>> Monday, August 23, 2010
The expression "oishii" in Japanese is an utterance that one makes in response to tasting something delicious. Such a fitting name for a Japanese restaurant that very well could be one of the best, if not the best, sushi restaurant in Boston.
Oishii Boston is actually the third outpost of Ting San's wildly successful Oishii restaurants (the other two being in Chestnut Hill and Sudbury). The original Chestnut Hill restaurant is tiny, having only 9 seats around a sushi bar and maybe one table off to the side. The sushi there is spectacular, yet you almost always have to wait in line (sometimes down the block!) for one of those coveted seats. For us, the Sudbury location was just too far, even if it boasted a larger space and more available seating.
Oishii Boston opened in 2006 and it's really a different kind of restaurant. Sure, it has the same amazingly fresh sushi and sashimi, but the atmosphere is worlds apart. While the other two are more like traditional Japanese restaurants, Oishii Boston is the more upscale and trendier cousin; more like O Ya or Nobu than Sushi Yasuda or Sushi Gen. They offer more interesting rolls, crazy special types of sushi (such as ones involving fois gras and Wagyu beef), and an expanded menu full of cooked items such as lobster, Wagyu beef, and Chilean sea bass.
The food is executed with a level of precision and graceful artistry that surpasses what you would find at most local sushi places. Though the prices are a bit astronomical, it's really worth a visit, at least once.
The ambiance is dark, minimalistic, and urban. Not great for photos, but nice for that romantic evening out. We have never had a problem getting a reservation, as the restaurant is reasonably large (two floors!) and has tons of seating.
The drink selection is pretty good. They have some fun cocktails (Bryan like to get the lychee martini or the shisojito), and a nice selection of teas. I ordered "gen mai cha," which is green tea with brown rice (my favorite!). It came in this cute tea pot and was enough for several cups plus at least one refill of hot water.
Bryan and another friend shared a small bottle of sake. They had a reasonable selection of sake here, and it goes well with the sushi, of course.
We started with a simple little amuse of yuzu jelly infused with dried lemon peels. It was light, tart, and refreshing. A perfect way to begin the meal.
Of course, like at the other Oishii restaurants, the sushi and sashimi are top notch here. However, I think the unique maki rolls sets this place apart. Check out some of the rolls we ordered.
Sockeye Salmon Covered Maki
Tobiko, Avocado Maki with Sockeye Salmon, Menegi, Ponzu, and Hawaiian Rock Salt Sprinkle on Top
Sudachi And Seared Hamachi Maki
A closer side view look at the Sockeye Salmon Covered Maki and the Sudachi and Seared Hamachi Maki
Oishii Spicy Scallop Maki
Scallops, Black Tobiko, Cucumber, Kaiwali, and Spicy Mayo
Hamachi or Toro Truffle Maki
Shrimp Tempura, Spicy Mayo, Cucumber, covered with Seared Hamachi, or Seared Toro, White Truffle and Sturgeon Caviar on top
I have to give a shout-out for this roll. This is my ALL TIME FAVORITE MAKI anywhere in Boston. Imagine - seared toro topped with white truffles and caviar all in one beautiful delicious bite. The marriage of flavors is fantastic. I love love love this roll. It's not cheap at $25 a roll, but it's so, so worth it. Seriously, if I were dining here alone, I would just order this roll with a nice cup of green tea and call it a day.
White Tiger Maki
Tuna, Tobiko, Avocado and Cucumber rolled in White Seaweed with Ting San's Wasabi Flavored Lemony Sauce on Top
Oishii Spicy Tuna Tempura Maki
Bluefin Tuna Sashimi, Fleur De Sel, Chives, wrapped with seaweed
Foie Gras With Truffle and Foie Gras Diced With Fruit
My friend Peter absolutely loves this Fois Gras with Truffle (left), and would order more than one if they weren't $15 a piece.
Oishii Sashimi Maki
Bluefin Tuna, King Salmon, Yellowtail, Mutzu wrapped in Cucumber
Like I mentioned before, fish quality here is excellent and you can't go wrong ordering your favorite sashimi pieces. The cuts are generous, and any seared pieces are done perfectly right.
Isn't that the most beautiful presentation of chirashi you've ever seen? Man, puts my homemade version to shame.
They have an interesting wider assortment of nigiri options here than you would see at a typical sushi restaurant. Multiple different kinds of tuna and salmon alone. For example, we've ordered fatty salmon, sockeye salmon, and King Alaskan salmon. For tuna, you can choose between various "levels" of toro as well as different species of tuna. The choices are mind boggling, really.
We did not have desserts this time, though I've heard great things about the desserts. Even if you don't order dessert, the complimentary chocolate covered strawberries are more than sufficient to finish off a magical meal.
If you can't tell already, I love this place. I agree that it's crazy expensive and not a place to visit on a regular basis. Nevertheless, if you want ethereal sushi here in Boston, this is no doubt one of the best options. I almost always choose it for my birthday meal if I'm in Boston. :)
1166 Washington St
Boston, MA 02118