Wednesday, March 25, 2009

In The Kingdom Of Gourmandia: Part II

Saturday's Restaurant Week stop was the sole lunch date of the seven adventures, a belated celebration of Brent's return to Boston at Oishii in the South End.

Oishii must've anticipated a fiend such as myself might attend during Restaurant Week and require a bit more sushi than the three-course pre-fixe menu had allotted, and also offered their a la carte sushi and regular lunch menus as backup.

The atmosphere was dark and calm; the wall adjacent to the stairs leading to the downstairs dining area is a grey water fountain which ends up in a shallow pool surrounding the area below the stairs. Neat.

The pre-fixe appetizer choice was relatively uninspiring, a choice between sweet potato tempura -- a terrifying notion -- and miso soup -- a bore. I went with the soup, because fried foods leave me urpy, and watching Brent struggle to consume what looked, visually, like a fried rack of orange ribs on a skewer... well, I figured I'd gone with the less cumbersome appetizer, in the very least.

But it didn't matter, because next to the soup, and only slightly less cloudy, stood my pear cocktail. What on Earth is it about pear vodka with sparkling wine? Every establishment should offer such a cocktail. Nothing else is quite so tolerable in a martini glass. As a side note, I am rather opposed to the martini glass. For all its alleged elegance, it, above all other stemware, reduces the odds of the alcohol actually making it to my mouth, increasingly so with each installment.

If little children behave like drunks, and vice versa, shouldn't our grown-up beverages be served with crazy straws, or in sippy-cups? I'm just striving for efficiency, here.

The drinks were all made upstairs from where we were seated, by the way. This meant our server -- pleasant if a bit unpolished -- had to carry them down on a tray. When you're getting drunk on a Saturday afternoon, the only thing scarier than having to watch your waitress creep down the stairs with your drinks as she teeters left and right is... well, there's nothing more frightening, now, is there.

She actually managed to reach the bottom of the stairs without spilling each time, but then, presumably having relaxed her focus a bit, allowed a bit of each to escape when transfering them to our table.

And it was too of a place nice of a place for me to lap up the casualty.

The entree portion of the pre-fixe had three types of sushi. Chief amont them, a large roll, called the "Route 66," which contained -- if I recall correctly -- spicy tuna, cream cheese, shrimp tempura and lettuce with eel sauce. There was also a smaller roll of tuna, and some salmon nigiri. All very, very high quality. The sushi we ordered from the regular menu, however, was even better. Salt water eel topped with a slice of what appeared to be a pygmy lime and some lavender, a whole lobster claw balanced with a dash of old bay, Walu white tuna... all splendid.

I managed to stray from my pear concoction after managing to persuade Brent to let me try his ginger Manhattan. Neither of us are Manhattan guys, but he was raving to point where he didn't want to share in the first place. Thus, I had to try it, and, upon tasting it, was forced to subsequently order one for myself.

Dessert was green tea ice cream -- and a second ginger martini. Brent, who is picky about just everything, declared Oishii to have provided the best sushi he's ever had. So fond of my local -- less classy -- joint, Privus, I'm not sure I would echo that particular declaration, but Oishii is worthy of a repeat, if even only for drinks. Would do again.

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