Happy 2023! Plenty of new restaurants are opening in Portland, including Bar Futo, the latest from the owners of Mr. Tuna and Crispy Gai, with chef Ian Driscoll (Central Provisions, Duckfat, Hugo's) at the helm. Bar Futo features a Japanese-inspired menu with many items grilled over binchotan (charcoal).
While there's an extensive selection of sake, we started with some signature cocktails—my husband had the delicious Calpikachu, a rum and chartreuse concoction ($13) with a foam made from a Japanese strawberry soda, while I loved the Sakura sour ($13), a mix of pisco and cherry blossom with an egg white topper.
The menu is divided into two sections of small plates and skewers, with about 20 items total. We were a group of 5, so we were able to sample a large selection of dishes. First to arrive was the fluke crudo ($16), a sesame-forward mix of raw fish and cucumber cubes.
The other entrees were a 20 oz. ribeye (a special at $80) and a grilled whole branzino (market price). But we were ready for dessert! The first was a brownie with miso caramel, whipped cream, and hazelnuts and then two options for Japanese shaved ice called kakigori—bananas foster and apple pie.