Review: SaWa Sushi & Sake in Forest Grove, Oregon

Calling all sushi lovers! A new restaurant in downtown Forest Grove, Oregon, has taken the local scene by storm! SaWa Sushi & Sake shines with artistically crafted dishes and traditional Japanese settings.

Location: SaWa Sushi & Sake is located at 2036 Main Street, Suite B, Forest Grove, Oregon.

Menu: SaWa features a traditional teishoku menu: a fixed menu with house salad, red mezo soup, entree, steamed rice, and fresh seasonal vegetables. Their specialty is sushi and what creative sushi roll they are With choices of squid, octopus, eel, tuna, salmon, snapper or sea urchin, all dishes are made from scratch with fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Their menu does offer other choices such as tempura, noodle dishes, teriyaki dishes, and vegetarian dishes.

Thoughts: We had the traditional teishoku menu. The house salad began our meal – with a delightful piece of citrus topping the bowl. The red meso soup has a very sharp and salty flavor. It gives a jumpstart to the main course! My companion and I shared two entrees – both 8-piece specialty sushi rolls. The sushi dishes are beautifully plated with the freshest of ingredients.

One of our choices was salmon and avocado, the second was tuna with cucumbers. Both were served with dipping sauces. The salmon was our favorite.

Upon entering the premise, one is immediately attracted to the open kitchen which showcases the chefs at work. The decor is simple and peaceful with the emphasis on the food, flavors, and service. Next visit, I would like to sit at the counter of the open kitchen, sip a glass of wine, and enjoy watching the chefs prepare the dishes, while perusing the extensive menu.

Setting the stage for traditional Japanese dining, SaWa Sushi and Sake is a traditional izakaya style restaurant. This style refers to an informal, casual place where friends and co-workers often eat together. As such, they are considered extensions of a person’s home. Think of an Irish Pub or Spanish Tapa Bar, this is the equivalent Japanese Style. There are several seating arrangements ranging from the counter at the kitchen, small tables, and individual rooms set up for privacy. Our group of 13 had our own private dining room. It was like we were the only guests in the restaurant.

Reservations are suggested as the restaurant fills very quickly. SaWa Sushi is already a hit amongst the locals. A sister restaurant, Syun Izakaya, is celebrating its 21st year in Hillsboro, Oregon.

Prices: 8-piece specialty rolls range from $10-15. Fixed menu (terishoku) – $15-22. Assorted sushi plates – 9-14 pieces- are $23-38.

Jo-Anne Bowen

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