Hinoki opens at 4529 SE Division Street in the space between Tasty n Daughters and Stumptown Coffee Roasters in Spring 2020. Hinoki is an intimate, deeply local 12-seat sushi bar serving an omakase-style service from chef Sam Saltos four days per week. Tickets will be available in advance for seatings at 6PM and 8PM featuring 15-20 courses highlighting sushi made with local ingredients.
Saltos is an Oregon native and Culinary Institute of America-trained chef who has dedicated his culinary career to redefining traditional-style sushi for the Pacific Northwest. Hinoki fuses chef Saltos’s previous experience at kitchens ranging from Noma in Copenhagen—considered by many to be the world’s best restaurant—to New York’s Morimoto and the Michelin-starred Acadia in Chicago.
At Hinoki, Saltos plans to further elevate his vision by sourcing his ingredients directly whenever possible: Hand-diving for shellfish, learning to spearfish, and working with small coastal purveyors. Saltos says, “Sushi bars in America typically get the same fish flown in from Japan. I want to focus on fine sushi with local fish. Being at the mercy of Pacific Northwest weather and the tides, it can be hard to get local fish on a consistent basis—the Oregon coast is only sixty miles away, but we might as well be on the moon. We will still get fish from Japan, but we hope that highlighting local products might encourage more fine sushi bars in Portland to do the same and make local products more accessible from purveyors for all of us.
Hinoki features one sushi counter with 12 seats. Saltos says, “It will be very Japanese-style and minimal. We’re building the sushi counter and other elements of the restaurant out of Port Orford cedar, which is a false cypress very similar to hinoki. What ties it all together is that it is grown in Oregon.”
Returning to his hometown of Portland in 2012, Saltos served as lead sushi chef at Departure under Top Chef’s Gregory Gourdet before becoming co-owner of Zilla Sake, a traditional-style sushi bar in Northeast Portland, where he created superior-quality nigiri and sashimi sourced directly from small local purveyors as well as Tokyo’s Tsukiji Market. To guide patrons through Zilla’s menu of more than 80 premium sakes—at that point, Portland’s largest sake program—Saltos drew on coursework completed from world-renowned sake expert John Gauntner. Hinoki’s beverage menu features Saltos’s favorite sakes and wine curated by Toro Bravo Inc Beverage Director Mindy Cook.
“This is my second try at owning a restaurant but this time I get to do exactly what I want and not have to compromise or hold back, “ Saltos says. “I questioned whether I wanted to work in a restaurant again after Zilla, but when this opportunity to work with John Gorham on my own terms presented itself I decided to really give it a try.” Hinoki is the tenth project backed by Gorham’s Toro Bravo Inc Restaurant Management and Design Group.
Two Hinoki omakase preview dinners for 12 guests each will be held at the Toro Bravo Inc Restaurant Group’s gastronomic society and event space PLAZA DEL TORO (105 SE Taylor) prior to launch. The first on Friday, December 27th, 2019 will seat 12 guests for one omakase service accompanied by music from DJ Brown Chicken Brown Cow (aka Toro Bravo Inc chef John Gorham). A second service on January 12, 2020 features another 12-guest omakase service and artist Sora ShoDo designing Hinoki’s logo live in front of the guests using shodo, a form of Japanese performance calligraphy. This is the final event at PLAZA DEL TORO’s SE location before reopening in Portland’s downtown Pearl District with a Filipa Pato Winemaker’s Dinner February 5, 2020, First Thursday Open House celebration on February 6, 2020, and Valentine’s Day Dinner on February 14, 2020.