While filming our video on cocktails, Evan Zimmerman told us about an izakaya called Biwa that many PDX bartenders frequent. It's a pretty cool space: You walk down from the street level into a basement-vibe concrete room that's warmed up with lots of wood seating, partitions, and a bar.
The menu is divided up into cold foods, hot foods, basics like pickles, grilled stuff, and soups. I always order skewers of grilled chicken hearts when I see them, and Biwa's version was one of the best I've had. They were tender but grilled enough to get a little char and texture on them, with the right amount of salt. Washed down with some shochu and a plate of tsukemono, Japanese pickles arranged like little vegetable-ribbon roses on the plate, it was the perfect combo of food and drink.
215 SE Ninth Avenue Suite 102, Portland