Friday, April 20, 2012

Oishii Sushi 4-course Groupon

Oishii Sushi on Urbanspoon Out of the blue, my dining buddy called me up Thursday morning to see if I'd like to go for sushi. She had a Groupon that was close to expiration (these Groupon things tend to do that: help you go broke saving money) and offered to treat. Would I come out with her for a four-course dinner for two? Hell, yeah! We were on for Ocean Wise Oishii Sushi on Denman at Robson. Google translates Oishii as おいしい, which means the restaurant name roughly translates to "Delicious Sushi".

The dilapidated laminated menu in the restaurant is somewhat outdated, but helpfully has an insert which lists the ingredients in each roll. It also features a lot of pictures, so everything on the Groupon Menu can more or less be deciphered without having to ask the server.

$24 for a Four-Course Sushi Dinner for Two at Oishii Sushi (Up to $53.65 Value)
Oishii Sushi 4 Course Groupon Menu

Sake Or Beer (Please Choose 1 per person)
Small Hot or Cold Sake or Small Japanese Beer

Sunomono/Salad/Soup (Please choose 1 per person)
Miso Soup
Seafood Soup
Sunomono (Shrimp, Ebi, Kani, Tako)

Appetizer (Please choose 1 Only)
Beef Sashimi
Kakisu (Fresh Oyster)
Spring Roll
Age Dashi Tofu
Soft Shell Crab
Asari Garlic Butter
Chicken Karrage
Ebi Gyoza

5 Pc Sashimi (Please choose 1 Only)
Spicy Tuna
****Tuna Tataki
Atlantic Salmon
Sockeye Salmon

***available for additional charge

Special Roll (Please choose 1 only)
Oishii Roll
Hawaii Roll
Dragon Roll
Caterpillar Roll
Bayview Roll
Pacific Roll
Sunshine Roll
Diamond Roll
Canuck Roll
Excotic Roll
Tataki Roll
Victoria Roll

We were set for a 4:45 pm seating. It was probably not until around 5.30pm or 6pm that the "real" servers arrived and took over the floor. Prior to that, there was just the one person setting up tables, and who had really no table-side manner. No water or tea to start. My dining partner discovered something sticky under the table on her side and it got smeared onto her hand. She asked for a wet towel and immediately the answer was "no". When my friend explained what happened, the server came by with a cloth to wipe under the table, and my friend had to stop her so she could dab her fingers on the cloth before the server took it away.
Definitely go LATER in the evening -- don't walk in unless you see the real waitresses are tending the tables.

Here's our order, for the evening, including prices on the bill (which was of course adjusted because my friend had already paid for the Groupon):

  • "Foir Gras" (Monkfish Liver) - $10.95
    • NOT part of the Groupon 4-course.
    • This was on the specials menu, which indicated it was "monkfish liver". I was curious about it since foie gras is normally duck or goose liver (and if you got a particularly big and tasty foie gras portion, then sadly it is probably the result of force feeding).
    • It's khaki coloured slices with a creamy firmness that easily causes it to break if you squeeze it a bit too much with your chopsticks. Comes with a bit of soy sauce and some finely shredded carrot and white radish (?).
    • Overall it had a nice texture but just a fishy taste. More of a novelty than a tasty dish. Don't bother.
  • Hot Sake - $5.95 x 2 orders
    • The small ceramic (?) sake carafes were very hot to the touch, almost too hot to really pick up and slowly pour out the sake into the matching sake cups. We suspected that the whole thing was microwaved, hence the very hot bottles. Of course, we can't be sure of this.
  • Seafood Soup - $5.95 x 2 orders
    • Not much better than a boring miso soup. Two slices of different types of fish, one prawn, and what looked like small chunks of scallops, or maybe octopus.
    • There's not much to choose from in that category, so anything will do, I guess, if you have the Groupon. I wouldn't order it for $5.95 off the regular menu.
  • Soft Shell Crab - $8.95
    • One crab with a body about the size of a pack of playing cards. The sauce appeared to be soy sauce with spring onions.
    • Strangely flavourless crab. The predominant flavour here was slightly burnt batter, which might have just been bad luck on our part to get a slightly overdone crab. And which may have overshadowed whatever crab taste there was. A shame.
    • Felt like a rather small order for $8.95.
  • Sockeye Salmon (5 pc) - $7.95
    • Very red pieces of salmon, so there's a possibility these are farmed salmon (who are often given supplements in their diet that enhances the redness of their flesh).
    • Not very flavourful. Not fishy tasting, either, so wasabi isn't needed unless you just like the taste of wasabi.
  • Oishii Roll - $12.95
    • At $12.95 menu price it seems pricey for a premium roll, weighing in at about a dollar per piece of 1-inch-wide sushi.
    • This is a pretty tasty roll! Sauce on the place is slightly sweet. Clear flavour of the large chunk of prawn inside. This basically saved an otherwise less-than-passing-grade dinner.

The Groupon 4-course portion totalled 53.65 before tax, and that was the amount taken off by the Groupon.

Price-wise, Oishii Sushi is on par with that other pricey downtown sushi place, Miku Restaurant, which is also Ocean Wise, and has much better taste, ambiance, service, and presentation. It's hard to beat a basically half-price coupon (if you've got one) but if you have to pay full price and are prepared for pricey sushi, I would recommend Miku Restaurant instead. The "Select" samplers (such as the 12-piece "Premium Select") are a safe way to try several tastes.

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