Oishii South End- is it worth it? Difficult to get into?
I haven't tried Oishii in the South End yet. I was curious if it is worth the $$$. My friend said they have $30 rolls on the menu. I am OK paying for $30+ entrees, but one roll $30?
Also, is it crazy difficult to get a table? Any suggestions of what time to go and no thave to wait longer than 45 minutes?
My husband (native Japanese) and I stopped by Boston Labor Day weekend on our way from Wellfleet on the Cape back to San Francisco and we had an appalling meal at Oishii South End. Granted we had been SPOILED by some really stellar sushi at a place called Mac's Shack in Wellfleet-- went there three times in one week... but Oishii S.E. was such a disappointment I don't even know where to start....
We sat at the bar-- because if you are eating sushi with my husband you sit at the bar-- or in the car on the way to the next place... we ordered omakase- as usual- and began getting some very overblown presentations of some very mediocre fish. It is unfortunate when "Omakase" is subverted and becomes a set group of "standards" or "greatest hits" and not what the chef actually considers to be the freshest and best of the day... but that is a whole separate rant....
Nothing served over the bar- though there was no reason why not as there was no physical impediment to doing so. No direct contact with the chef so really no point in sitting at the bar except the view of them working.... and one junior chef was continually overzealous with his little torch (sorry can't remember the word) so there was an unpleasant cloud of singed tuna hanging overhead...
The most comical item came served in a sort of hollowed out ice block with a red light glowing from within- it was all sorts of wrong- 90s flashback- ugh. We had given an approximate limit of $150 for our omakase- but they went over by a considerable amount (can't remember how much) and when it was indicated that we were through we both said aloud "that was it?" so the waitress asked if we wanted anything else- which we declined once we realized we had just been seriously ripped off. We dine out a lot- all over the world and I can't remember the last time we both felt so severely disappointed by a restaurant experience. We knew it wasn't going to be as good as the original Oishii based on reading this board and were prepared to pay the premium mentioned in reviews here- we were only in Boston for 2 days and didn't feel like braving the lines at the original- so our expectations were not unreasonable- or so we thought.
I know I haven't been very good about commenting on the actual food- but it was just so tired and forgettable that nothing comes to mind except "tired" and "forgettable".
We ended up stopping by Douzo on the way back the hotel just to finish on a better note- had some lovely Escolar and tried to put Oishii S.E behind us! Grotto the next night was fabulous- we will return there next time. I know it is slightly wrong board but Mac's Shack in Wellfleet (not the one at the harbor) was phenomenal- 4 diners x 3 nights and everything was excellent. I think they said they will be open until Columbus Day if anyone is heading out there in the next month or so....
I went a couple of months ago and sat at the bar and
- felt the same way about no interaction with the chefs, not a good thing
- they did not offer Omakase (I asked and was told no) and I was very disappointed
- sushi pieces are fair size, nothing too big but overpriced
- the rolls are 50% larger than what you normally get in other restos and have 8 pieces, ordered $18 rolls, not $30
- they opened a new side of toro right in front of everyone, freeze-wrapped from the purveyor, yuck
The nighborhood is very scary after dark and getting a cab is impossible.
I am definitely going to try Douzo next time with all the good press on these boards.
Ny two Oishii experiences echoed much of what was said above. It is grotesquely overpriced. Cannot believe anyone is willing to pay these prices for nicely presented mediocrity. There was little that can be said that is redeeming. Additionally, the place seems to have attitude. Not that the staff was unfriendly, but they did seem condescending. Who needs it? Douzo is far superior, in every way a nicer place, much better food and consistently so, the prices are reasonable and the servers are absolutely delightful--and helpful.
One doesn't get to interact with the sushi chef's at the bar at Douzo either. But while it's not the best sushi in the world, it's good for the area and reasonably priced given the location. I consider it a place whose ambitions are commensurate with its performance and would certainly be happy to eat there.
Woops, sorry, was not clear -- I meant interact as described by Miss Kittee above -- ordering from the chefs piece by piece, where the chef is actively watching the progress of your meal and assessing your tastes and appetite etc..., the typical interactions with sushi chefs over the counter. Of course it's entirely possible to just pop a question over the counter.
I would say you described Douzo perfectly. It is true you don't interact there either- but it doesn't seem wrong- it is not trying to be a traditional Japanese experience. For me I felt like Oishii S.E. was grasping for some sort of sleek "japanese-ness" --but just got it all wrong.