By David Seo
Photos by David Seo
When thinking of sushi, simplicity immediately comes to mind. But at Oba Sushi Izakaya, each piece of fish is a project of passion.
When going to Oba, ordering the udon or the teriyaki chicken are safe bets, as they both encapsulate the delicious flavors of Japanese cuisine. But the real superstars of Oba are the fresh, a la carte sashimi (sushi without the rice). Head chef Alfonzo always prepares each slice of fish with the highest respect, and when the food is finally plated, his painstaking effort combined with the sheer quality of the fish culminate to one succulent bite.
A highlight of their menu is the live amebi, or raw sweet shrimp. Nothing compares to the fantastic texture, not too tough but not too soft either – almost as if it melts away in your mouth. The freshness is visible; instead of the normal white-pinkish color, their shrimp is almost translucent. The taste is the perfect balance of salty and sweet, capturing the deep flavor of the sea with a tang.
Established in 2008, Oba’s wide and distinctive selection of fish may surprise newcomers. Typically, sushi restaurants are sure to hit the basics. Salmon, tuna, and california rolls translates into a steady stream of happy customers. But Oba has taken a different path to success. The founder of the restaurant, Kunche, made a devotion to high-quality and diverse fish from the very beginning. But with their unique collection, it also calls for a reliable clientele, one that takes time to build and grow.
“Business at Oba started slow, which often meant we often had to throw away fish that wasn’t eaten,” Kunche said. “But we never jeopardized the fish quality, because we knew eventually we would gain our client base.”
This fundamental love of sushi bonds the staff at Oba. Many members of the staff had worked together at a different restaurant for over a decade, where they realized their shared respect they have for the food and each other. From all the experience they had gained, the staff at Oba have formed this innate passion for the food they present.
With its passionate staff and quality fish, customers are guaranteed nothing but the best from Oba. As Kunche sums up, “I think for me, I wanted to cater to what I want to see. When my guests smile and are happy, I’m happy.”