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Oishii- Top 5 of My Life

We had recovered from the Spinazzola event, and went to the wine and sushi pairing at the Wine Expo- just wasn't enough sushi, and we needed more, so at 10 pm made our way to Oishii in the South End. We fully expected this to be a costly endeavor, but after eating boring fast food at the World Trade Center, we need vibrancy. We got it.

The owner was present, and we sat right in front of him at the sushi bar, and therefore decided on an omakase meal. After the daijingo sake began flowing, we were in culinary rapture.

1) Squid amuse bouche-highly spiced, but nothing to write home about.

2) Tuna tartare with oesetra caviar in the ice cube thing- glorious, with a citrus flavor that I could not place.

3) Escargot tempura in a butter garlic sauce- We have never eaten escargot this way, and although not quite up to Ami Louis, it was a wonderful way of making a rich dish even richer. Glorious frying- not a speck of grease.

4) Rare duck breast with apples, served in an apple- The only aspect that exceeded the richness of the duck was the presentation. Not sweet- actually immensely complex. There was the addition of rhodedendrum honey, which I did not know even existed.

5) Kobe beef from Japan, served with a hot stone/cook it yourself- We had not asked for this, but what the hell. A special of the night, this was rated an 11 on a scale of 1-12 for Waygu beef. It was almost white in color, and I placed it on the rock for about 5 seconds, and a few pieces I ate raw. Trancendent in mouth feel.

6) Sashimi of some type of Japanese Red snapper in a Yuzu citrus sauce- intense flavor of the fish contrased very well to the almost sweet nuances of the sauce.

7) O-toro tuna grilled with a blowtourch served as a sandwich with some type of cracker and gold leaf on top- tuna tasted like perfumed fat. Melted in my mouth.

8) Hamachi roll with eel and some type of tobbiko with grilled sheds of salmon skin.- a beauty. Could have eaten this one all night.

9) Various sushi- otoro, baby hamachi, fugu, abalone, and a weird clam- simply a great way to end the savory part of the meal.

10) Red bean creme brulee and pearpoached in plum wine- rich, not heavy.

We decided that this was one of the top meals of our lives. Put those as Nobu, Morimoto, Sushisay all to shame.

The owner, whose name I missed, went into a tirade in the kitchen over the food being left out to long before it got served to the customers. He came back, apologized, and said that he expects everyone to make sure the customer is the most important person.

Cost- 404.00 before tip, including expensive sake.

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  1. The sake is ginjo (daiginjo), not jingo. Sounds interesting - not at all a traditional sashimi or sushi omakase - more like an izakaya. $404 sounds over the top, but probably appropriate for the new location and market. It doesn't sound like Ting-"san", unless he learned a heck of a lot of new tricks since Chestnut Hill - they must have hired someone with some chops. Thanks for the write-up.

    13 Replies
    1. re: applehome

      The guy's name is Ting San. San is his last name. You don't need the scare quotes.

      1. re: Luther

        San is not a last name - it is an honorific in Japanese. Like saying Mr. Ironically, Ting-san is not Japanese. San being a last name would indeed be ironic, but no more than Major Major Major Major.

        1. re: applehome

          Absolutely right. I understand Ting-san was featured on Ming's cooking show this weekend and yeah, it seems he's learned a few things since Chestnut Hill.

          This place sounds too rich for my blood (I'll probably be more likely to belly up to the sushi bar at Sushi Island in Wakefield), but I really liked this writeup. Thanks to the OP.

          1. re: applehome

            I thought the dude is ethnically Chinese and his last name is San. Every newspaper piece on Oishii I've ever seen that mentions him by name pretty clearly establishes that San is his last name.

            1. re: applehome

              And seriously, how dumb do you have to be do not know what "san" means in Japanese?

              1. re: Luther

                I'm sure lots of smart people don't know that. There are only so many things one can know. One thing I know: I'm still not ready to spend $200 per person. So BK (below), how did you do it for half that?

                1. re: tatamagouche

                  Well, on the two occasions that we did Omakase, the waiter asked how much we wanted to spend per person, and we said about $100. When my wife and I ordered a la carte, we got about 3 special sashimis, 3 special nigiris, and 3 special makis, both had 2 cocktails, ordered 1 dessert, and were served a second gratis. And on each occasion, the meal was wonderful and it was plenty of food.

                  BK

                  1. re: BJK

                    That actually sounds, um, reasonable.

                2. re: Luther

                  Girls, Girls Girls.....stop fighting.... you're BOTH pretty. And for the record, his NAME is Ting San. He IS Chinese, and in the Chinese Language, your first name is last, and your last name is FIRST. So, his first name is SAN, and his surname is TING. Just to set the record straight. :)

                  1. re: Clos Vougeot

                    Good clarification Vougeot-San.

                    I still think that Oishii Boston is overpriced and not worth it. The pieces of sashimi are too small. I will take the original Oishii, Douzo or Fugakyu any day.

                    1. re: Gabatta

                      I'm not native Japanese, but it seems not uncommon in Japanese to have -san appended to your first name in a sort of friendly honorific form such as David San or Timothy San.

                      Anyway, I thought his first name was Ting and his last name was Yen, with most everyone calling him Ting San in that friendly honorific way.

                      1. re: tmab

                        Interesting... there are quite a few articles that refer to him as "Ting Yen." There are also a bunch of articles (e.g. in the Globe) that refer to him as Ting San, and then later in the article, as San (implying that this is his last name).

                        Maybe the Globe food section is just being typically out of the loop.

                      2. re: Gabatta

                        Fugakyu is horrible and i would go to oishii any day over that overated place

            2. sounds great, but seems very pricey, at least based on the descriptions. Did you have Omakases at the other places you mentioned? For that money i start thinking Masa in the Time Warner center in New York (it seems that Oishii's bar rom is closely modeled after Bar masa.) I would also expect a different level of service from what Oishii offers for that type of money. I have had my fair share of $400+ dinners (sometimes per person, think Roubochon, Per se, and some others) some of which were amazing and some others mediocre, so i am not afraid to spend some coin.

              As for the new location and market suggested by applehome above for being able to demand such a high price, shouldn't the food, service and atmosphere really be the things that you pay for?

              My experiences at Oishii in the south end have been OK in terms of food, i dont feel they offer the level of service that demands the prices they charge.

              2 Replies
              1. re: jpeso

                I had the omakase at Nobu in Las Vegas, and in Miami(twice). Left before being served at the Nobu in NYC. All were about the same price as Oishii, but inferior in quality and presentation. Morimoto in Philadelphia simply lacked imagination, and was more expensive. Have not been to Masa in NYC, but we are talking about a different price point.

                We could have had a glorious meal for half the money, but after the disappointing food at the Spinazzola, we went all out.

                The service truly was exemplary, except for the diatribe in the kitchen, which we could have done without.

                1. re: aadesmd

                  jpeso...i think they charge accordingly. but i agree with you if i paid 400+ per person a meal at Oishii it wouldn't be worth it...as aadesmd said its a diff price point. I've eaten at Masa back when it was in LA and it was a lot better before they moved to NY but still amazing nonetheless. Same with per se and Robouchon in Hong Kong but when you go to those places you are paying for the fine dining atmosphere as well as the food. When you go to Oisii and pay 200 a person for some of the best and most creative sushi in Boston without the fine dining aspect...i think it is well worth it.

                  And Nobu and Morimoto are definately nowhere near worth it. i'd gladly go to Gari, Megu, or Yasuda for better sushi.

              2. FWIW, you don't HAVE to spend $200 per person at Oishii Boston. It's definitely a special occasion kind of meal for me, but I've had two Omakase's and one a la carte meal that were each equally wonderful and each came in at around $100 per person including drinks and taxes but before tip.

                BK

                1. I have decided not to post a comment about the name of the owner, because, truly that does not matter at all....what matters is i agree wtih the original poster, that thisis probably some of the best sushi in town. I used to be a huge Fugakyu fan, until i tried Oishii. its definitely very expensive wtih roll in the 15-20 price range, but the quality of the fish is so much better, and oishii really steps up the actual art of sush1! presentation is everyting at this place...and what makes it rock...is that the food really backs up the presentation....making this the best sushi in boston! what an experience....i have been ooohinh and awing about this place since i went months ago....i can't wait to go back....

                  1. Agreed that the arrangements and combinations at Oishii are great. I have dined at both Fugakyu and Oishii enough to have a big enough sample size to strongly disagree with the assertion that " the quality of the fish is so much better". I find the quality to be on par at both. The only difference is that you get about twice as much in an order of sashimi from Fugakyu.

                    Douzo is still my overall favorite.