>> Tuesday, August 23, 2011
The suburbs in Boston are mostly a mystery to me.
I live in Cambridge, work in Cambridge, and more often than not, eat out in Cambridge. I am very familiar with the restaurants within a 5 mile radius of me. However, if you ask me where to eat out in the burbs, I very well may just give you a blank stare.
A couple weeks ago, we suddenly found ourselves hanging out in the suburbs A LOT.
Virtually all of the furniture stores in Boston have staked out a spot in the Natick/Framingham area. This area (about 15 miles west of Boston) is really a mecca for furniture shopping. Since we had several rooms to fill with furniture, we drove out west repeatedly many a summer night.
One day, as we hemmed and hawed about which bed to buy (Crate &amp; Barrel? Jordan's Furniture?), we concluded that perhaps some calories would be most helpful in clearing our minds for this important decision.
After a little bit of research on our phones, we settled on Oga, a pretty well-known Japanese restaurant just 1-2 miles away from all the furniture stores.
Any semblance of furniture on our minds quickly vaporized as we settled into the calm, zen-like atmosphere of the restaurant. The decor and ambiance were lovely, making it very easy to relax. We decided to sit at the sushi bar to get the full, authentic experience.
Service was excellent, and pretty soon Bryan had a cold, Sapporo reserve in his hand. Moments later, a simple, amuse (compliments of the chef!) arrived. I was pleasantly surprised that Oga would be daring enough to serve free octopus to everyone. I personally really enjoyed this sweet and slightly tart marinated octopus salad.
Salmon Avocado Salad 鮭アヴォカドサラダ - $11.00
Avocado, crab stick, cucumber, and flying fish roe, mixed with mayo, then wrapped in thinly sliced fresh salmon
Next came our appetizer, the salmon avocado salad. The mayonnaise-based salad (more like a slaw if you ask me) came creatively wrapped in slices of fresh salmon. It's hard to go wrong (in terms of flavor) when you mix together avocados, crabstick, and flying fish roe. As expected, the salad was tasty and I enjoyed the salmon on top. Though solid, I didn't think the salad was particularly interesting, so I would probably order something different if I came back.
We were quite impressed with the overall quality of the sushi. The menu had a nice variety of fresh fish choices. We ordered toro (of course!), which was delicious.
The other nigiri we ordered (e.g., yellowtail, among others), were all very good. In general, the prices of sushi here are a bit lower than similar calibre stuff in the city. We were very pleased with all of the nigiri that we had. B-52 Maki $11.00
Yellowtail rolled w/ Crab Stick, Avocado, Cucumber, Scallions &amp;amp;amp; Flying Fish Roe, in a Double Layer Tempura Roll
We also ordered a few rolls for fun. The menu has huge selection of creative rolls. It reminds me of places in the city like Fugakyu or Ginza. This isn't a surprise, considering that co-owner Toru Oga also co-founded Ginza. Red Eye Maki レッドアイ $10.00
This interesting roll (the Red Eye Maki) consists of tuna, mozzarella cheese, asparagus &amp;amp;amp; garlic chips topped with pickled jalapeno and wispy threads of red pepper. Although the cheese sounded a bit weird, Bryan and I decided to take a leap of faith and try this roll since it sounded so unusual.
Heh, it was the first (and last time) that we tried cheese inside of nigiri. It's just plain weird, and I personally don't care for it. I do like fusion sushi, but in my mind, cheese doesn't work well inside of maki rolls. I will skip this next time I come.
They had various types of uni, including domestic uni and uni from Hokkaido, Japan. The Japanese uni was crazy expensive ($15 a piece), and frankly, was decent but still had hints of that stinkiness that I dislike about uni. Super fresh uni should be sweet and creamy, with no hints of stinkiness. I would skip this, especially at these prices!
Delicious Sushi at Reasonable Prices
Overall Bryan and I were very pleased with our experience at Oga and we would go back in a heartbeat if we were (again) shopping for furniture in the area. It definitely is quite comparable to the better sushi places in Boston. Presumably because of its suburban location, it is able to offer excellent sushi at prices that are just a bit lower than what you'd find in the city.
The menu is quite extensive and there are so many things left to try. Oga has quite a few non-sushi dishes as well, such as teppanyaki, donburi, and various noodles. If I lived nearby, this would most definitely become a regular haunt.
915 Worcester St
Natick, MA 01760