Monday, April 30, 2018

Sushi from Okane

This is a review that I know isn't particularly representative of the establishment.  But ... it is what I had, so, it is what you get.

Okane is the casual Japanese sister restaurant next to Michelin starred Omakase.  It features more low key dining style, lots of small share plates at dinner, bento boxes and rice bowls at lunch.  Plus all the high end nigiri and rolls sourced from the same markets as Omakase.

And yet, I haven't actually been there to eat.  Hence, my "not representative" statement.

Still, I've had food from there twice - once I ordered delivery (no sushi) and once I stopped by for takeout sushi (which I consumed immediately).  Obviously not the same as eating at a sushi counter.  So take my reviews with that in mind.

My impression though?  Eh, its fine.  But pricey.  Not special.


Okane is located on Townsend Street, across from Adobe, next to Omakase.
Sushi Counter.
It does have a working sushi counter with some high seats for the lucky few who get to eat right there.
The rest of the relatively small restaurant is casual tables for mostly 4, wooden, nicely decorated.  The place feels comfortable, modern, clean, mid-range.  Certainly a great neighborhood place.

Order #1: Delivery, April 2018

My first experiment with Okane was via Caviar delivery.  It is a long story, but, I just needed a couple small side items to supplement another meal.  What I got was fine, but, obviously not anything they highlight.  On the plus side, delivery (via Caviar) was fast and easy?
Stewed Hijiki. $7.35.
"Carrot, shitake, and lotus root." 

I ordered this expecting a chilled seaweed salad.  Instead ... I think it was served warm.  The container was filled with steam and water droplets, and the lotus chips were soggy, both indicating a warm serving temp originally (although not by the time it reached me).

It was ... fine.  Fairly standard hijiki, a few chunks of kinda mushy carrot, a few slices of shitake.  I expected more flavor, more marinade, more something.  It was quite plain, and I added my own ponzu to give it flavor.

On top were mushy lotus chips, that I believe were intended to be crispy.

So, overall, fine.  More interesting than the standard seaweed salad you get at most sushi restaurants, but, not actually anything special, and the small portion seemed over priced at $7.35.
Fried Lotus Root Chips / Wasabi Mayo. $7.35.
Ok, these I got because I just love fried root vegetables.  Or really, any fried veggie chips besides basic potatoes.  Taro, yucca, plantains ... bring it on.  I couldn't resist ordering the side of lotus root chips too.

I think they may also have been served warm, perhaps freshly fried?  I only say this because they weren't particularly crisp. They were nicely seasoned though, with salt and some green herbs I didn't quite identify.

The wasabi mayo had kick to it from the wasabi, for sure.  And I love dipping fried things in mayo/aioli/etc.  But it actually was a bit too mayo forward to really feel like an appropriate dip for me.  I liked the idea of it inside of rolls, slathered on as a spread for a something, etc, but as a dip, it was just a bit to much like dunking into just mayo.

The lotus chips were tasty enough without the dip, and I gladly used it for other purposes the next day.

So overall, again, fine, but pricey at $7.35 as well.

Order #2: Takeout, April 2018

After my original delivery order of a couple sides from Okane, I decided to actually really test them on high end stuff, this time with takeout, because I just needed a small snack.  Except, I didn't just get a simple cucumber roll, nope, I went all in: crab and uni.  This girl knows what she likes.
Takeout Accompaniments.
My order came with basic wooden chop sticks, and packets of soy sauce, wasabi, and pickled ginger.  I assume they use higher quality for dine in, but these did the job, and I was glad they were included.
Sushi Snack. $20.51.
1 nigiri.  1 hand roll.  >$20.

This was not a cheap snack.

Prices via Caviar, even for pickup rather than delivery, are 5% more than in the restaurant, not entirely sure why, as Caviar still charges additional tax and service fees on top of that, but every item is listed on Caviar with an upcharge already applied.  The restaurant can do this though, Caviar has no rules that they need to charge the same prices for the convenience, I just haven't seen it done before.
Uni Nigiri. $12.60.
Of course I got the uni.  And I consumed it immediately.  I knew better than to let this get old!

The portion was standard nigiri serving of 2 pieces.

It was ... fine.  Which is a sad way to describe uni.  The pieces were each generously filled, and the structures of rice and seaweed held integrity.  But it didn't really scream out "fresh amazing uni!".  It was just ... fine.

I did appreciate the little bit of daikon on the side, which filled the remaining space in my box.  Presentation matters!

The $12.60 price is fine for high end uni.
California Hand Roll. $6.30.
"Snow Crab and Avocado."

I also wanted my second favorite seafood, crab, but nigiri or sashimi didn't really make sense.  So I went for the California hand roll, just, no avocado because I'm allergic.

I was a bit sad when I saw its small size, but it turns out, this thing was *loaded* with crab.  Certainly the best value item I had from Okane.  There was a little rice (more here on top than throughout the rest actually, I honestly think it was 90% crab!), good texture and seasoning on the rice.

The crab was fresh snow crab.  Lump meat.  No shells detected.  Not fishy.  Very fresh.  Very good.  They also added tobiko for some pop.

I added the rest of my wasabi mayo from the lotus chips, which was great (creamy and zing!), but it wasn't necessary since the crab was such nice quality.

Overall a great item, and wonderful price for the ridiculous amount of crab I got.  Not sure how much they include in a normal roll with avocado, but, they clearly loaded me up.
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