Fans of environmentally-friendly dining may want to head to the U District. Today, Portland-based chain Bamboo Sushi opens its highly anticipated new restaurant in the University Village, its first outpost in Seattle and largest one yet. As with its six other locations (five in Portland, one in Denver), the restaurant showcases sushi sourced from sustainable fisheries, with a menu and website that explains in detail where Bamboo obtains its seafood, whether its steelhead trout from open net pens in Washington or diver caught sea urchin from Santa Barbara, CA.
In fact, Bamboo Sushi bills itself as the “world’s first sustainable sushi restaurant,” although that’s a designation other sushi restaurants in America have made, including Tataki in the Bay Area and Miya in Connecticut. West Seattle’s Mashiko also made a commitment to sustainable practices years ago. But no matter who was first, Bamboo is among the early pioneers of the movement, and continues to be so. Founder and CEO Kristofor Lofgren has spent over a decade establishing a supply chain that lowers impact, and the restaurant is now certified as a B corporation — a business that meets the highest verified social and environmental standards.
Bamboo also happens to be known for simply well-crafted dishes, landing on Eater PDX’s best sushi list. The highlights are the nigiri, which are prepared with yakumi (light accompanying toppings), to enhance the flavor of each fish — no soy sauce and wasabi required. The kampachi from Hawaii is brightened with yuzu juice and truffle salt, while the coho salmon from Alaska is enhanced with yuan zuke. There is also an extensive selection of vegetarian options, including crunchy fried cauliflower with spicy black bean sauce and the popular Green Machine roll, with tempura fried long bean, green onion, avocado, and cilantro sweet chile aioli (protein toppings are optional).
At 4,700 square feet, the U Village outpost (which replaces a spot vacated by a former Blue C Sushi restaurant) is roomy, with a main dining room that seats 142, a sushi bar with 21 seats, and a bar area. There’s also a large outdoor dining patio and private dining room for up to 30 people. Naturally, the interior reflects the sustainability theme. Patio chairs are made from recycled fishnets and tabletops are sourced from recycled paper. Even the restaurant’s take-out containers are made from bagasse and sugarcane, which break down organically.
In the main dining room, large murals painted by local artist Kyler Martz depict the pearl divers of Japan, and a wall near the bar features photos of fishermen. This location of Bamboo Sushi will also have the chain’s first take-out window for picking up orders placed online or over the phone, with a special menu that has a few exclusive items for such purchases.
Dinner hours are daily from 4:30 p.m. 9 p.m. on weekdays and Sunday (open until 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays). There’s a happy hour Monday through Friday from 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p,m. Bamboo Sushi will open for lunch and debut its takeout window in late November.