Simple Japanese In Huntington Village
By Pete & Rosie/
Osaka. The city at the heart of Japan’s second most
populous area, Osaka is also considered the island nation’s
food capital. And in a nation of well over 125-million people,
that’s a lot of good food.
In these parts, Osaka is an oasis of Japanese cuisine. That
tiny restaurant on Main Street at the western end of Huntington
Village, Osaka is everything you want a sushi restaurant to
The restaurant is simple, its décor so inobtrusive
it’s almost Spartan. But the walls painted in a peachy
beige and hung with Japanese woodblock prints warm things
up, as does the low-volume Oriental music. It’s welcoming.
In all, there are no more than 30 seats at the restaurant,
including the four stools at the sushi bar. Unless we’re
with friends, that’s where we tend to sit. After all,
eating raw seafood is an act of faith and there’s something
reassuring about being able to look the chef in the eye as
he prepares your meal.
Over the years, Osaka’s chef has earned our faith. His
skillful hands roll tasty combinations of fish, vegetables
and roe, artfully arranging the final combination on a wooden
board. Though he tends to keep his eyes trained toward his
work on the counter below, we almost always catch him stealing
a glance as we take our first bites.
We’ve never gone wrong. There are more than three dozen
hand rolls on the menu ranging from the beginner’s favorite
— California roll ($4.25), consisting of avocado and
crab, to the Osaka Dream Roll ($13), a combination of tuna,
avocado and tempura crunch, all crowned with a slab of salmon
across the top. Most of the selections fall in the in the
$7 to $8 range, and include the usual cast of characters.
Among the highlights: Black Tiger Roll ($8) is a tangy combo
of tuna, pickled radish, cucumber and seaweed; Dragon Roll
($11) with crab, avocado and flying fish roe inside, and eel
on the top; and the fiery Dynamite Roll ($6.50) with tuna,
avocado, Masago and scallion, plus a spicy sauce.
For the faint-hearted for whom sushi’s too big an adventure,
there are several choices. Chicken Tempura Roll ($6.50) consists
of deep-fried chicken, avocado and cucumber; UFO Roll ($7)
brings together cooked salmon, vegetable and crab in a special
sauce. There are also several vegetarian selections ($4 to
Osaka’s kitchen, limited perhaps by its size, keeps
things simple. Salads are fresh and the tangy house dressing
always wakes our taste buds. Favorite entrees are the light
and crunchy fried Tempura (chicken $14.50, shrimp $14.95,
vegetables $13); and flavorful Teriyaki dishes (chicken $13,
salmon $15, beef $17, shrimp $18). The rich Teriyaki sauce
in our mind is best with beef. For dinner, add $4 and get
Miso Soup starter and ice cream after.
Easily the best buy at Osaka comes at lunchtime. More than
a dozen “box lunch” specials offered Monday through
Saturday include Teriyaki, Tempura, Sushi and Katsu selections
($8.95 to $13.95) or a limited selection of rolls (any two,
$8.95; three, $12.95).
Service at any time of day is efficient and inobtrusive. And
while we appreciate their speed at lunchtime, the calm atmosphere
sometimes encourages us to linger.
Osaka Japanese Restaurant
328 Main Street, Huntington
Atmosphere: Soothing and simple
Hours: Monday through Thursday 11:30 a.m.
to 10 p.m.
Friday and Saturday 11:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.