It was a small neighborhood restaurant without much neighborhood and featuring Asian food instead of burgers and pizza.
“Oishi” in Japanese (also spelled “oishii”) means delicious, really good tasting, yummy or enjoyable. But “fu kinto,” meaning uneven or imbalance might have been a more appropriate name for the restaurant.
The venue was simple, charming and immaculate. Service by Ivy exhibited a perfect balance between caring and invisibility. In the small restaurant, Ivy was present when we needed her and invisible when we did not. The eight tables were arranged neatly on a black and white tile floor with the sushi bar situated off to the left.
Take-out and eat-in was slow the Thursday evening we were there. We studied the relatively long menu with diligence, ordering two small plates and one entrée each.
Guest’s Vegetable Tempura appetizer ($7.00) was judged “perfect!” But by the time I sampled a piece of broccoli, the fried covering had lost its crispness. I’m guessing the soggy coating might have been normal, but the mushy broccoli may have been initially over par-boiled. Guest had not observed its texture because she had not eaten a piece.
Her Avocado Salad ($5.00), however, consisted of a perfectly ripe avocado half in longitudinal slices while still maintaining the depression where the pit was removed. House ginger dressing filled the depression and the dish was finished with lettuce, a small tomato and slivers of neon orange carrot. The menu suggested the salad would be sprinkled with sesame seeds, but none were observed. Nevertheless, guest was impressed by the quality and beauty of the plate.
Sushi comprised more than half the menu. Guest requested the Tokyo Roll ($11.00) as her entrée. Shrimp tempura and cream cheese were rolled inside the rice sleeping bag with crunchy spicy crab, spicy mayo on top and eel sauce squiggled on the dish along the side. While my guest commented that the beauty of the presentations was not always matched by the taste of the food, she was mightily impressed by the contrast of the soft cream cheese filling and the crunchy crab crown.
I’ve become addicted to Tom Yum Soup ($5.00, with shrimp, basil, vegetables, garlic, chili peppers, lime, and coconut milk), yet the three very small shrimp swimming in the spicy liquid were disappointing. The flavor of the soup was not as pronounced as the Tom Yum I have enjoyed in the past.
I love avocado, mango and cucumber, and together, they are heavenly. Oishi’s version of that sushi combination was served with two sauces — one that tasted like a peanut/ginger concoction, and the other reminiscent of the ginger salad dressing served at the restaurant.
My Hibachi Combo of shrimp and steak ($23.00), ordered medium rare, produced a colorful palette on a large white square plate. Five medium shrimp and 10 small cubes of steak were complimented with small grilled pieces of vegetables (among them broccoli, red and green peppers and onions), soft noodles and garnished with orange slices, thin curls of beets and a parsley sprig. While the meat, shrimp and vegetables were mildly seasoned, the noodles were oily and bland. The uniform size of the pieces made my less than adept skill with chopsticks relatively effective, although it provided less interest than varied sizes might have offered.
The dessert menu appeared to be of the commercial variety (although I confess to enjoy the refreshing citrus sorbet in a frozen orange peel shell). But we were “very well satisfied” to quote my father and passed.
NAPKIN NOTES: Although sashimi (raw fish) was a prominent item on the menu, neither guest nor I are fans and did not sample Oishi’s offerings in this category, preferring to order sushi (vinegar rice rolls) instead.
Oishi Asian Cuisine
WHERE: 408 Sacandaga Road, Scotia, 518-280-0119, 518-280-1292
WHEN: Mon-closed; Tue-Thur 11:00 a.m. – 9:30 p.m.; Fri-Sat 11:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.; Sun 11:30 a.m. – 9:30 p.m.
HOW MUCH: $59.50 without tax and tip
MORE INFO: parking lot, major credit cards accepted, noise level permits conversation, accessible, dine-in, take-out