Literally. A common Japanese adjective (日本語) meaning “tasty” or “delicious”, Oishii not only denotes this restaurant’s namesake but also describes — quite accurately — what you are bound to experience when you eat at this spacious, interesting and popular sushi bar.Oishii is not new to the Boston sushi scene. With their original location in Chestnut Hill — which is always jammed beyond capacity, these savvy business owners decided to expand and open a second location in one of the largest restaurant Mecca’s in Boston: the South End.This place feels huge… even though the hostess told me there are only 70 tables. The key to this ‘feel’ is definitely in the layout. Rather than one, large and expansive room (which seems to be the trend nowadays), Oishii’s landscape is a series of small rooms, hallways, nooks and crannies… or at least it feels that way.The general theme of the place is a very modern, minimalist approach, with an almost Zen feel to it. Everything is neutral… appearing in tones of gray, black and other natural hues, with cave-like lighting. Each place setting consists of a plain white napkin, chopsticks and a medium-sized, oddly-shaped, black, stoneware bowl — used as a large soy sauce dish. Water is served in tall, Collins-like glasses and all other dishes were white.To go over every single dish we ate… describing each taste and flavor combination, would be an arduous task — as every dish was complex in it’s own right and beyond delicious. Rather, I will list out everything we tried — with a few brief comments following each item. Bottom line? EVERYTHING is delicious. EVERYTHING is exotic. EVERYTHING is mouth-watering. And, EVERYTHING is ridiculously expensive!
If either the difficulty in obtaining a reservation or the number of diners present is any indication of their popularity and success, I would say they made the right move with this new venture. This despite the fact that no signage hangs outside the inconspicuous location… with the several patio tables located out front the only indication that a restaurant exists.
The Husband, his Brother, Brother’s Girlfriend (who were in town from Seattle) and I arrived for our 8pm reservations on time – after a few cocktails at my new favorite pre-dinner haunt The Beehive. We were seated immediately.
We started with cocktails. I had the Lychee Martini ($12) — vanilla vodka, lemon juice, Soho lychee and pineapple juice. The Husband and Brother had the Tangerine ($12) — orange vodka and tangerine juice. The Girlfriend had a Mixed drink (Malibu, pineapple juice and soda) ($9). Shortly after, an Amuse Bouche of seasoned sushi rice (cube-shaped) appeared to get the stomach juices flowing.
For appetizers, I had the Black Cod with Sweet Miso Sauce ($18) — one of the best fish dishes that I have ever had. Really. The Husband had a special, the Salmon Party ($25) — five different types of [raw] salmon, topped with five different types of roe on top of rice crackers. It was excellent. The Brother and his girlfriend shared an order of Edamame ($6) and the Agi Dashi Tofu ($8).For dinner, I had the Toro Truffle Maki ($25) — white truffle, spicy mayo, cucumber and shrimp tempura and the Rock Shrimp Explosion Maki ($25) — tempura rock shrimp inside and outside of roll with brown rice chips and Ting’s wasabi flavored lemon sauce. Oh… my…. god. The truffle maki was fabulous. The rock shrimp maki was unbelievable.The Husband had the Benyate Maki ($18) — unagi, avocado inside and covered with saku (yellow fin tuna), momijioroshi (grated daikon radish with red hot pepper), and benytate (a type of micro-green) sprinkled on top and the Named After You Maki ($17) — cucumber, spicy mayo, tobiko covered with tuna and whole grain mustard on top and sprinkled with aotate (another type of micro-green). Both were very good and he loved the Named After You in particular.The Brother got the Moullard Duck served in a baked Apple — a special ($18) and the Alligator Maki ($18) — shrimp tempura inside with crabstick, eel, roe, avocado and scallion outside. The Brother’s girlfriend (not a sushi eater) just got the Japan Kyuri Maki ($7) — a simple cucumber and avocado roll. The duck was super tender and delicious and the Brother loved the Maki.Surprisingly so, we were able to shovel deserts down our throat as well. I had the Red Bean Creme Brulee ($10) — odd, but delicious. The husband had the Green Tea Ice Cream ($6) — one of my personal favorites. The Brother and his Girlfriend shared the Shaved Mango Ice ($15), which they said was super fresh and yummy.
Additionally, the Husband and his Brother shared a carafe of Wakatake Onikoroshi White Label Sake — Demon Slayer ($17) with dinner.
A fabulously delicious and expensive evening. A must try!