I would give Shizuku 2.5 stars if TripAdvisor allowed it.
My wife and I were in Portland to celebrate our anniversary and, wanting to try some new places amongst our favorites, we thought we would try Shizuku. I really wanted to like this place: the inside is tastefully done in a very Japanese style, I want to see a Japanese woman chef succeed in a male-dominated industry, I want to give business to a one-off/local restaurant, etc. But the experience we had there left much to be desired and the let-downs were team-wide.
Upon entering, it took a good 3-4 minutes for the hostess (or anyone else) to realize we were there and show us to our table. Only as we ordered were we informed that one of our desired entrees (the Dungeness crabcakes) was unavailable.
It took quite a long time (20+ minutes) for our first dish (the Chef Naoko-style shumai dumplings) to appear. Besides being atypically large for "shumai" and covered in oats (!), they were lukewarm on the surface and actually cold in the center. The server was apologetic and returned with ones that were well-steamed, but the trajectory of the meal seemed set.
Our first entree -- the Alaskan salmon with Oregon mushrooms and sweet miso sauce -- also left much to be desired. The salmon was warm, but only just; selectively slathered in the sweet miso sauce (while other parts had none); and buried under what seemed like an avalanche of mushrooms. We can understand wanting to showcase mushrooms here in Oregon, but the "star" of this dish always needed to be the salmon; we could not understand why it was made incognito.
After the dumplings were replaced our server seemed a bit MIA...and we could not help but think it was due to a certain embarrassment. The better/more courageous, albeit more difficult, response would have been to double-down on attention and effort in the hopes of "righting the ship"...but that is not what happened.
In fairness, two of our dishes were good -- our second appetizer (Japanese yam tempura) and second entree (panko-fried wild prawns). I would also characterize our server as quite kind and hard-working; during most of our meal she was busily working quite a number of tables.
That said, overall the meal felt like a bust and we are unlikely to return. I wish Shizuku well, but it will take a far better team effort to succeed in Portland's fairly deep eating scene.
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