Portuguese Cuisine At Queee Sushi Station

Portuguese classics from a sushi restaurant

Starting a meal with raw fish is a culinary tradition that crosses many borders: from crudo in Italy and fish tartare in France to ceviche in Central and South America.

However, a lunch that drifts from classically prepared nigiri to the Portuguese fish stew caldeirada is new to us. But in chef Paulo Soares' kitchen at Queee Sushi Station in Chinatown, jumping from the Iberian Peninsula to the land of the rising sun is just another day on the job.

Soares was born in Portugal, then moved to the U.S. as a teenager. He's lived in L.A. for the past 10 years, where he's cooked in a number of local sushi restaurants, including Nobu.

When Queee opened last March, Soares took it upon himself to remedy our dearth of Portuguese food, including a short menu of classics alongside the sushi.

Caldeirada (pictured; $11), Portugal's version of the tomatoey fish stew found throughout the Mediterranean, manages to link up well with the sushi menu, thanks to its tide pool's worth of shellfish, and chunks of salt cod. The only mark of cross-cultural fusion is the accompanying rice topped with a scattering of nori, another welcome layer of sea flavor in this mollusk-sweet, briny dish.

Queee Sushi Station & Portuguese Food, 643 N. Spring St., Chinatown; 213-221-7870 or queeesushi.com