Oishii satisfies, if price is no object
RESTAURANT REVIEW: Oishii (Boston)
Oishii is a gem in the outskirts of the South End. The nearest stop on the T is Broadway on the Red Line, but the restaurant is still a 10-15 minute walk through the industrial part of town. The restaurant is part of a newly renovated complex that stands out within the run down shops surrounding it. Yet, Oishii still draws a crowd and was quite busy when my boyfriend and I arrived for lunch. We hadn’t made reservations, but the hostess offered two seats at the sushi bar, which was better than waiting. The ambiance was chic like many other sushi bars now. The lobby had natural light flooding in and reflecting off a beautiful fountain wall, but the dining area was dimly lit and lacking in décor.
We both ordered off the Restaurant Week menu. The only option for the appetizer was miso soup, which was warming after the three mile walk we took to get there (from Boston Convention Center). The soup was not outstanding in any way, simply something to whet your appetite for the course to come. The tiny shimeji mushrooms in the soup were a nice touch though.
I ordered the kaiseki lunch box that included grilled miso black cod, seaweed salad, agidashi tofu, soba noodle, spicy tuna tempura maki, salmon avocado maki, shrimp and asparagus tempura, and steamed broccolini with sesame dressing. It sounds like a lot of food—and it was a decent amount—but they’re all small plates. The grilled miso black cod was fresh and tender with a salty sauce that would have been perfect with rice. The soba noodle came in a cup of soup that was lukewarm and bland. A lot of these dishes were hit or miss. The maki plates were simple, but fresh, and the only reason to order the kaiseki lunch set. The shrimp and asparagus tempura and steamed broccolini were subpar and tasteless, even with sauce. I’m a fan of seaweed salad, so I may only be speaking for myself when I say I enjoyed it a lot. My boyfriend ordered the grilled chicken donburi, which came with a simple garden salad topped with a tasty soy-ginger dressing. The chicken donburi was slightly on the sweet side, but definitely one of the best chicken donburi dishes I’ve had. The chicken was tender and perfectly cooked and covered in a sweet glaze that went so well with the fluffy white rice. The thinly sliced vegetables added a nice crunchy touch to the dish.
There was also only one dessert that followed, just as simple as the miso soup. It was a small homemade cookie with a cup of warm yuzu tea. The homemade cookie was buttery but not satisfying at all. The tea had a sweet and tangy citrus flavor and was really good. There were small strips of yuzu floating in the tea. It accompanied the cookie well, but I still felt as if the final course was lacking. Overall, Oishii was a good deal for restaurant week but there could be improvements made in every aspect. Maybe it just wasn’t as good as normal because it was RW. The food was simple, satisfying, and delicious in many ways but could have easily been better. For the (normal) price and location, I wouldn’t go back to Oishii. Douzo and Basho are both better choices for sushi in the same atmosphere—and both are closer.
1166 Washington Street
Boston, MA 02118-4113
– Article & Photos by Christina Pan