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Bamboo Izakaya Morphs Into Bamboo Sushi; Noraneko Ramen-ya Now Open

Welcome to CascadiaWire, a weekly collection of restaurant news from up-and-down the Pacific Northwest corridor.

Dina Avila/EPDX

NE ALBERTA Bamboo Izakaya opened last October, serving up salty, savory, fatty Japanese snacks that go great with booze. But it turns out Portland is hungrier for sushi than skewers cooked on authentic binchotan charcoal grills, and after six months of watching sushi-demanding customers walk out the door, the sustainability-minded Bamboo team is waving the white flag and transitioning the restaurant to a third Bamboo Sushi outpost. The izakaya will shutter on March 21 and reopen April 2 after a brief remodel.

CENTRAL EASTSIDE The duo responsible for kicking off Portland's ramen obsession eight years ago at Biwa have opened the doors to Noraneko, their dedicated ramen shop spinoff. The 30-seat space is dedicated to offering an authentic Japanese ramen-ya experience. The small menu is tightly focused on just a few varieties of ramen — shio, shoyu, miso, and vegetarian — with specially selected noodles from cult-favorite Sun Noodle. The drink menu, meanwhile, ranges far and wide, from fresh-pressed juices and house-made sodas, to sake, wine, beer and more than a dozen classic cocktails. For now, the restaurant's hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., daily but come April, stay open until 2 a.m.

NORTHEAST Rocker-turned-restaurateur Jon Steuer has opened the doors to his don't-call-it-vegan restaurant Harvest at the Bindery. There chef Sean Sigmon  has created a plant-based, super-seasonal menu free of animal products, like hearty sandwiches of smoked trumpet mushrooms doused in sherry bbq sauce and topped with slaw. Sigmon has said the menu will change constantly, depending on what's freshest. And though he'll employ grains, he won't use processed meat substitutes like tofu or seitan. In the near future, he hopes to launch weekend brunch.