Happy Hour: Samurai Blue

3 05 2012

Samurai Blue is new. Not toddler new, infant new. At just about six months old, the place hasn’t been on Mississippi Avenue any longer than I’ve had my current bottle of ketchup. But clearly, owners Tommy and James didn’t need much time to get their legs underneath them. Serving contemporary Japanese cuisine, Samurai Blue has already garnered a reputation for having some of the best sushi in Portland. The dining area at Samurai Blue is subtle and clean. It’s a comfortable space that’s as suitable for casual lunches as it is for date night. But on this particular day, Kassidy and I were there for drinks.

The drinks at Samurai Blue shouldn’t fly under anybody’s radar. They’re good. Lead bartender, Zachariah, has produced a menu of creative, Asian inspired mixed drinks that are as tasty as they are potent. House infused liquors and fresh ingredients are the focus. Zachariah was cordial, quiet, and self-effacing, but don’t let that fool you. Anybody that has a tattoo of an Osterizer blender on their forearm is probably serious about their drink-makery.

Zach started us off with a Cucumber Martini comprised of house infused cucumber vodka, cilantro, lemon, and a few drops of Tabasco. By the way, the Tabasco gave it a nice back end without making the drink spicy. It was also about this time that Tommy produced the Tuna with Goat Cheese plate. The two primary ingredients are plated with sesame oil, sun dried tomato, balsamic vinegar, basil, Fuji apples, and honey. It was as delicious as it sounds; savory, sweet, and satisfying without being filling. I would later be very happy we had it.

Next we had a Ginger Mojito made of house infused ginger-rum, mint, sugar, lime, and soda. One more time, house infused ginger-rum. Put it on your Christmas list.

We were then we were given a Black Belt. The drink features house infused blackberry vodka, house made blackberry syrup, cranberry juice, and rice milk. This drink was sweet, fresh, and a prime example of Zach’s willingness to experiment.

Then Zach brought in the closer, the Samurai Tai. This fancy number had rum, house made grenadine, orange liqueur, fresh lemon, fresh lime, and pineapple. In typical fruity drink fashion, it tasted like god’s fruit punch. It would also render your limbs useless and make you forget you had children if you drank more than two.

Thanks to Tommy, James, and Zachariah for their time, and for providing us with outstanding food and drink. I need to pitch a story idea about sushi to somebody.

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