Monday, October 17, 2011

Ohshima—Restaurant Review

[Warning: If you're not comfortable seeing live or whole seafood ingredients: including heads and tails, you might want to click away now.  Otherwise, keep on reading for some good eats.]

2011-07-29_19-11-58_741 edited

I used to live just 15 minutes away from a Japanese community in Los Angeles and pretty much surrounded by authentic Japanese restaurants.  After moving to the Orange county, I haven’t really had Japanese food until my visit to Ohshima.  Ohshima offers a wide variety of Japanese cuisine, both cooked and raw, a full menu from appetizers to desserts.  But if you plan to dine at this place, “Omakase” at the sushi bar is highly recommended.

2011-07-29_19-12-08_989 edited

Omakase (お任せ) is a Japanese phrase that means "I'll leave it to you". The expression is used at sushi restaurants to leave the selection to the chef.  The chef will generally present a series of plates, beginning with the lightest fare and proceeding to heaviest, richest dishes.

As noted on the menu, the nigiri sushi of the Omakase already came seasoned.  You don’t need to dip them in the soy sauce, really!  You can truly taste the natural sweetness of the fish/seafood and all of them were awesome and super fresh.  My husband and I both ordered the 12 pieces Omakase…and we ended up having more than 12!  Smile with tongue out 

We’ve been to Ohshima in two separate occasions.  On our first visit, we enjoyed the Omakase at the sushi bar.   The second time we sat at the table and ordered from their regular a la carte menu and both were excellent.  First, I’ll post the pictures of the Omakase.

Please excuse the quality of these photos.  As they were taken from a cell phone, not my regular camera.

First, we started with a small plate of complimentary pickled veggies. 

Appetizer edited

A glass of cold sake for each of us.

Sake Edited

The chefs working behind the sushi bar, busy preparing our food!  They were very friendly and attentive.

The 3 Sushi Bar Chef

We started off with Diver’s Scallop.  Super fresh and sweet.  The tangy Yuzu is a perfect match for it.

2011-07-29_19-08-32_941 edited

Up next was Sea Bass. Refreshing and sweet.

2011-07-29_19-18-34_972 edited

Spanish Mackerel.  You can really taste the ocean from this Mackerel.

2011-07-29_19-35-50_435 edited

Toro (fatty tuna) charred with blow torch.  Any food involved a blow torch is just delicious.   Charring really added a nice smoky flavor to the fish.  I love the contrast of texture from the charred and raw flash.

2011-07-29_19-13-56_257 edited

Baby Yellowtail. Another "melt in your mouth" goodness.

2011-07-29_19-22-04_472 edited

Cherry Salmon.  Not your usual Salmon.  It's flown in from Japan.

2011-07-29_19-29-50_968 edited

Amberjack.  Sweet, fresh and great texture.  The flash is a bit firmer from the rest.

2011-07-29_19-39-39_884 edited

Sweet Shrimp Inari.  Yes, it was still swimming a minute before it was served.  The flash was still “moving” when it was on our plate.  The Chef was behind the counter holding the tail of the shrimp so we could take a picture.

2011-07-29_20-26-50_429 edite

Sweet Shrimp Inari.  It's about the freshest as it can get.

2011-07-29_19-50-51_502 edited

Deep Fried Sweet Shrimp heads. So crispy and light.  I love it because it’s not greasy at all and you can eat the whole thing including the tentacle.

2011-07-29_19-54-24_459 edited

Bonito Nigiri.  Great flavor.

2011-07-29_20-01-07_433 edited

Albacore with Secret Garlic Sauce and Chips.  So pungent, rich and flavorful.  The crispy garlic chips on top made a nice contrast in the texture and add another level of garlic-ey deliciousness.

2011-07-29_20-07-10_532 edited

Black Cod charred by a blow torch.

2011-07-29_20-15-50_338 edited

Uni (Sea Urchin) was super fresh and melt in your mouth.

2011-07-29_20-20-39_262 edited

Blue Crab Handroll, a nice way to conclude the savory part of our dinner.

2011-07-29_20-25-26_888 edited

Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Smoothie.  The chocolate cake was moist and delicious.  Perfect pairing with these Vanilla Smoothie.

2011-07-29_20-48-39_30 edtied

All the seafood were made with quality ingredients and super fresh.  However, it’s a bit on the pricey side.  But you really paid for what you get.  Our bill for two including sake and dessert came a bit under $160 total, including tax. 

Up next, our second visit with a la carte items.

We started off with Home Made Marinated Uni.  Fresh, sweet, rich and delicious.  The seaweed salad on the bottom made a nice contrast on the texture.  The fresh wasabi on top compliment the Uni nicely.

2011-10-16_19-07-04_964 edited

Seaweed Salad.  A very refreshing salad.  I love the crunchy and bouncy texture from different type of seaweeds in this salad.  The amount of dressing was just perfect.

2011-10-16_19-11-37_271 edited

Baked Scallop Crabmeat Wrapped in Salmon.  It’s wonderful and unique.  The Crabmeat and scallop “stuffing” is chopped and wrapped with a piece of salmon fillet and baked to perfection. You can really taste the crabmeat and scallops inside.

2011-10-16_19-17-13_516 edited

Miso Duck and Forbidden Rice.  The duck was beautifully done.  The blackberry sauce was divine and compliment the duck nicely.  The duck was succulent and juicy. The Forbidden Black Rice has a great texture similar to brown rice and a mild nutty flavor, the perfect bed for the duck.

2011-10-16_19-22-59_132 edited

Last but not least, the Amberjack Collar.  I had yellowtail collar many times before so I opted to try the Amberjack Collar this time.  This fatty fish collar was perfectly done.  The collar was boiled to perfection with a minimal of seasoning.  It’s served with grated daikon, along with some light soy sauce and a wedge of lemon.  The portion was generous.  Basically, it was half of the fish head along with the collar instead of just the collar.

2011-10-16_19-25-13_202 edited

We also ordered Udon noodle soup and a Toro cut roll (nothing special on these two).   The total bill was low $70s after tax.  We didn’t order sake nor desserts this time because the kids were rushing us to go home after they were done.

Conclusion: Ohshima is an authentic Japanese restaurant that serves fresh and quality seafood and many unique a la carte dishes.  The dining area is rather small though.  There are only about 12 sushi bar seats and less than 10 tables all together.  You might want to make a reservation before you go or be there early to avoid the line.  Also, there’s no high chair nor booster seat available at the restaurant.  Despite these drawbacks, My husband and I DO plan to go back there again in the future. There were quite a few more other items on the menu we would love to try on our next visit.    

1956 N Tustin St
Orange, CA 
(714) 998-0098



  1. I feel sorry for the lobster - how frightening to be boiled alive.

  2. @ Cinderella: There's no lobster in this post, and NO ONE got boiled alive. :) There must be some misunderstanding. Anyway, have a good day.

  3. I love sushi, Amy but I like the cooked one although I can eat some fresh raw fish too. The presentation is so beautiful. The dessert looks so good....Christine

  4. What a great post. Wonderful pictures. No tenticles for me!!!

  5. Sounds and looks fantastic! I was always ambivalent about sushi nigiri and preferred the rolls UNTIL I ate Omakase at Hama Sushi in Encinitas, CA. It was amazing and has forever turned me into a sushi obsessed long as it's really good sushi.

  6. Thanks, Geni. Hama Sushi sounds wonderful. I gotta research this one and will try that when I'm in the area. Thanks for sharing your sushi experience. :)


  7. Wow that all looks so good! I love sushi, Japanese food is always so elegant looking.