I’m a sushi snob — there I said it! I’m not a fan of rolls — I’ll eat it if out with a bunch of friend — but other than that, it’s pretty much omakase, all the way with me. Omakase literally means “it’s up to you”, leaving your entire meal up to the chef’s discretion.
There are a few Orange County favorites I regularly frequent but are rather pricey averaging around $100 per person so I don’t go as often as I’d like.
My friend Quinn recently introduced me to Ohshima’s omakase which she informs me is very reasonable. I’d been to Ohshima a long time ago but only had a bowl of chirashi and remembered it to be good, but that’s the extent of my experience with the restaurant.
We met at 1pm to avoid the lunch crowd and it was nice to find only two people sitting at the sushi bar and another table finishing up. After we sit down, the chef asked our likes and dislikes before starting the omakase.
Our meal started off with sea bream, a white fish with a firmer texture than the more common varieties of fish available on the nigiri sushi menu.
Some Himalayan pink salt is grated over the top to finish, bringing out its natural taste. This is mild, a little chewy but very pleasantly so.
When presented with our second fish I was intrigued as I’d never had Gold Stripe before and asked what sort of fish it falls under.
I’m told it is from the yellowtail family –that’s why it was not only familiar but something I enjoyed a lot! I love yellowtail and this unique variety is flavorful but slightly different. Seasoned with a brush of special soy, it was absolutely delicious.
Cherry Salmon is a lot richer and concentrated in taste than your regular salmon, and melted in my mouth.
It was a heavenly moment because I am not a huge fan of salmon (except when it comes to sashimi) and I surprised myself at how much I loved its flavor and texture. I really wanted another but there was a lot more to come.
Bluefin tuna is one of the prized cuts when it comes to sashimi and here, the chef adds a touch of shoyu (Japanese soy sauce) to it, lending it a subtle saltiness which might have been ruined had you dipped it uncontrollably into a plate of soy on your own.
Our next item was something I love — scallops — and these were Japanese scallops (pre-earthquake/tsunami mind you). A plump succulent mollusk, so tender and succulent, was filled with umami that you get a burst of the ocean in your mouth. This was one of my favorites.
When the chef asked me what some of my favorite fish were, one of my mentions was amberjack. He made sure to include it into our meal.
A member of the mackerel family, the fish is a little more pungent than the others but I love its slightly sharp fishiness but never off-putting.
I’d never had Red fish as sashimi before and here, it is served with a touch of yuzu, an aromatic Japanese citrus fruit.
The fish is a touch chewy but flavorful enough that I overlooked its texture. The yuzu adds a flavor burst to this otherwise mild fish.
Who doesn’t love Black cod? When I lived in Hawaii, I ate this fish three times a week. Here, it is slightly torched and the char enhances the fattiness of the fish even more so by giving it both the cooked and raw contrast in one mouthful.
Those who know me will tell you that I have a weakness for Uni (sea urchin) and the mounds of sea urchin on the morsel of rice [resented to me was unbelievably tantalizing.
Frankly, I can eat uni on its own with some rice. I’m not fussy. Uni any which way is good in my book as long as it is fresh. Do not eat uni if it is not bright in color. If there is any “grayness” to it, it is old!
Sea Bass with ponzu sauce should’ve been served before the uni because usually, after I eat uni, no other fish can compare. However our meal ended delightfully with the scallions and citrusy ponzu topping cleansing my palate, tying everything together.
Our 10-piece meal came to $42 with tax and tip — not too shabby at all. I’m not sure if dinner prices are the same — I doubt it — so go for lunch, check it out. If it is what you like, then go back for dinner! You won’t regret it.
Ohshima Japanese Cuisine
1956 N Tustin Street
Orange, CA 92865