Oishii is a Japanese term that basically means "delicious." It is also the name of a Japanese restaurant in Boston, with another (and original) location in Chestnut Hill. It has a very good reputation, but for one reason or another, I had not eaten there yet. Though it had always been on my list to check out.
This past weekend, I finally stopped there with a few others, including my friends Dale and Adam. It was at the end of a long and delicious day, and the plan was simply to have a drink or two. We found an available table in the small bar area, and I checked out both the drink and food menus.
Their Saké menu was impressive, with plenty of choices, from Junmai to Daiginjo, from Nigori to Koshu. It was available by the glass, tokkuri, half-bottle and full bottle though prices were a bit high. I chose the Wakatake Onikoroshi Daiginjo ($17/tokkuri), an excellent Saké which is smooth, complex and full of subtle flavors.
The food menu is extensive, with Kushi Yaki, Tempura by the piece, Hot and Cold Appetizers, Soups and Salads, Entrees, Noodle Dishes, Maki, Nigiri, Sashimi and more. It too is very pricey, more on the scale of O Ya. Yet I was very much tempted by the menu descriptions, desirous of at least trying their food, to see if it was worth the high price tag. So I chose a few things to taste.
First, I had to sample their tempura, a standard dish that I often use to assess a Japanese restaurant. If their tempura is not good, then the rest of the cuisine often won't impress. At Oishii, I was initially impressed that you can purchase tempura by the piece, so you only need to eat those items you most enjoy. That is not common, but I think it is a great way to offer your tempura. There are about 15 items available, from vegetables to seafood. I ordered the Sweet Potato ($2), and it was a huge slice, far larger than what you usually get, with a perfectly crispy and light tempura batter. A top notch tempura, one of the best, and which I would highly recommend. The sweet potato was cooked well too, not too firm, but not too soft either. Just a perfect consistency.
I next ordered a couple maki. First, the Japanese Yam Tempura Maki ($10), which is Sweet Potato Tempura inside and shredded crispy sweet potato outside. (Yes, I do love sweet potato!) The presentation was excellent, about eight pieces, and the taste was superb, the soft yam inside and the crispy shreds on the outside. Second, I tried the Ultimate Crispy Shrimp Maki ($10), Shrimp Tempura with crispy rice cracker dots and Unagi sauce. A simpler but clean presentation, and once again, a top notch taste. This is obviously high quality food, and I savored every delectable bite. There were worth the price.
I very much enjoyed this small taste of Oishii, and I will try to return soon to check out more of their cuisine. Yes, it is pricey, but the quality of the food is high, and very satisfying. Maybe lunch is less expensive. Service was excellent, our server being very personable. Even the plates, dishes and cups added to the ambiance of the restaurant.
1166 Washington Street