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Jul 21, 2002 01:32 AM


  • j

Since a thread in August 2001 (I'm a frequent lurker and infrequent poster), I've been meaning to try Oishii. While I've frequently contemplated the car-less trek from Porter Square to Chestnut Hill, I finally bit the bullet today. Oishii's accolades are well deserved.

Dining alone, I ordered three rolls (before tip, $29). My favorite came off of the "Customer's Specials" board -- it was called Amy's special. Basically, it was an eel and cucumber maki roll surrounded by slices of hamachi (like a rainbow roll), and then drizzled with ponzu sauce. The hamachi was wonderful -- almost buttery in texture -- and perfectly complemented a well executed eel maki. The ponzu sauce added an interesting undertone to the roll. This item was the big winner.

The second roll, the White Tiger Maki, was a tuna roll surrounded by white seaweed and sauce. I was drawn to it by the white seaweed which I have never experienced. Again, very tasty. The mayonaisse-based sauce drizzled over it seemed to dilute/overpower some of the other flavors, but no real complaints. The final roll was a soft-shell crab roll. The interesting aspect of this roll was the inclusion of tamago with the soft shell crab. A very solid interpretation, though I probably will skip it on subsequent visits (I'm from New Orleans originally, and tend to be a bit disappointed with the soft shell crabs I've found in Boston -- they tend to be smaller, and in my opinion less flavor packed, than those from the Gulf).

An exceptional part of the dining experience at this cozy restaurant was interacting with other diners. The modus operandi for ordering seemed to be looking down the sushi bar at what others had ordered, asking the names of the items that looked most appealing, and following the crowd. It was a fun experience, and is among the most natural dining alone experiences I've ever had.

I look forward to return visits. I'd love to try some of the more unusual offerings (baby hamachi, fatty tuna, etc.) during my next visit. In addition, on my way out, I heard a customer raving about the first item on the customer's special board (which I did not try and don't remember the exact name) -- it was a "shot" of sea urchin, quail egg, tabasco and soy sauce. In any case, thanks to the many members of the chowhound community that suggested this restaurant. Well worth the commute!

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  1. Some of the highlights on the current menu include the
    .Oishi Spicy Scallop Maki - a scallop maki with spicy mayo, radish sprouts, balck and orange tobiko
    .the Uni Ika with Oba salad, raw squid and uni lightly torched with japanese basil
    . and the crispy spicy maki with tuna on top - a maki which uses fried tempura crumbs to add a crunchy texture within the roll...

    Glad you enjoyed it...its my favorite place in boston!

    1 Reply
    1. re: Roejimmy

      One of my favorites there is torched fluke with black tobiko and real wasabi...mmmmmmmm! Love all the toppings on the torched nigiri as well as the rolls, although even the simplest sushi--tuna nigiri, salmon roll, salmon roe with quail egg--at Oishii yields great pleasure. The fish is so fresh, the rice so perfect, the atmosphere so friendly.

    2. I had a most unwelcome experience at Oishii the one and only time I tried to eat there. It was a weeknight around 8pm and the place was full. That was not unexpected, given the rave reviews it's been getting in the Globe, Tab and elsewhere. What irked me was that I stood in the entryway for a good 5 minutes and no one attended to me. The staff totally ignored me. One server looked in my direction then looked away quickly before I could make eye contact. I know they were busy and I would've been happy with takeout, but I couldn't even do that since I couldn't get a menu. I left vowing never to go back. Even stellar food cannot make up for lousy service. Besides, there's Oka to try - anyone been there ?

      4 Replies
      1. re: ju

        You mean Oga's at Natick? Been there twice recently. Although Oga's has a very extensive menu that covers both hot and cold items, the quality of sushi is good but not as good as Oishii.

        I am sorry to hear that you had a bad experience waiting at Oishii, but the rule there is basically put your name down on the note pad hanging on the screen by the door, and when a place opens up, the server will go and check the name list to see who's next. There are also menus near the waiting bench by the door and behind the screen if you want take out, or just walk up to the server and tell them you want to order take out.

        1. re: ju

          It's a schlepp, but the Oishii in Sudbury is bigger (maybe 8 tables, with a longer sushi bar) and it has just as good food. We often go (to the one in Sudbury) on the weekend for lunch. They open at 1:00 and we are always seated immediately if we arrive within the first 15 minutes or so. In fact they rarely fill up at lunch. the Oishii in Chestnut Hill is so small that there has not been room for all 5 of us to eat at least half the times we have tried.

          1. re: ju

            "Even stellar food cannot make up for lousy service."


            1. re: ju

              As bigeyeparrot said, guests are expected to add their names to a notepad hanging on the divider at the entrance. First time I was there other customers were kind enough to explain this, as the staff was quite busy. Since then, I've done the same for others. Guess it's a flaw for the staff to assume you'll either know or ask another customer what to do, but a 5-minute wait for the "hostess" still seems reasonable especially if you already expect a long wait to be seated.

              Don't give up, go with no more than 2 people total, and plan on the wait--it's worth it. Or go grab a menu for future reference and call your takeout order in next time (be sure you get the "specials menu" too; I don't think it's included on the takeout menu).

              Also, Allison Arnett has raved about New Ginza in Watertown (or is it Waltham?) and Oga in Natick--both owned by same people as Ginza Boston/Brookline.

            2. That was me, raving about the uni shooters that pm. Love them. Uni, soy sauce, tabasco sauce and a raw quail egg sitting in a shot glass. Dump the concoction on your tongue, let the flavors meld, and then, slowly chew the uni. The sweetness of the uni, with the saltiness of the soy along with the spice of the tabasco, just sends the taste glands into overdrive. The perfect started before a sushi dinner.

              1 Reply
              1. re: beetlebug

                It sounded like a chowhound-ish comment...

                Small world...