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Decanting with DelkinBy Fred Delkin
Junki Yoshida brought a family sauce recipe with him when he emigrated from Japan to Oregon. His sauce bottling brought he and his Oregon-based family a fortune, which Junki has invested in a largely successful portfolio of widely varied enterprises, from foods, a Portland art gallery/wine bar to snowboards. We were recently invited to review a restaurant investment the Yoshidas made on the shore of the Sandy River...the Riverview, bordering a 15 acre property acquired by the Yoshidas in 1991.
This setting has been attractively fenced and landscaped as a site for weddings and other private family gatherings. The restaurant structure is formed from woods milled from clearing the site and offers large view windows facing a sweeping open deck projecting over the west bank of the Sandy and framed by towering evergreens. A vaulted ceiling covers the large interior dining space and provides excellent acoustics for the featured live piano tinkling as a background. Hangings from the Yoshida private art collection adorn the walls.
Okay, we applaud the atmosphere, but what about the fare? Chef Ryan Hampton has crafted a very creative menu that deserves kudos on both taste and presentation. Our critique was based upon sampling three appetizers and three entrees. The sliced, deep-fried Calamari strips were accompanied by an excellent spicy chili dip. Wild Mushroom Bruchetta offered sauteed Shiitake, Crimini and Chantrelles with a Boursin sauce spread on crostini slices.
The Crab Cakes were very moist and featured a mixture of Dungeness, Snow & King crab meat. The Kangaroo filet is spendy @ $30, but the sample we consumed was very tender. The Seafood Tower is a showy plating of skewered, breaded prwns and cod served with a coconut curry cream sauce draped over garlic mashed potatoes. Dijon mustard-crusted Lamb Rack Ribs were tastily, tenderly rare, but seasoning was salty. The Caesar salad would have benefitted from more anchovy-garlic dressing. There are also salads with seared Ahi, Mixed Greens and Pecan Spinach. Soup is addressed with Clam Chowder.
There are eight appetizer selections and 13 entree offerings including Chicken, Duck, Salmon, Halibut, a large Pork Chop, a Kobe Beef Burger, Chicken Angel Hair Pasta, a $40 16 oz. Porterhouse Steak and a Gorgonzola Cheese, Butternut Squash-stuffed Ravioli dish as a salute to vegans.
Thirst receives excellent attention at the Riverview. There are 14 beers on tap, including points of origin from Belgium, The Czech Republic, Oregon and Colorado. There are 11 domestic bottled beers and 16 imports from Belgium, Germany, England, Holland, Jamaica, Japan, China and Mexico. Cider also graces the bottle list.
The wine list is a comfortable size, with no less than 20 glass pours ($6-12.50), plus both domestic and imports by the bottle in Bubbles, PinotGris, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Syrah and Zinfandel. Northwest labels from Oregon & Washington are emphasized.
The Riverview includes private rooms for catered parties and the site would be ideal for spring or summer gatherings blessed with clear, warm weather.
We experienced professional dining service.
All in all, Yoshida's Riverview is a worthwhile destination. Drivers take I-84 east from Portland to exit 18 for Lewis & Clark state park and proceed some three miles up the Sandy on the Historic Columbia River highway (past the landmark Tad's Chicken & Demplings) to the Stark Street bridge, turning right to park in the Riverview lot. Internet information is at www.yoshidariverview.com
© 2009 Oregon Magazine