Highly Anticipated Japanese-Inspired Restaurant Opening in Portland’s Old Port
Bar Futo, a Japanese-inspired restaurant using binchotan-fired cooking opens Friday, December 16.
There are a couple of things you should know. The team behind Bar Futo is Chef-Owner Jordan Rubin and Co-Owner Marisa Lewiecki–the nationally acclaimed team behind Portland's, beloved Mr. Tuna, and Crispy Gai. Bar Futo is located at 425 Fore Street in Portland (where Five Guys was located)
But what is 'binchotan-fired' cooking?
Binchotan is Japan's answer to charcoal. It lasts incredibly long. You are looking at a fire that will last for up to five hours. It burns at extremely high temperatures, ensuring quick sears for meat and fish.
Seasonal ingredients guide Bar Futo’s menu of yakitori-style skewers, large cuts of meat and whole fish grilled over Japanese charcoal (binchotan), and kakigori (Japanese shaved ice). Bar Futo’s bar has a full sake list curated by Alyssa Mikiko DiPasquale (The Koji Club) and inventive and classic cocktails.
Get excited people. At the heart of Bar Futo’s menu is binchotan, a Japanese charcoal. Chef-Owner Jordan Rubin and Head Chef Ian Driscoll love this kind of cooking for its odorless, smokeless quality. Foods cooked over binchotan taste like the best version of themselves. That is exciting since they take a lot of time locally sourcing seafood, meats, and produce from New England.
Yakitori-style skewers range from Shrimp Kushikatsu with sweet lime kewpie and Duck Breast with prune sauce to the one they call Big Mac with iceberg lettuce, sesame, and special sauce. There are short ribs, grilled fish, crispy tofu, and desserts including bananas foster, a classic with a modern twist.
Great food is even greater when you can have an adult beverage that compliments the flavors. The drinks are inspired by the classics, but with the modern flare, this team is famous for. They have a sake list and 4 categories of drinks: High (tall and refreshing, like the Whiskey Highball with lemon oil), Low (colorful and on the rocks, like the Melon Baller with absinthe, DIY “Midori,” compressed melon, lime, and mint), Up (neat and complex, like the Genmai Martini with Japanese gin, vermouth, junmai sake, and puffed rice), and Down (strong and moody, like the Kiromitsu Old Fashioned with whiskeys, blackstrap, Hokuto, and bitters). Don't worry Dry January participants - there are plenty of alcohol-free drinks too.
Because they are new to Portland, they have committed to giving back immediately. A portion of the kakigori (Japanese shaved ice) will be donated to local mutual aid funds.
Bar Futo has meals that tell a story with a deep respect for Japanese tradition. They also are progressive for a restaurant with their staff and the community. They put people first with employee benefits that include paid time off and sick leave, health/dental/vision insurance, quality-of-life scheduling that values work-life balance, and educational opportunities. A rarity in the restaurant industry. Welcome, Bar Futo, what a great addition to Portland's robust food scene.