doorways of light industry after nightfall. This dangerous combination has led to horrified suburbanites combing the backstreets trying to plot a path from SUV to restaurant that will keep them clean of the reality that surrounds these new utopia of gustatory excess. Off the top of my head: L’Astra, Farm Cafe, Le Pigeon, Rocket, Simpatica, Biwa as well as bars both high (Chesterfield, Rontoms) and low brow (all hail the B Side) are between MLK and 12th, within 2 Blocks of Burnside.
Biwa is a sunken restaurant-when you enter, the ceiling is low enough to be hazardous for the tall or mowhawked. Descending a wrangle of stairs to the cement floor, the restaurant is a warm, noisy, wood and cement concoction with spare industrial lighting and a bar abutting the kitchen. Nice looking, but the warmth is going to be a serious problem when it’s over 70 outside, I think.