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POSTED BY JASON FETTERS, September 9, 2012 Share
Luckily for me, I have good friends who know great people and those friends call me to invite me to cool things. Such was the case this weekend when I attended the Grand Opening of Oyishi, (a variation on the Japanese word for delicious, “oishii,”) a brand new buffet that has some Chinese items and, more importantly, sushi.
Arriving at the restaurant on Causeway Blvd in Brandon near Publix, I met my friend and we walked inside and he introduced me to the owner who was making every effort to ensure his restaurant was a success. Then it was time to take a seat and get started.
Our waitress took our drink orders, I wanted iced green tea, the perfect beverage for hot Florida summers, and we chatted with her for a while. She is half Japanese and lived in Japan for a few years. She told me how she was riding the train by herself one day, and was shocked to see guys dressed up in Naruto cosplay costumes. Japan will always have interesting fashion that eventually moves out of Japan and influences the rest of the world. Just go to any given Anime con, in the US, and you will see similar guys dressed as Naurto.
After that, it was time to take a quick look at the buffet before digging in. I try to hold back so I can take it all in before I even pick up a plate. With my stomach growling, I quickly walked down the many aisles to scoop out what looked good. Then I got my plate and my friend recommended the Coconut shrimp, unless other places, the shrimp wasn’t heavily breaded with coconuts flakes tossed it. This was much better because it was lightly breaded with a melted coconut mixture coating the shrimp. I got a bowl of Miso soup to try it when I saw the soups. This reminded me of my college days back at Kansai Gaidai with large soup containers of Miso and plenty of bowls next to it. For a buffet, the Miso soup was actually good with Wakame seaweed and chucks of Tofu.
I also got some seaweed salad and then it was time to put as many sushi rolls on my first plate as I could. Sushi is one of my favorite foods, and the sushi chefs at Oyishi really went the extra mile to add a nice balance of color to their creations. Sushi has to look good, it is not just about taste. For Japanese cuisine, presentation is key and care is taken to create a miniature work of art.
I returned to our table to get started. The sushi was actually good. Usually I’m warily of buffet sushi, which is usually bland California rolls, but this was much better. There was even Nigirizushi, the long pieces of fish over rice. I tried the Snapper and Tuna and both were good.
Oyishi also has Hibachi so I ordered chicken Teriyaki to try it out. When the waitress brought it to my table, it looked really good. The plate had small chucks of chicken with just the right amount of Teriyaki glaze, and there was no overabundance of salt, pepper or other spices that other restaurants have a bad habit of doing. I think some chefs really pour on the spices to make up for a bad Teriyaki sauce. I even ordered fried rice, something I usually don’t do because I prefer steamed rice. The fried rice was good and I ate it with a spoon, a technique I learned from living with my Japanese host family. For years I would always attempt to eat fried rice in Chinese restaurants with chopsticks until I couldn’t pick up the rice anymore then I had to admit failure and use a fork. In Japan you start out with a spoon and stick with it. So it always makes me laugh to see people in the US trying to show they have good etiquette by using chopsticks to eat fried rice with. You do have other utensils at your table for a reason. Last but not least, my plate of chicken Teriyaki and fried rice had grilled vegetables that were not overcooked and just right.
So now I had to take a brief break before going back for my last round of sushi. Then it was time for green tea ice cream and my friend looked at me strange when I put chocolate syrup on top. In Japan, I have seen green tea ice cream with all kinds of different toppings. My favorite is azuki beans.
My friend pointed out that the owner’s father put in a lot of time designing the interior of the restaurant. He did intricate woodwork, put up Japanese lanterns, and carefully balanced all the artwork with an even blend of traditional and modern Asian aesthetics.
Overall, I was pleased with my dining experience at Oyishi. From joking with our waitress, who told us some funny stories about Japan, to eating all kinds of sushi and Chinese dishes, Oyishi has something for even the die-hard, jaded sushi enthusiast. So if you happen to be hungry in Brandon, then stop in at Oyishi and experience it for yourself.
A big special thanks to the owner for allowing us to take pictures inside.
5 out of 5 Stars
"The Asian Aperture" is ©2012 by Jason Fetters. All contents of Crazed Fanboy are ©2012 by Nolan B. Canova and Terence Nuzum.
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