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#21 anotherdavid

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Posted 01 February 2011 - 09:57 AM

Sign in the window says opening Feb. 3.

#22 reduxredux

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Posted 03 February 2011 - 02:27 PM

Opening today at 4:30. I'm going to try and go because I'm damn curious

#23 ExtraMSG

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Posted 03 February 2011 - 03:00 PM

I have some time to kill so might be there myself
The greatest service chemistry has rendered to alimentary science, is the discovery of osmazome, or rather the determination of what it was. ~Brillat-Savarin

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#24 reduxredux

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Posted 03 February 2011 - 06:45 PM

Stopped in around 5 today. Mirakutei might be the smallest restaurant I've eaten in before. There were maybe 10 people when I got there, including Nick (pretty sure?), and with the staff it looked packed.

I'm sure there will be more detailed reports from larger parties, so I'll just put up my shitty phone pics and call it a day.

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I started with the seaweed salad. There was a cucumber gelatin with something that tasted like juniper berries, a mix of green and bright purple seaweed, and a sweet sauce. This was quite good, although eating gelatin with chopsticks sounds like a metaphor for something difficult, and that metaphor would be very apt.

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I had the spicy ramen with yuzu and miso, which was delicious. There were some bamboo shoots and bean sprouts on top, green onions, and soft slices of pork. I honestly don't think I've had ramen at a restaurant before (maybe Biwa, but I'm not a big fan of Biwa and can't remember their ramen if I have had it), but the noodles were cooked right and the broth was rich and filling. They gave me an unopened bottle of chili powder to add as needed, and were very nice when I promptly dropped the cap in my soup.

I ordered an otokoyama sake, which was served in an overflowing glass in a wooden box. I may have totally botched the consumption of this, but it was good with the food. The service was very attentive and enthusiastic. They will probably get tired of shouting "Irasshaimase!" when people come in, so enjoy it while it lasts. The total was a reasonable $18.50. I wanted to get something else to try but I am glad I did not, as I was pretty stuffed by the end of the ramen.

Now that I've been I agree that it would be nice if it were bigger, so I could just stop in whenever and grab a bowl of cheap ramen. The menu is much larger than I expected, and it's the kind of place where you can spend $10 or $50+ depending on what you eat and drink. Sadly, this place will likely become a huge hit and I'll never be able to get a table again.

#25 jmatt

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Posted 04 February 2011 - 02:09 AM

I ordered an otokoyama sake, which was served in an overflowing glass in a wooden box. I may have totally botched the consumption of this, but it was good with the food. The service was very attentive and enthusiastic. They will probably get tired of shouting "Irasshaimase!" when people come in, so enjoy it while it lasts. The total was a reasonable $18.50. I wanted to get something else to try but I am glad I did not, as I was pretty stuffed by the end of the ramen.


You know, I love being served sake that way---it's how it's served in lots of izakaya in Japan, and there's just something about it that's cool and sort of ritualistic. I always loved taking a sip out of the glass, then pouring the rest in, or drinking it out of the box, or however you choose to do it. When it's poured just in the box is great too. I used to go to a tiny, old izakaya/yakitori place in my neighborhood in Japan and they always served it in the box with a pinch of salt in one corner. A nice touch..

#26 ExtraMSG

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Posted 04 February 2011 - 05:03 AM

Main menu:

SALAD

Rock shrimp tempura, organic mix green salad, $6.50
Soy balsamic vinaigrette dressing

Torched beef tongue, $6.50
Truffle flavored wasabi caesar salad and poached egg

Seaweed salad, $4.50
Mustard sumiso dressing

Roasted white onion, $5.50
Wasabi fromage blanc cheese and salmon roe

SASHIMI CARPACCIO

Hamachi carpaccio, $8.50
Jalapeno ginger sauce

House smoked tasmanian wild salmon tortilla, $7
Wasabi tartar sauce and salmon roe

Japanese eggplant tempura and spicy tuna, $6.50
Wasabi tobiko ginger confit

Octopus Carpaccio, $7.50
Yuzu pepper flavored

FISH

Oyster half shell, $6
Ponzu mousse mingonette sauce

Seared tasmanian wild salmon, $10
Herb beurre blanc

Japanese scallop tempura, $10
Stuffed with monkfish liver, served with pear sauce

Cod with Miso, $10
Seared Japanese black cod marinated saiko miso

MEAT

Smoked duck spring roll, $10
Miso sauce

Wagyu beef, $10
Yuzu butter sauce

Simmered beef tongue, $10
Miso demi-glace sauce

Chicken wing yakitori, $5
Yuzu sea salt

RAMEN AND OTHERS

Mirakutei original ramen, $8
Miso butter ramen, $8
Spicy yuzu miso ramen, $8.50

Fried rice w/ shrimp, $5
Gyoza, $6
Tempura, $6
Edamamae, $3

SUSHI ROLLS

Spicy hamachi, $6
Chopped yellowtail, cucumber, and chili garlic sesame oil

Tempura, $6
Shrimp tempura, avocado, masago w/ wasabinaise saice

Crunch roll, $6
Shrimp tempura, crab, masago, avocado, green onion, topped with tenkasu and original eel sauce

Spicy scallop, $6
Northern Japan scallop, cucumber, spicy masago cream sauce

Soft shell crab, $7
Soft shell crab, masago avocado, green onion, wrapped w/ daikon skin and Hiro's signature sauce

MIRAKUTEI SPECIAL MAKI RECOMMENDATIONS

Unagi, $8
Chopped yellowtail and green onion topped with unagi

Maguro, $8
Avocado, crab, green onion w/ Japanese chili pepper topped with tuna

Oregon roll special, $8
Salmon, white onion, and green onion, w/ creamy masago sauce topped w/ shrimp

Salmon aburi, $8
Asparagus, avocado, cucumber, msasago toppped w/ grilled tasmanian wild salmon


Happy hour menu:

MIRAKUTEI HAPPY HOUR
4:30pm - 6:00pm Monday through Thursday

House smoked tasmanian wild salmon tortilla, $5.50
Seaweed salad, $3.50
Octopus carpaccio, $6
Simmered beef tongue, $5
Chicken wing yakitori, $4
Chicken karaage, $4
Gyoza, $4.50
Tempura, $4.50
Edamame, $2.50
Spicy hamachi hand roll, $3
Tempura hand roll, $3
Crunch hand roll, $3
Spicy scallop hand roll, $3
Oregon special hand roll, $3


The greatest service chemistry has rendered to alimentary science, is the discovery of osmazome, or rather the determination of what it was. ~Brillat-Savarin

Nick Zukin, Mi Mero Mole & Kenny & Zuke's

#27 ExtraMSG

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Posted 04 February 2011 - 11:15 PM

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Had some time to kill Thursday evening...

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...so my wife and I decided to visit Mirakutei on opening day.

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With how small it is, I figured it might be smart to get in sooner rather than later, especially since they don't have lunch hours.

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They brought out a little dish of wasabi peas with our water and menus.

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We started with some gyoza. I wasn't a fan, though, and my wife liked them even less. The flavor was dominated by white pepper, I think. Both the pork and onion were subtle by comparison. Also, the delicate skins were softer than they looked. I like the pan-side to be crisper.

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The chicken karaage, on the other hand, was excellent. The juicy chunks of meat were left a bit fatty, but the fat melted in the mouth. The breading was very light and redolent with ginger.

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Neither my wife or I enjoyed the crunch roll, much, a hand roll with shrimp tempura, crab, masago, avocado, green onion and unagi sauce wrapped in nori. The flavors were very flat, the tempura not very crunchy, and the nori too chewy and difficult to bite through.

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We ordered two of the three ramens, the original and the spicy yuzu miso. Both come similarly adorned with sliced, stewed pork and a lot of green onions, though the original ramen, the one pictured above, comes with bean sprouts, while the spicy ramen comes with bamboo shoots.

The original ramen is rich, deeply porky, and just shy of being overly seasoned. I'd like less green onion and some more diverse accompaniments, but the broth is quite good. I found the noodles to be decent, a little toothsome, but nothing special, about what you'd expect from fresh noodles at Uwajimaya. Pork was also very good, tender and infused with a complex sweetness.

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While my wife most enjoyed the original ramen, I most enjoyed the spicy yuzu miso ramen. Both ramens start with the same pork broth base, but then a mixture of miso, yuzu, and chile are added to the spicy broth. It's not very spicy. My wife considered it too mild (and she usually complains that things are too spicy). I liked the rounded, very balanced flavor the light heat added to the bowl. It's a broth that's hard to stop eating. Same noodles, same pork.

Overall a very good start. The things I most care about, the karaage and the ramen, are both very good out of the gate. I imagine some of the other stuff will improve as the kitchen is trained (it was obvious they were still in training watching them work). Servers need to get to know their menu more and one of our dishes, the octopus carpaccio, was forgotten, but I'll definitely be back.
The greatest service chemistry has rendered to alimentary science, is the discovery of osmazome, or rather the determination of what it was. ~Brillat-Savarin

Nick Zukin, Mi Mero Mole & Kenny & Zuke's

#28 Flynn

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Posted 05 February 2011 - 11:04 AM

I went opening night as well. Spicy yuzu ramen was the clear winner, although I liked the standard pork ramen as well. I wasn't a huge fan of the butter miso ramen, as it's pretty bland. I also thought the gyoza were miserable, and I didn't think the maki were anything special. Funny that Yuzu now uses the best noodles in town. Followed by Hakatamon, I suppose.

What I think Mirakutei will be: A great place to get a late night bowl of ramen, and hopefully other small plates. I'm wary that Biwa will far surpass them on everything but the ramen, but we'll see. I see myself coming here very early or very late. It's teeny tiny.

What I think Mirakutei won't be: A fully-realized ramen shop. It's not, by design. I'll still be hoping for our version of Samurai Noodle/Ippudo/Santouka/Ramen Halu/Daikokuya/etc.

#29 polloelastico

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Posted 05 February 2011 - 12:13 PM

Good to see menma and sprouts as toppings. That broth looks pretty solid.
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#30 Quo Vadis

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Posted 05 February 2011 - 12:28 PM

I went opening night as well. Spicy yuzu ramen was the clear winner, although I liked the standard pork ramen as well. I wasn't a huge fan of the butter miso ramen, as it's pretty bland.


Hopefully that miso butter ramen will improve during corn season. :drool:
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#31 Prone to Hyperbole

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Posted 05 February 2011 - 02:46 PM

Cool sign at least! :-)

Thanks for the quick reports guys. My first impression based on the menu and your pics: 1. WAY too fancy / French ... with it's cucumber gelee and mustard smears :-( I was hoping for and kinda expecting a RAMEN house. ??? PDX still needs a dedicated one other than Shogun. This is a lot of carry over and similarity to the fancy preps of Hiroshi with Euro Flair. Still, count me in! I'm gonna try it. But with only one ramen in 3 variations.... sigh.
Probably best they're not open til 2am, as they're not a straight up steaming bowl of ramen drop in after a night of drinking. I don't want truffled anything or gelees after drankin' all night.
but it's hard to complain since the food is probably awesome. I almost went last night. Will do very very soon.
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#32 ExtraMSG

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Posted 10 February 2011 - 10:01 PM

Had another meal here the other night. Saw several PFGers, so maybe someone else will speak up.

btw, we got an order of karaage only after asking about it. It wasn't on the normal menu but they said they have it. Must have been a mistake on their part, putting it on the happy hour menu but not the normal menu. It wasn't quite as good as the first time, but damn close.

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Started with the seaweed salad. I thought it was pleasant. The cucumber jelly was a little flat (could have used some salt), but fine. And the salad's dressing was appropriately zippy.

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The torched beef tongue with egg and truffle-wasabi caesar salad was mediocre, I thought. I'm not sure the barely-cooked egg made sense at all. Was it meant for the salad? I don't know. Also, while I tasted some wasabi towards the bottom of the salad, I didn't taste any truffle throughout. The tongue wasn't well-seasoned and might as well have been steamed. Have had much better versions of this at Hiroshi.

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The hamachi carpaccio (come on, this is really just sashimi with little relation to carpaccio) with ginger-jalapeno sauce was better. The texture of the fish was pretty good, though the fish itself was a little fishier than I would have liked. The ginger-jalapeno topping was well-balanced and restrained.

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The black cod is one of the best dishes I've had there so far. The sweet marinade penetrated the perfectly cooked, buttery fish which was tender but not mushy. Probably as good as any versions in town.

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I didn't try the unagi roll, but my dining partner said it was mediocre.

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I liked the miso butter ramen better than Flynn, I think. Same great rich, not overly seasoned, broth underneath with a little miso flavor and extra sweet butteriness. I do think some togarashi, which was brought to the table, helps balance its rich/sweet flavor, but it's good. Basically, they have a very fine broth and do a very good job with their meat. Beyond that the bowls are average. That still puts this ramen in the range of B+ status in cities like Los Angeles and San Jose, I think. I wish, though, we could get a ramen house that nails everything just once. There have been glimpses of that at Biwa and even Hakatamon (very briefly), but it doesn't seem to last.

I'll emphasize for those that have been to Yuzu how much better this broth is. It really relies on pork flavor and richness, rather than salt and MSG. It's not flat, though, like Hakatamon's broth tends to be, though it's closer to that in style, I think.
The greatest service chemistry has rendered to alimentary science, is the discovery of osmazome, or rather the determination of what it was. ~Brillat-Savarin

Nick Zukin, Mi Mero Mole & Kenny & Zuke's

#33 Flynn

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Posted 10 February 2011 - 11:00 PM

I liked the miso butter ramen better than Flynn, I think. Same great rich, not overly seasoned, broth underneath with a little miso flavor and extra sweet butteriness. I do think some togarashi, which was brought to the table, helps balance its rich/sweet flavor, but it's good. Basically, they have a very fine broth and do a very good job with their meat. Beyond that the bowls are average. That still puts this ramen in the range of B+ status in cities like Los Angeles and San Jose, I think. I wish, though, we could get a ramen house that nails everything just once. There have been glimpses of that at Biwa and even Hakatamon (very briefly), but it doesn't seem to last.

Nothing about the noodles eh? Everything you've written about Yuzu's former noodles is true here at Mirakutei.

I think it's average ramen, although that's pretty good for Portland. I like the broth fine, but everything else in the bowl is better at Biwa or Yuzu. Pollo mentioned Shigezo as having a better bowl as well. I do recall enjoying their tonkotsu broth, but I'd have to revisit to see how it measures up to Mirakutei.

Bottom line: It's good, but not playing in the same league as a legit ramen shop in any city (which is also true about every place in town serving ramen). Aside from the ramen, the octopus carpaccio was my favorite thing from my last visit.

I'll emphasize for those that have been to Yuzu how much better this broth is. It really relies on pork flavor and richness, rather than salt and MSG.

Disagree. I give Yuzu's broth more credit, and I like their kakuni ramen better as a sum of its parts.

#34 ExtraMSG

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Posted 11 February 2011 - 12:08 AM

I already discussed the noodles in the previous report (and I did say besides the meat and broth, the rest is average). I was focusing on the one difference here between the other two bowls: the broth. I do disagree that it's average ramen. Average compared to what, I'd have to ask you. Average compared to recommended bowls in San Jose and the South Bay? Average compared to recommended bowls in L.A.? Yeah, probably. Average compared to a random ramen in those places? No. You'd have a mediocre noodle and ingredients PLUS mediocre broth and meat.

But I hit recommended spots every time I'm in the South Bay or Los Angeles and they're mostly a mixed bag, too. I plan to get back to Shigezo soon. I had a lot of the same reactions to their pork bowl. I really do think Yuzu's ramen is one of the most over-rated things on this site. I think if you took a shaker of MSG and salt to Hakatamon, theirs might be more flavorful. Hell, if you added a bunch of salt and MSG to the Koji bowl, the broths might be very similar. Did anyone ever figure out if Yuzu actually makes their broth or uses a commercial base? I really suspect the latter and would like to know.

We could have different priorities. For me it goes: broth, then noodles, then meat, then other ingredients.
The greatest service chemistry has rendered to alimentary science, is the discovery of osmazome, or rather the determination of what it was. ~Brillat-Savarin

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#35 Flynn

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Posted 11 February 2011 - 12:46 AM

Yuzu's overrated! Check out what this local foodboard admin has had to say about their ramen:

"Ramen was better. The broth was very rich and tasty. Had a lot of the expected ingredients, but the pork belly wasn't at Biwa's level. Could have used more pickled ginger and some egg. Chili oil helped cut the richness a little. Noodles sucked. No better than decent packaged stuff. They could have had half the noodles and just had better quality ones. Pretty good."

"Ramen was as I described it above. Broth was very rich and tasty. Accompaniments were good, except the pork belly is just so-so. Not even in the same class as Biwa or even moreso Tanuki, nor the places I recently visited in the Bay Area. Noodles still suck. Shim Ramyun would be better. Overall an enjoyable bowl, but not worth the pork belly addition and I'd rather have it without noodles, though that'd probably get a queer stare."

"Goddam those ramen noodles are annoying. It'd be such a better bowl with good noodles."

"With ramen, I actually care about the noodles more than, say, pho or bun bo hue or boat noodles. Those SE Asian dishes are much more veggie heavy so the noodles aren't as important to me. But Chinese and Japanese soups can be very noodle focused. I mean, tonight I had the zarusoba at Biwa. If the noodles suck in that dish, you're screwed. It's just noodles dipped in tsuyu. Ramen is a little removed from that, but not by much. The noodles matter. If I ever wanted to get kicked out permanent-like, I could bring my own noodles and swap them out."

"The ramen was delicious. It's a well-balanced broth -- rich, salty, and subtly spicy. The pork belly is the same as what we had as an appetizer and just as wonderful. Personally, I think the noodles are mediocre at best, being of the packaged variety, but my friend loved them. He grew up on Top Ramen, though."

Sounds like that dude is super butthurt about the noodles (although I guess Mirakutei's equally budget noodles somehow are not as offensive), but man...he really likes the broth and that ramen! I agree with him. I sure don't care if I find out if it's a mix or what. Sounds Portandia-esque. It's tasty tonkotsu broth, although a step down in flavor depth from a true ramen shop. That's enough for me.

So yeah, Mirakutei's ramen might be better than random strip mall Japanese in LA. Yay.

#36 ExtraMSG

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Posted 11 February 2011 - 01:15 AM

Hey, I didn't say I should be excluded from that accusation. ;-)

I did qualify those statements, though, eg, on the last one:

I think Hakatamon's has more depth of flavor, it's just not as balanced. I do wonder if Yuzu's is from a pork bone broth mix or whatever, perhaps doctored up. It has a very "standard" tonkotsu flavor, mouthfeel, and appearance, plus I just don't see them spending two days making the stock, but perhaps I'm wrong. It also tastes like there's MSG in there, not a bad thing, necessarily, in my book, unless it becomes a substitute for fuller, more complex flavors, rather than just something to bring out the flavors, like salt.


The greatest service chemistry has rendered to alimentary science, is the discovery of osmazome, or rather the determination of what it was. ~Brillat-Savarin

Nick Zukin, Mi Mero Mole & Kenny & Zuke's

#37 polloelastico

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Posted 11 February 2011 - 08:11 AM

Not really feeling it on the ramen. The broth was good, and I ate the whole thing, but the pork was just ok. The noodles are so pedestrian and average that I'd rather go to Biwa, where my last bowl of ramen was simple but solid.

This is mediocre ramen. Using MSG's comparison on other cities, I would put it below my last bowl of ramen at Tanpopo in SF, and that bowl I'd consider a C+.
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#38 Flynn

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Posted 11 February 2011 - 09:52 AM

All this only serves to highlight the fact we need a real goddamn ramen shop. It's strange we don't have one yet, IMO. They're usually just holes in the wall (Kintaro, Samurai Noodle) and the price point seems right in line with what works in Portland right now. You could booze it up and be the Foster Burger of noodles.

#39 Angelhair

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Posted 11 February 2011 - 10:16 AM

I think it's average ramen, although that's pretty good for Portland. I like the broth fine, but everything else in the bowl is better at Biwa or Yuzu. Pollo mentioned Shigezo as having a better bowl as well. I do recall enjoying their tonkotsu broth, but I'd have to revisit to see how it measures up to Mirakutei.


I'm no ramen expert, but I've had the tonkotsu at Shiegezo many times now. And the better bowl IMO is at Mirakutei. The brightness that the yuzu brings to the broth seals the deal for me, plus it's multidimensional and rich. I do not want to share!

#40 Angelhair

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Posted 11 February 2011 - 10:19 AM

I agree with all y'all on the noodles.