So, the bonenkai party season has been and gone, but as surely as night follows day, we are now into the shinnenkai, new year party time of year. That will of course not last long, but soon we will be heading to sayonara parties, hanami post-parties and with birthdays and other various dos thrown in for good measure, sometimes it feels like life in Japan is a never-ending series of reasons to celebrate.
While this is no bad thing, it can become a little tiring, a situation not helped by the fact that, no matter at which izakaya the parties are held, the food is always the same. The same karaage and tebasaki, the same yakitori and edamame, and by the time it gets to summer, if you see yet another bowl of limp french fries you are ready to hurl them in the birthday girl’s stupid face!
Obviously standard izakaya food isn’t inherently bad, but the Bill Murray-esque repetition is starting to get my goat. Which is why I think that Oshidori Sushi in Sakae would make a perfect venue for any upcoming events you wish to plan.
You can recognise Oshidori Sushi, just a three-minute walk from the well known gaijin bar Red Rock by the huge mural on the building’s outer wall. Now this made me think of large London-based Japanese restaurant chains, but when you enter the restaurant itself it all feels a little incongruous; the intimate sushi counter and bamboo structures giving it more of a traditional feel.
The ground floor is small and cosy, non-smoking and a great place to enjoy their fantastic lunch deals. For just ¥920 you get a staggering lunch of sweet and succulent nigri sushi and fresh, light sashimi (pictured). As well as that there are makizushi rolls, deep-fried snapper and ebi fry that is extraordinarily plump and just falls away in the mouth.
But as amazing as the lunch deal is, particularly mid-Saturday shopping trip, for me Oshidori Sushi is more perfectly suited to parties and gatherings of friends.
That’s because on the second floor you can find traditional-style rooms that cater for variously sized parties, seating two, six, ten, or up to forty people. If you are in the need of privacy you can take advantage of their free-of-charge private dining room that sits sixteen, has its own kitchen, and means you can bring your own entertainment such as music or the like. No matter the size of your gathering, you can be guaranteed great food, thanks to the fact that Oshidori Sushi source all of their fish directly from the port, meaning that there is no middle-man, no fish market, and as such it is all as fresh as it can possibly be.
Sushi has something of a reputation for being on the pricey side, but I found that this was not the case at Oshidori Sushi. For only ¥1,980 you can get a sashimi plate ideal to share with a couple of friends. Now this dish is massive, with some extremely fatty tuna, delicious amberjack and a decorative and crunchy sazae shellfish that wasn’t as bitter as I have known it to be in other restaurants. Those three come as standard, but there are also three other types that change on a daily basis, and on my visit we had some ultra-soft octopus, snapper that was as fluffy as the frankly immense tamago-yaki fried egg side dish we had, cooked using cochin chicken broth, and some okoze that, rather unusually, still had the skin on and was all the better for it. It was so big that I was totally shocked to be informed that the ¥1,980 price tag was for the whole dish and not per person.
The chef’s special sushi plate I tried is equally huge and delicious. On my visit we had some unbelievably fresh prawns; sooooo-fatty tuna, octopus and snapper; Spanish mackerel; the little ikura bombs that I am growing to enjoy; and some uni urchin that tasted like liquidy-heaven. And as amazing as that was, there was also an entire anago… And now I have probably lost you.
That’s because anago is not a fish that you will commonly find in a sushi restaurant, and that is something of a trend here. By dealing directly with the port the seasonal menu is always changing, so every time you visit there is something new and you can be adventurous, discovering new things, such as I did with the anago (it is a kind of eel, and the special way Oshidori Sushi prepares it means that there is no fishy flavour and it is extraordinarily light).
In fact, you are never restricted to things that you don’t want, which is sometimes an issue when you get set meals at izakaya parties, where you are always stuck with a course that nobody likes. But were you to have a sushi or sashimi party – both of which come with nomihoudai from ¥5,000 – you can expect a variety of tastes, choosing from the English menu, or you can even tell them your budget and they can create a special menu, just for you.
And that’s great, because it means that on those occasions with your friends – whether it’s, sayonara parties, engagements or birthdays (and if you do have a birthday party there, you just have to try the soy sauce flavoured ice cream, as it’s caramelly out of this world!) or even if just you want to get out and have a good time with a bunch of mates, you can have some amazing sushi at reasonable prices and really escape that Groundhog day party merry-go-round at Oshidori Sushi.