Portland Restaurants: Biwa

Saturday evening I visited Biwa for dinner with a fellow convention attendee.  The restaurant is about .7 mi (15 minute walk) from the convention center and from the Crown Plaza it is about 1.2 mi (25 minute walk).  The restaurant is fairly easy to find and appeared to be patronized mostly by locals, which I took as a good sign.  We were seated quickly and handed two menus, a drinks menu and the other menu I had anticipated would be all food.  It turned out that the “food menu” was a single, double-sided page with only about 2/3 of one side devoted to food, the rest of that menu (1/3 of the front and all of the back) was for drinks as well.  The main focus of the restaurant seems to be a bar with a limited meal offering.

After receiving the menus we were given cool towels for our hands (I suppose because they didn’t seem to have the air conditioning on) and some spiced popcorn, about 1 cup worth for two people.  I was saddened to see they didn’t offer sushi, even though I had eaten sushi just the day before.  One cannot have too much sushi.  We both ended up ordering the chilled ramen with chicken and I also wanted to try the onigiri with a plum in the middle.
The onigiri was larger than I thought it would be and quite good in its simplicity.  Instead of having a small strip of nori,it had a whole sheet which covered most of the onigiri, which I thought helped keep it all together and from making a big mess.  The rice was slightly salted and the plum added a nice flavor to the rice, well once I got to it.  It was a pretty big ball o’ rice!

The chilled ramen with chicken was delightful!  This was not a soup, like you might make at home, but cooked noodles, a few types of vegetables, and some chicken (though I am not sure how it was cooked, perhaps stir-fried?).  I’ve never had cold ramen before and I quite liked it.  The vegetables were crisp and fresh tasting and the dish was not greasy or too sticky, which I was concerned with since it wasn’t a soup noodle dish.

The restaurant filled quickly while we were eating but the service didn’t slow at all.  The prices were reasonable, I think they may rely more on their alcohol sales for profit.  The two of us ate for $25 for two dinners, one side, and tip, we both had water to drink.

Overall, I would go back, just not if I’m on a sushi kick.

And another picture which has nothing to do with Portland or food…

These dudes are so awesome. A ragged seahare (Bursatella leachii pleii) from Destin, FL!

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