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Oishii- Top 5 of My Life

aadesmd Feb 11, 2007 06:42 PM

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. applehome RE: aadesmd Feb 11, 2007 09:37 PM

    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
      Luther RE: applehome Feb 12, 2007 02:53 AM

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

      1. re: Luther
        applehome RE: Luther Feb 12, 2007 11:45 AM

        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
          yumyum RE: applehome Feb 12, 2007 12:45 PM

          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
            Luther RE: applehome Feb 12, 2007 04:03 PM

            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
              Luther RE: applehome Feb 12, 2007 04:04 PM

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

              1. re: Luther
                tatamagouche RE: Luther Feb 12, 2007 05:37 PM

                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
                  b
                  BJK RE: tatamagouche Feb 13, 2007 05:03 AM

                  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
                    tatamagouche RE: BJK Feb 13, 2007 05:18 AM

                    That actually sounds, um, reasonable.

                2. re: Luther
                  Clos Vougeot RE: Luther Feb 12, 2007 11:29 PM

                  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
                    g
                    Gabatta RE: Clos Vougeot Feb 13, 2007 04:17 AM

                    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
                      t
                      tmab RE: Gabatta Feb 13, 2007 04:32 AM

                      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
                        Luther RE: tmab Feb 13, 2007 07:20 AM

                        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
                        EnderWiggin RE: Gabatta Feb 28, 2007 08:23 AM

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

            2. j
              jpeso RE: aadesmd Feb 11, 2007 11:27 PM

              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
                aadesmd RE: jpeso Feb 12, 2007 05:47 PM

                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
                  EnderWiggin RE: aadesmd Feb 28, 2007 08:40 AM

                  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. b
                BJK RE: aadesmd Feb 12, 2007 01:32 PM

                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. d
                  dustycolby2 RE: aadesmd Feb 28, 2007 07:01 AM

                  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. g
                    Gabatta RE: aadesmd Feb 28, 2007 07:20 AM

                    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.

                    1. i
                      irishmack27 RE: aadesmd Feb 28, 2007 07:37 AM

                      I can't stand Oishii - based simply on prices. Great sushi is to be had at many places that are at a fraction of the price of this place.
                      My all time favorite is still Yasu (now in Coolidge Corner).. was my regular place since the owners ran the Yasu in Waltham (Dan and Jackie). This is a great place to become a regular at. Dan takes good care of you; and I've never had a gripe about the quality of his fish.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: irishmack27
                        Bob Dobalina RE: irishmack27 Feb 28, 2007 08:35 AM

                        Just a point of clarification - the Yasu in Waltham is closed? Or just changed owners? Where is the Yasu in Coolidge Corner?

                        I used to frequent the Yasu in Waltham about three years ago and enjoyed it - is that when Dan and Jackie were there? Thanks.

                      2. EnderWiggin RE: aadesmd Feb 28, 2007 08:28 AM

                        ...

                        1. barleywino RE: aadesmd Feb 28, 2007 08:48 AM

                          I agree about the Nobu in NYC going way downhill since circa 1995 (when i started eating there). Same with Matsuhisa LA. I have had some great omakase at the Nobu Las Vegas and the Nobu and Ubon in London, though. it helps to ask for a higher price point omakase rather than the entry level omakase, which is targeted to first-timers and is pretty standardized and unimaginative for Nobu, relatively speaking,

                          1. aadesmd RE: aadesmd Feb 28, 2007 04:03 PM

                            I agree that Nobu and clones require a higher price point. Sorry, but even at the 200 price point, oishii blows Nobu out the door.

                            1. barleywino RE: aadesmd Feb 28, 2007 09:03 PM

                              if you like Oishii (i'm not a fan personally, but haven't been there for a long time) and are willing to spend at that price point, add Tojo (Vancouver) and Urasawa (LA) to your list.

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