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Feb 12, 2008 06:03 PM

How does Oishii Boston compare to Oishii Chestnut Hill?

I've been the Oishii at Chestnut Hill many and my boyfriend and I LOVED it. Our 5 year anniversary is coming up and we'd love to go to Oishii, but the Chestnut Hill location is pretty cramped and they don't take reservations. Instead, we are thinking of trying the Boston location but I'd love to hear your opinions first! Thanks!

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  1. Oishii Boston is much, much bigger, and rather more expensive. It has its own (full-liquor) bar and lounge area and several good-sized dining rooms up and downstairs in addition to the sushi bar. A higher-end and much broader menu, with lots of Western-sized appetizers and entrees. The many cooked items include steamed, grilled, and pan-seared fish, soups, noodle dishes, and donburi dishes. Of course, there's the expected long list of sushi and sashimi, including a bunch of cool specialty rolls. I think these are the equal of the Chestnut Hill location in quality, and exceed it in the rarity and distance traveled of many items. It has big sake and wine lists, fancy cocktails, coffee drinks, and a Western-leaning menu of elaborately plated desserts.

    I had a truly wonderful omakase recently, about $160 for one, kind of decadent overkill with cooked courses of duck and foie gras. But I thought it was worth it for the unusual (to me) and impeccably fresh sushi and sashimi courses.

    6 Replies
    1. re: MC Slim JB

      Just went to Oishii Boston for the first time tonight, for Valentines Day. This is probably not the ideal night to go (very crowded), but Ting San was there, and came around to each table to say hello. I might suggest calling when making a reservation to check where Ting San will be that evening.

      Had some really excellent sashimi, the highlights of which were beautifully prepared kinmedai (an unusual snapper found deep in the sea with beautiful large eyes), tachiuo, kochi, and kasugo tai. The coho salmon appetizer with tomatos and honey yuzu was a real treat as well. Excellent texture to the fatty salmon.

      In addition to many rare fish, they also had one of my favourite little treats --- menagi, which are very young scallion buds, and taste like eating a garden.

      The ankimo was fantastic --- very rich and smooth. A surprising highlight were the toro truffle maki, which were maki of scallions with a spicy mayoniase topped by toro and black truffles. The toro was excellent --- not overly fatty, and very flavorful. The truffles were out of this world.

      The red bean crème brûlée was a wonderful dessert. The crème brûlée was excellent in and of itself, and the red bean paste inserted inside was an excellent complement. The best part, to be honest, was the dollop of red bean ice cream layered on top. I could have done without the four sticks of pocky, however.

      There were only a few mild disappointments. Most disappointing was the crispy tuna pancake, which I thought was a bit tasteless, although the salad that accompanied it was terrific, especially with the texture and taste of the sea salt liberally sprinkled over it. The foie gras w/truffle sashimi had remarkably good truffles on top of moderately good duck liver. It was also served too cold. The handmade tofu skin "sashimi" was served too hot! The spicy tuna tempura maki was unremarkable --- it cooked long enough to loose the complexity of the raw fish, but not broiled enough to bring out new flavors. However, the texture was quite pleasant, as were the greens layered on top.

      I was surprised to see kuding tea (a bitter Chinese tea) on the menu. I ordered it with dessert and even after steeping for several minutes it was much to weak. Upon looking inside the pot I could see why --- only a single needle of the tea was in the pot! I think this was not out of stinginess, but rather out of fear --- ku3 ding1 cha2 can be really bitter, and the taste can really turn some people off. The waitress must have warned me about it three times. Still, one needle is not sufficient, and the water wasn't hot enough to extract enough from the tea. I understand their fear, but this should either be served right or not at all.

      I also had a "shisojito" --- a mojito made with shiso leaf instead of mint and honey yuzu instead of lime juice and turbino sugar. I've seen this elsewhere before, but it was wonderful here. Notably the shiso leaves were expertly muddled, really enhancing their flavor. The DC had Wakatake black label sake, which was mellow and very pleasant. There's a very fine sushi list, wine list, and an interesting selection of cocktails.

      In total, it was about $150/pp before tip having ordered à la carte, but very much worth it. The rooms are modern and stylish --- very comfortable, although nothing spectacular. Our service was excellent even for a very busy night, the host station was very competent, and overall the restaurant has a very nice "vibe." I look forward to sampling the rare sashimi again, would like to try some cooked dishes next time, and because I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the toro truffle maki, and will probably try some other of the interesting maki next time.

      1. re: lipoff

        Beautiful review! I wish I could find my notes from my last omakase there.

        1. re: lipoff

          the red bean creme brulee sounds delicious! I want to go there just to try that!

        2. re: MC Slim JB

          MC was that $160 for just the food or did it include beverage/tax/tip?

          1. re: ScubaSteve

            Now that I think about it, the omakase might have been $130, plus $30 for a 300ml bottle of unfiltered sake. So, about $200 with tax and tip. Wish I could have expensed that one.

            I also had the red bean crème brûlée (choice of dessert was included in the special omakase, IIRC), and it was indeed terrific. Also a good example of how you can be absolutely dead-full of savory food, yet still have room for something sweet.

            1. re: MC Slim JB

              "Also a good example of how you can be absolutely dead-full of savory food, yet still have room for something sweet."

              happened to me and The Kid at Gitlo's with the cream buns.

              thanks for the cost breakdown. i haven't done an omakase since Hiro left Fugakyu (le sigh) and Oishii is on (on near) the top of my list for a replacement, as is O Ya.

        3. Chestnut Hill has GREAT take-out and long waits.
          Boston is more electic and expensive

          1. You hit the nail on the head by calling Chestnut Hill cramped - while I love eating there I often feel rushed if there is a line of people waiting for my seat. The South End location is serene, elegant, and beautiful. The service is solicitious and the two times I've eaten there Ting has come over to say hello and check in to see if we are enjoying our meal. It's a great place for an anniversary dinner, especially if you are prepared for the sticker shock, which for an anniversary I would imagine you would be.

            1. I've been going to Oishii Chestnut Hill regularly for years now. Imho it is WAY BETTER than Oishii Boston. I went to the latter only once and was right away turned off by it - a bit too stuffy and too overpriced.

              Then, again, it depends on what you are looking for. If it is good and unique sushi/sashimi, Oishii chestnut hill is one of the best you'll ever come across. The omakase is exquisite and worth every penny.

              If you are looking for a classy ambience and such, perhaps you will like the Boston one better.

              1 Reply
              1. re: gichax

                Went to Chestnut Hill at 2:30 a few weeks ago--place was empty, probably the best time to go. Managed to spend $150 in 45 minutes--no booze. Quality was superb, we tried sashimi, sushi, various handrolls and some of the specialty rolls. Next time, I would concentrate on the sashimi and simpler items--the rolls named after girls are a little over the top.

              2. I was wondering if there are any updated opinions here. I'm thinking of a birthday dinner, and haven't tried Oishii Boston yet (I used to live in Boston, but no more, so I'm familiar with the Chestnut Hill location, but not with the Boston one). How do the two compare now?

                1 Reply
                1. re: kallisti

                  Hey guys

                  As a regular in Chestnut Hill for the past year I can offer an updated opinion.

                  The sushi and sashimi options in Chestnut Hill are substantially cheaper than the Boston branch. Uni from Japan and Cali is half the price per piece as in Boston.

                  Furthermore, all of the sushi and sashimi pieces served in chestnut hill are substantially larger than in the Boston branch. The Boston branch also often tops their sushi with subtle extras such as a slice of strawberry on top of king salmon, while Chestnut hill stands by rice, wasabi, fish. Both restaurants only receive 1 order per week of fish from Japan, generally on Thursday. Often the sushi bar in CH doesn't get the Hokkaido Uni till Friday. Both restaurants share fish so this kind of thing may be common.

                  An enormous and consistent flaw at the Boston restaurant is temperature issues with large orders from the sushi a la carte form. Don't order a mix of hot and cold sushi, sashimi items under any circumstance

                  Apart from raw sushi and sashimi a la carte, Oishii Boston is a level above the Chestnut hill branch. The cooked dishes are of a much higher standard in Boston, with premium ingredients like wagyu, truffles, and real wasabi from japan included throughout the menu, and prices as high as anywhere.

                  The rolls and bana sushi at both branches are the best in the state in my experience.