Oita Sushi

Every once in a while, I get craving for sushi. And with hundreds of sushi restaurant or Asian restaurant with sushi offering, it is easy to get one. But, to get a sushi that is fresh and affordable, it requires some research. Nowadays, there are many of them that are owned and/or operated by non-Japanese, but that doesn’t mean they are not good. Like how some say “It’s not the camera, it is the camera man” same goes for the food. It is not the ingredients, but it is the chef. Even though I still prefer authentic food made by authentic ways and people, I still explore other establishment, if they come with high review. I wasn’t sure if this place, Oita Sushi, was authentic or not, but with good review backing them up, I thought I would give them a try.

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The inside was rather small, with just two small tables by the entrance. Even though they had few counter seats by the sushi bar, there was no one sitting there to eat. It is a narrow space, and narrow counter, so it probably will not be a comfortable seating with a server walking right behind you, going back and force the table seating and kitchen. It was more of a take out place from what I saw, and the counter chairs provided a good place to wait until your food is ready.

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And right at end of the sushi counter, they had several Japanese toys for sale, with pretty steep pricing (in my opinion). They were cute though, maybe for some one who likes to collect these kind of things, it would be a good find?

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There was only one female waitress and one guy behind the sushi counter. Of course there were more staff, back in the kitchen. They were talking in Korean, so I am not sure if this restaurant is owned by Japanese person, or it is more of a Korean establishment? But they were really nice and friendly.

We asked for a hot green tea, and the waitress brought it out quickly. It was complimentary and she gave us free refill as well. I love it when a Japanese restaurant (no matter the owner’s background) provides hot green tea for free…how it supposed to be!

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I saw they have a good lunch set, a Lunch Special that comes with choice of bento plus udon (half portion). We chose Sushi 5pc bento set ($12), which comes with salad, pickle, and kimchi. It actually came with more than that. It also had seaweed salad and one shumai. The sushi was fresh and cut at nice thickness. Salad had fruits like mango (?) and dried cranberry, providing extra sweetness to the salad. It also had boiled egg, grape tomatoes, and all things fresh, without being ruined by crazy thick dressing like a lot of Asian restaurants do. Here, they kept it light and simple, keeping the freshness alive. Seaweed salad was a nice touch, adding extra nutrition, texture, and freshness to the set. Kimchi was an interesting mix into this “Japanese” bento box, although welcomed by us, who enjoy Korean cuisine including Kimchi.

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As for the udon, it could be changed to Curry Udon with extra $2, making the lunch set to be $14 total. Since I love curry udon, I decided to upgrade. It was half portion of their regular size udon, which was enough to accompany the bento box. It had fried tofu (abura age), broccoli, and big chunks of mushroom that were sliced really, really thick. The soup was ok, more watery than thick. I don’t know what to think of these giant mushrooms… I think I like it better if they were thinner and smaller, so that the flavor can penetrate into the mushroom better. With it sliced so thick, I felt like it couldn’t soak up the flavor as much. Also, the soup was not as good as I wanted it to be. I prefer to have thicker udon broth, so that it coats udon noodles better. It still provided hot, comforting side dish to the cold, fresh bento box.

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An interesting part was that everything was served on plastic plate and paper bowl, and plastic utensils. All set to be easily disposable after the meal. I guess it is cheaper for them to do it this way? I am not sure… But it feels like it lower the atmosphere and value of the meal.

They do not have public restroom, which is understandable with the place being so small. The lunch special was reasonable and freshness of the food and the number of offerings that comes with the special is great. I saw a new menu offering, a cold chirashi donburi that has sashimi and veggies on top of rice, and hot chirashi donburi that has cooked eel, tempura, and veggies on top of rice. They looked interesting, if I am in the area, I might give one of these donburi a try.

Oita Sushi – 1317a 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10021

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