25542 Jeronimo Road
Mission Viejo, CA 92691
It seems like every city has that restaurant location where every time you drive by, it is a new restaurant. When I used to go to Fullerton College, there was this restaurant on Chapman and Raymond that seemed to be a new eatery every semester. It must have changed names and types of cuisine at least ten times during my way too long stint at FJC. In the city of Mission Viejo there is a similarly cursed restaurant location that has now spawned another new venture, Oishii Sushi.
Oishii Sushi takes over for Inka Mar, which took over for Hacienda La Joya, which used to be another sushi restaurant, Fujayama. I am sure it has been other restaurants, but I have only lived in this area for just under five years. You have to wonder what makes a restaurateur think they can turn a location around. I mean, if a place has averaged a restaurant a year, for a good length of time, chances are stacked against you. This is what is facing the owners of Oishii Sushi.
I do give Oishii some credit though. They have really brightened this restaurant up since the last time we were here, when it was the Peruvian restaurant. The lighting is much better, and the staff seems very happy to interact with their customers. We were here on a cold Thursday night, with only about twenty people in the restaurant. Even with this small amount of people here, the owner or manager was really trying to incite a real party atmosphere at his restaurant. Not only do they have a Karaoke stage in the back corner, but he was walking around with a bottle of sake, offering free drinks to people. During our hour visit we also watched two sake bomb drinking contests, where the slowest drinker had the added shame of having things drawn on their faces with a makeup marker. Good times.
Oishii has a rather large menu, but almost everyone we saw on this night opted for the all you can eat option ($23.95). I know sushi purist hate AYCE sushi places. I know that the quality of seafood always suffers at this version of an all you can eat sushi buffet. This is okay with me. To be honest, I have had some real good sushi, and I can appreciate it, but I feel it is too expensive, and it is kind of lost on me. I would rather have some pretty good sushi, but leave a restaurant with a full stomach and a full wallet. So take this review as you will.
At Oishii they were less strict with their rules regarding the AYCE sushi. Sure you have to eat all of the rice, and you have to finish everything on your plate, but there were no limits on anything on their menu. Want four baked lobsters, you can do that here, unlike other AYCE places that limit some of their most expensive dishes. As a rule at these restaurants I almost always skip the appetizers, and focus on the sushi. Katie selected these appetizers to start. The Edamame was pretty basic, while the Gyoza followed suit by being average. This gyoza was filled with chicken and vegetables, but that is about all I can remember of it. The Teriyaki Yaki Soba was good in Katie's opinion, but the teriyaki really overtook this appetizer and made it real salty.
Our first round we started out very slow. We had the Super Philadelphia Roll, Baked Lobster Roll, and the Lakers Roll. The Super Philadelphia Roll was pretty basic. It tasted pretty fresh, but lacked a big pop of flavor. The baked lobster roll did have flavor, but the lobster on top of it is was pretty rubbery. The ponzu sauce really overpowered this. My favorite out of these three was the Lakers Roll. Funny, since I am not much of a basketball fan. This crunchy shrimp roll was topped with crab meat. How can you go wrong with shrimp and crab together? Basically, it is almost impossible. I would definitely get this one again on future visits.
Our sushi ship came in on the next round that we ordered. Stating from the bow of the ship and working our way back, we started with the Baked Green Mussels . These were okay. I have definitely had better baked mussels. They were pretty rubbery, and not as flavorful as others. The Spider Crab Roll was next, and included soft shell crab, avocado, cucumber, sprouts, and crab. I expected a lot more from this. The crab tasted a little off. Maybe it was not as fresh as it could have been, or it was not seasoned enough. Not bad, but very average. The Philadelphia Roll was pretty basic, and very forgettable. Again, it was very average. The best part of this sushi ship was the Fire Cracker Roll. Inside of this roll contained spicy scallops, avocado and cucumber, while the outside was topped with spicy tuna. The other sushi had put my taste buds to sleep, but this one woke them up with big flavors. I let Katie have the rest of this ship, as I gobbled down the rest of this Fire Cracker Roll. On to round three.
At this point we were nearing our capacity for food, so we ordered only two more rolls. The Spicy Tuna is a pretty simple roll, but was pretty good. The last of our rolls was the Golden Tiger Roll. This was my favorite of the night. Here they deep fry a crunchy shrimp roll, and then top it with spicy crab. Deep frying anything can always make everything better. The very light batter still let the contents of the sushi shine through. This was a very rich roll, but one that should not be missed.
At this point of the meal we were done, but the owner or maybe manager brought out this complimentary piece of Fried Yellowtail with a spicy seafood sauce. This thing must have just come out of the fryer, because it was scalding hot. After five minutes it finally cooled down enough so we could eat some of it. There were some big hunks of flaky fish on this. Katie is not fond of eating off of the bone, but I picked some good size pieces off for her. The sauce was an average tasting cocktail sauce, but went well with the fried fish. Not bad for a free plate of food.
I was curious, so when I got home I totaled up everything that we ate, based on the prices on their menu. It came out to $98. So getting the All You Can Eat option at $23.95 is the way to go here. I am not going to tell you this is the best sushi you will ever have, but you will definitely leave here very full. We had a very pleasant experience with the very friendly staff. They are really trying to promote a party atmosphere, reminiscent of a rock and roll sushi place, and for it being a slow Thursday night they succeeded. Everyone that we saw leaving the restaurant seemed to leave in a better mood. Time will tell what will become of Oishii Sushi, and if it can break the curse of this location.
Out of five sake bombs, (because these were very plentiful on the night we were here), five being best, to zero being worst, Oishii Sushi gets 2.5 sake bombs.
Oishii does not have a web, but you can find reviews and information here: http://www.yelp.com/biz/oishii-sushi-mission-viejo