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#1 ricechaz

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Posted 24 May 2011 - 09:16 AM

"Fin chef Trent Pierce announces plans for his next Portland restaurant, Wafuu"


http://www.oregonliv..._restauran.html


Very exciting news. Can't wait.
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#2 nomnom

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Posted 25 May 2011 - 03:37 PM

Awesome! I'm glad he is back with something new so quickly, I super loved Fin.

BUT - and this should not be taken the wrong way as I predict I will certainly become a regular at Wafuu - I am a little disappointed with the Japanese angle as I was excited for a general seafood restaurant. I explained when I posted on the Fin thread:

"I have long been disappointed with the seafood options in Portland. I have had to get my fill of quality, unique seafood either at sushi restaurants (Hiroshi is A#1) or our other A#1 standby, Tanuki (amazing hamachi and uni among an array of insanely delicious seafood and meat dishes). But sometimes I just want fish that is not solely of the Asian flavors variety. In town it seems even quality restaurants that serve seafood tend to be limited to the Portland/PNW(?) trinity of salmon, halibut, shellfish (mussels, clams)."

#3 ExtraMSG

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Posted 25 May 2011 - 03:48 PM

That was my feeling as well. When I read the headline or the lede, I thought, Yes! Exactly what I wanted. Then I read on. I was hoping for a smaller place more focused on quality fish with lots of raw and interesting preparations. But instead we're getting noodles and chicken wings. If it's good, it's good. But we've had a huge jump in chicken wings and noodles in the last couple years. It's not exactly filling a gap.

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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#4 Flynn

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Posted 25 May 2011 - 03:53 PM

Could be the tipping point for Mirakutei. They don't seem to do any one thing awesome enough to build a solid customer base, judging by the empty seats.

That was my feeling as well. When I read the headline or the lede, I thought, Yes! Exactly what I wanted. Then I read on. I was hoping for a smaller place more focused on quality fish with lots of raw and interesting preparations. But instead we're getting noodles and chicken wings. If it's good, it's good. But we've had a huge jump in chicken wings and noodles in the last couple years. It's not exactly filling a gap.



#5 ExtraMSG

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Posted 25 May 2011 - 04:29 PM

I don't think we really know whether Portlanders would support a ramen shop or not, no matter how good. I have a feeling it'd have to be more like the inventive/creative/fusiony new breed. I just don't think ramen fits with a bar/tavern approach, otherwise they could maybe go with that and be a draw for the 20-something masses. Izakaya works. Ramenya doesn't. That's my take away so far. There are plenty of sufficiently good bowls in town right now that still don't sell enough to support a place. People would still rather have mediocre sushi rolls than good ramen.

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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#6 Flynn

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Posted 25 May 2011 - 04:37 PM

I think you were right in your first sentence. We don't know yet. I suppose Boke Bowl would be the fusiony new breed if they open a shop. I dunno about your assertion that the good bowls in town don't sell enough. Biwa and Yuzu sell a lot of ramen from what I see going out. My feeling is that a shop on the scale of something like Samurai Noodle would do very well in many parts of the city. Rain + lunch and all.

#7 polloelastico

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Posted 25 May 2011 - 06:21 PM

Considering we've never had a true ramen-ya I'll wait until we have one and it fails before blaming the horrible people of Portland.

Back to Wafuu, another ramen option can't be a bad thing, especially when you'll almost certainly be able to preface the bowl with what will be some finely prepared raw seafood small plates.
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#8 jennifer

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Posted 25 May 2011 - 07:56 PM

...especially when you'll almost certainly be able to preface the bowl with what will be some finely prepared raw seafood small plates.


This is exactly what I saw a lot of people doing at Biwa. Yet I admit that I was secretly hoping for something more along the lines of the food he was making at FIN.

#9 ducky

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Posted 27 June 2011 - 07:46 AM

bumping up for someone to add to the thread Amanda started.
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#10 Amanda

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Posted 27 June 2011 - 08:07 AM

I'll just add it to this thread here & now, edit the topic title, and delete the one I started. I didn't realize a thread had been started yet. Thanks, Ducky.

Heads up! Chefstable is opening a new Japanese-style restaurant called (I think I have this right) WAFU on SE 31st & Division at the end of July/beginning of August and TRENT PIERCE of former FIN fame will be at the helm in the kitchen. This time I'm going to get a taste of what this guy can do since he was so raved about previously and I never got to FIN before its finish.

Anyway, I'm keeping an eye on this one with much eagerness and hope to try it out soon after it opens.

Best regards,

Amanda

#11 jennifer

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Posted 12 July 2011 - 04:14 AM

Wafu is taking reservations for preview dinners for the month of August. Dates still tba. From their sign-up sheet:

Chef Trent Pierce's unique tasting menus will feature dishes in the Japanese style. Examples of some dishes that may be on offer are Gokujan Black Butter Pork Belly with snap pea, mint & scallion ranch, and butter lettuce; Robata Quail with quail egg, pancetta, sweet miso plum, cucumber pickle, taré, and rice; and Dan Dan Noodles with Sichuan lamb sausage, pistachio, bottarga, and mint. Pierce will also provide cocktail pairings, and the bar will be open. The cost is $60 per person, which includes gratuity.


Link to sign up: https://spreadsheets...mJhckE6MQ#gid=0

#12 jennifer

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Posted 12 July 2011 - 04:17 AM

Changed thread title to "WAFU" from "WAFUU".

#13 ExtraMSG

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Posted 26 August 2011 - 10:02 AM

Went last night. No camera, no pics.

They've done well with the space. It's narrow and long with a bar in the back. It has a semi-casual dining area with several regular tables and one long, tall communal table in the center. The tall communal table makes it feel a little more on the bar side than the restaurant side to me. We sat at the communal table and it was comfortable and easy to share plates. There are Japanese movie posters along the wall behind the bar that lead to an open kitchen and a back room where samurai films were playing. I'd say it has a similar feel to Biwa or Ping.

MENU:
Spoiler


We started with the edamame, which unlike typical edamame that are just salted, comes in a delicious, lightly spicy and highly seasoned sauce that you can strip from the shells as you pull the beans out with your mouth.

We also got the tempura shrimp, which are little chunks of fresh tasting shrimp coated in tempura batter and two different sauces, a wasabi mayo and a red chili sauce. The shrimp were cooked very nicely, tender, juicy and sweet, and the sauces were flavorful but not overpowering.

We also started with the ceviche. I was glad to see the mahi mahi, which often can suffer in the trip from Hawaii, was really clean and fresh tasting, a perfect firmness for ceviche. The mixture of spicy and tangy flavors was delicious, balanced with some sweetness of the tomato and corn. One of the better raw fish preps I've had in town, which isn't surprising since Fin's raw fish preps, such as their rotating ceviches and carpaccio, which is probably similar to the one on Wafu's menu, were always standouts.

Had to try the ramen even if it wasn't really weather for it. I don't think the noodles are made in-house, but I didn't ask. They seemed a decent quality, though, and were cooked properly. The broth has a deep, earthy flavor from the smoked schmaltz (chicken fat). I think it's a chicken broth with no pork, but it still has that pork bone quality because of the smokiness. It doesn't taste like any ramen broth I've had but still feels like ramen. We added everything. The pork belly was crusted nicely and tender enough to cut with chopsticks. The egg was a little snotty, which works for mixing into the broth. The smoked chicken thigh was also tender enough to share with chopsticks and had a great flavor that matched the broth. Definitely an enjoyable bowl of soup.

Among larger plates, we got the lamb tongue, KFC, and snapper. The lamb tongue was wonderful -- extremely luscious and tender, enriched with truffle oil and balanced by a little ponzu and grated daikon.

The KFC comes as a whole small chicken with crisp skin lightly coated with their red dragon sauce. It's cut into quarters. The first one we got was undercooked in the rib areas. Most of the chicken was perfectly fine. We ate it anyway, but they sent out a second one with hearty apologies. It was perfectly cooked. I won't give it a second thought considering it was the first day and expect all of them going forward will be fine. The skin was crisp, as I said, coated with the red dragon sauce. To me, the sauce doesn't taste exactly like a gojuchang, but more like a cross between a gojuchang and sriracha. Works, though -- a little spicy and a little tangy.

The snapper is really a bibimbap without gojuchang. Instead they use a "tate" (pronounced "tot-tay"). I couldn't find anything googling, but I could be spelling it wrong. It was brothy with a deep umami flavor. I think in many ways I like it better than gojuchang, especially with snapper as the protein for the bibimbap. The rice got nice and crunchy in the bottom of the bowl, the snapper was left on the edge, semi-raw, allowing it to not overcook once mixed in. Everyone enjoyed this.

Very impressive out of the gate. What I had was at the same level as places like Tanuki, Biwa, Yuzu, and Ping, a step above, say, a Miho, in my estimation, and a couple steps above places like Shigezo (for the most part, since Shigezo's ramen was always several levels better than the rest of the menu). Look forward to more meals in the future, though given the size, it could stay full a lot of nights. Last night we got there before 7pm and it hadn't filled up yet. It was full when we left. I imagine the preview dinners actually have given some room for people to try the place in these first few days they're open. After labor day, though, or after they get a review, it could be mayhem. So go soon, I'd say. Lots of other places to wait in line nearby if you can't get in.

As to flavors, I think it falls somewhere between Biwa and Tanuki -- less traditional than Biwa with a bolder palate, but not as spicy, salty, tangy as what you would get from Tanuki. I wish these izakayas would spread the love a little and not sit on top of each other, but at least Tanuki will be in far NE. But Mirakutei, Boke Bowl, Biwa, and Wafu are all within a short bike ride of each other. What's wrong with Alberta, Fremont, Williams, or the Pearl?

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

Co-Author, Artisan Jewish Deli at Home

Formerly, Kenny & Zuke's


#14 averilpdx

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Posted 26 August 2011 - 10:09 AM

Thanks for the review! I loved Fin and am looking forward to trying Wafu. I agree about spreading the love! I would commit several questionable acts to get a restaurant of this caliber on Fremont.

#15 Flynn

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Posted 26 August 2011 - 10:13 AM

Excellent write-up. Look forward to trying it out soon (and hope they truly do stay open until 12am, at least on weekend nights).

#16 Quo Vadis

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Posted 26 August 2011 - 10:17 AM

I wish these izakayas would spread the love a little and not sit on top of each other, but at least Tanuki will be in far NE.


SouthEast, not NE, sorry.
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#17 Rubik

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Posted 26 August 2011 - 10:23 AM

Great review. Looking forward to trying Wafu tonight.

Instead they use a "tate" (pronounced "tot-tay"). I couldn't find anything googling, but I could be spelling it wrong.


I'm guessing this is "taré", where the r has more of a d sound:
http://www.forvo.com/word/tare/

See also:
http://en.wikipedia....wiki/Tare_sauce
http://www.rexroof.c...yakitori-sauce/

#18 eyepatchy

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Posted 26 August 2011 - 12:28 PM

Is fried chicken a common ramen topping? I have never heard of it before Boke Bowl, and now Wafu.

#19 Napzard

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Posted 26 August 2011 - 01:01 PM

Ramen. Egg is almost like the same consistency as when he was at fin and doing the 60 minute yolk.
Posted Image
Ceviche
Posted Image
Wasabi Shrimp, Spicy Shrimp, and Edamame
Posted Image

Really liked everything except for his Ramen. I think it's trying to be complex when it should be kept simple.

#20 JandJ

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Posted 26 August 2011 - 01:01 PM

Very impressive out of the gate. What I had was at the same level as places like Tanuki, Biwa, Yuzu, and Ping, a step above, say, a Miho, in my estimation, and a couple steps above places like Shigezo (for the most part, since Shigezo's ramen was always several levels better than the rest of the menu). Look forward to more meals in the future, though given the size, it could stay full a lot of nights. Last night we got there before 7pm and it hadn't filled up yet. It was full when we left. I imagine the preview dinners actually have given some room for people to try the place in these first few days they're open. After labor day, though, or after they get a review, it could be mayhem. So go soon, I'd say. Lots of other places to wait in line nearby if you can't get in.


Went to one of the soft opening dinners and have to agree with pretty well everything you said. We had pretty high expectations after been to Fin a number of times and they were met or exceeded. We had a number of the same dishes you had as well (Edamame, tempura shrimp, ceviche, ramen) and a few others -- everything worked. They're also doing some really interesting things at the bar. Not normally a big fan of mixed drinks, but very much enjoyed some fairly unique drinks that they were testing out. Have to agree -- better give a try soon. I suspect they'll be mobbed before long.