Retro Game Bar
6720 NE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Portland, OR 97211
Now Portland has a variety of fun and I te resting places to drink there is no doubt. One of these most places would have to be of course Retro Game Bar where for a little time we could dive back I to our childhood and play vintage video games such as Sega or N64 with a few close friend as we sit on the couch and have something to drink. (But unlike when we were kids they serve stronger stuff than capris sun).
Yet like many places in the city, this happy bar has been struggling with the Covid restrictions still in place. Without people being able to dine in their many screens have gone dark, And their simple menus which were fine for bar dining left a bit to be wanted for takeout.
But retro game bar did not give up! Not only have they recently added new cocktails to their offerings but have also revamped their menu with all new fare. The new menu playfully called Yoshi’s kitchen offers a variety of Japanese comfort food ripped right from the pages of a school time manga. Not only that but they have refurbished and outside dining hall now. Complete with wonderfully warm heaters, a sturdy and well covered roof, and most interestingly vintage handheld video games for the customers, so anyone can still have the retro gaming experience. So they are not going down without a fight!
To start with the new cocktail menu now has a fine list of nerdy named selections. For the two we sampled we found we could go simple with a Silcock Special (a Japanese beer with a sake shot for only $4 making for a cheaper drink) or elevate to a classy cocktail with the Lavender Town (Vodka and lychee liqueur with strawberry and lavender infusion at $11 a glass making it a bit spendy.)
Both good choices and made for fun drinks to enjoy with our gaming experience.
Next of course we had to jump on the food. Starting with an Oyakodon. This tradition Japanese rice bowl is served in a hefty potion and covered in eggs and chicken with just a bit of broth at the bottom of the bowl to make every bit savory and filling. Although if we’re being honest it really wasn’t our favorite dish here. Being a little under seasoned in the end the chicken not quite as flavorful as we’d like. At $11 a bowl We give credit for a fun idea but in the end we would not order it again.
Next we decided to try the traditional Curry. A staple Japanese dish served here with either veggies, chicken or mushrooms. The curry was good and tasty, although nothing was overly special about was it, this dish was the epitome of comfort food, The spices were mild but not overpowering, the rice was filling and mingles well with the sauce. It was very pleasant and for $9 a bowl it isn’t a bad deal.
Again we were not blown away by this dish but it is something we can see ourselves coming in trying again.
Honestly though the star of the show turned out to be something rather simple. A Musubi is a small handheld snack served usually in Hawaiian cuisine but with Asian influences in its origin. Essentially it is an onigiri or rice ball wrapped in seaweed and topped with of all things spam. While to most this doesn’t sound the most appetizing, we were surprised by the flavor and freshness of this snack. The rice cooked soft and tender and just firm enough to hold together, the spam itself was crisped and a bit juicy when bit into and the sauce between the two gave a savory, mouthwatering taste. Before we realized it we had chomped down the whole thing and were wanting another. At only $3 a musubi this is the perfect bar snack. Nothing big enough enough to spoil your appetite but hardy enough to keep you going and pair well with a beer. This musubi made the trip with our while.
All in all though musubi aside the food here while creative was not the most delicious and ranks at most a 5/10. The drinks while tasty maybe a 7/10 but the ambience was a pure 10 as we had the best time playing old games and sharing food and good times.
But purely food wise we will admit that Retro Game Bar and Yoshi’s Kitchen only get five video games out of ten. 👾👾👾👾👾