Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Oishii Sushi Bar, Chestnut Hill

On a recent visit to the Boston area to see Ojan's family, we were looking for a easy dinner option that would please everyone in the group.  For some reason, the topic of sushi kept coming up.  I had a list of sushi places in Boston that I wanted to try, including Uni Sashimi Bar, the sister restaurant to O Ya, which was my top dining experience of 2013. But we were in the suburbs, not Boston proper, and venturing into the city was out of the question.  One place on my list was Oishii Sushi.  Their famous location is in the South End of Boston, but they also have a restaurant in Chestnut Hill, not far from Ojan's sister's house.

It turns out I had been there once before, years ago, but I didn't particularly remember much about it.  But reviews were solid.  Unfortunately, it is a small sushi bar, with a counter for about 10 people and only 1-2 tables.  There is no way our group could be accommodated there.

So we ordered takeout.  I know, I know, the horror.  I'm never a huge fan of takeout in general, and was highly skeptical of takeout sushi in particular, but we did have the precedent of great sushi takeout from Roka Akor in San Francisco once, so we went for it.  Oishii's website even had a takeout specific menu, and reviews mention a steady takeout business.  It had potential.

Ordering over the phone was easy enough, and our order was ready on time.  The staff were very friendly, and even included a bonus dessert for us as a holiday gift - two absolutely huge asian pears (incidentally, the asian pears turned out to be quite delicious and were my favorite part of the meal).  As for the rest of it?  Highly mediocre and incredibly overpriced.  I will not return.
Seaweed Salad.  $7.95.
We started with seaweed salad.  It was completely generic, and quite overpriced.  $7.95 for a regular sized side of seaweed salad?  Certainly nothing special, and would have made more sense priced a few dollars less.
Salmon Sashimi ($9.50), Tamago Nigiri ($5.85), Spicy Scallop Roll ($13), Avocado Roll ($4.88), California Roll with real crab upgrade($9.95), Shrimp Tempura Roll ($8.50), Negihama Roll($5.85). 
I was excited for the sushi.  It had been ages since I had good sushi.  Given the prices, and the good reviews, I expected it to be decent.  I was incredibly disappointed by the sushi.

I didn't try the salmon sashimi since it was ordered for one specific person, but 3 slices for $9.50 was a bit pricey for that area.  It looked fine, but I can't really imagine having sashimi not fresh.

The tamago nigiri was my request, since I use it for "dessert" whenever I visit a sushi restaurant.  It was actually pretty good.  The rice was firm, the tamago had a mild sweetness to it.  No one else wanted to even try it, so I got the pair.  Price of $5.85 was fine and I was quite happy with this.

My other request was the Oishii special Spicy Scallop Roll: "scallop, black tobiko, cucumber, kaiwali & spicy mayo".  Only 4 pieces, but all quite large, although I'm not sure it justified the $13 price tag.  The scallop inside was huge, full scallops, but they were not flavorful and quite slimy (although I guess that is expected with raw scallops?).  I was hoping to taste some of the sweetness of a fresh scallop.  I didn't care for the roe on top either, and this really didn't come together at all for me.

Since I'm allergic to avocado, I skipped the avocado roll.  I did try a piece of the California roll and just poked the avocado out of it (my allergy isn't that severe).  It was nothing special.  We paid the upgrade for real crab as opposed to crab stick, but I honestly couldn't tell it was real crab, it wasn't a shredded style that I somewhat expected, and honestly seemed like it could be compressed crab stick.  $9.95 for this small roll was overpriced.

I also didn't try the shrimp tempura roll, since the idea of soggy tempura did not appeal.  I tried a piece of the negihama, but I don't remember it at all.

Even the ginger was a disappointment; Ojan commented that it was dried out and not very good.  Besides the tamago, I didn't like any of this, it was all highly mediocre and way, way overpriced.

[ No Photo ]
Beef Teriyaki Entree. $26.

I didn't take a photo of the beef teriyaki, since I had no intention of trying it when there was delicious sushi to be consumed instead.  It was ordered for those who don't like raw fish.  But, after being disappointed by all the sushi, I decided to give it a chance.

The meat was incredibly fatty. It was a large entree portion, easily splittable by two people.  There were also a bunch of mediocre veggies, all overcooked.  It was served with generic rice, simple miso soup, and a very sad looking side salad.

No one really seemed to like it, as it was left unfinished, even when people said they wanted more food.  $26 was insanely overpriced.
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