When I was five, my mother took me out for ice cream, but I wanted the cream of broccoli cheddar soup instead. Not much has changed; a big, savory bowl of soup remains one of my favorite and most frequent meals. Of course, Japanese ramen is right up there as one of the best. So, on a rainy, blustery Portland, Oregon winter afternoon, a trip to Afuri Ramen and Dumpling, was a welcome respite.
Afuri Ramen and Dumpling in Beaverton, Oregon
My visit to their Beaverton, Oregon location coincided with the unveiling of their new menu. Afuri Beaverton has changed the focus from an izakaya, or a Japanese pub, to a ramen and dumpling house. The new menu emphasizes their ramen dishes, but do order from the Small Plates and Dumplings side of the menu. They’re also serving some hearty donburi plates.
Take a Seat at the Bar
I’m happy to say that with their cocktail experience, they didn’t back away from a solid bar program. You’ll find a menu that offers a wide variety of cocktails and non-alcoholic beverages.
The bar itself is inviting, great for having a cocktail before heading to your table. (And yes, there’s a good assortment of sake and Japanese whiskey.)
Small Plates Aplenty
The softshell crab bun is not to be missed. While those fabulous fluffy light rice flour buns are crazy-popular here in Portland (some still better than others,) finding softshell crab on the West Coast is not easy. While they’re not native to the U.S., they’re often found fresh in Florida and Texas. (I enjoyed quite a few on a trip to the Florida Everglades.) Afuri’s soft shell crab is served lightly fried, and tucked into the bun with spicy mayo, cucumber and some kimchi.
The ikageso karaage, fried squid, is served with a sweet soy sauce glaze, and shishito peppers, chili sesame, delicate chili threads, and lemon. A must if you like calamari. Small squids, fresh, fresh, fabulous crunch.
Crispy egg? Yes, of course I enjoyed egg in my ramen, but who can get enough? The crispy egg is breaded, fried and topped with sweet chili mayo, crisp frisée, and shio dressing.
Dumplings Are a Must
Afuri has a good selection of dumplings. I could eat so very many of their steamed spicy ebi wonton. Made with pork, shrimp, scallion, sesame, garlic, chili threads, and a spicy sauce, the ingredients may be common to steamed dumplings, but the wonton and the flavors of Afuri’s were a cut above, and the sauce, delicate.
But Ah, the Ramen
Ah, the ramen. Friends had the yuzu shoyu and the tonkotsu tantan. The Yuzu broth is their specialty. The citrus flavors create a unique lighter broth that works with all the savory ingredients. If you like bolder flavor, the Tonkotsu is the way to go.
My kara tsuyu was a shoyu tsuyu, with braised pork, bamboo shoots, frisée, egg, chili, , sesame, green onion, kizami nori, chili powder, and thick noodles. The spicy broth is served on the side, and can be used for dipping or just adding to the bowl. The spicy dry chili powder added a distinct and nuanced flavor.
Afuri CEO Taichi Ishizuki was on hand for the restaurant new menu debut. It’s worthy to note that all their noodles, dumplings and many of their other menu ingredients are handmade in their commissary kitchen at their Slabtown Portland location. You can taste the difference.
Portland, Oregon truly does have incredible food, and Japanese food aplenty. Afuri Ramen and Dumpling is a spot I highly recommend. Leaving the restaurant, the rain had stopped, but it was still gloomy. Just like when I was a five, a good bowl of soup is the way to go.
- Afuri Ramen and Dumpling, and on Instagram, @afuriramen_pdx https://www.instagram.com/afuriramen_pdx/
- Want to make ramen at home: Easy Homemade Ramen
- On our site: In the Middle of It All: San Francisco’s Japantown
- On our site: A Visit to the Famous Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo