Ocean Sushi

Categories: Asian, Casual, Eat-in, Take-away
Comments: 1 Comment
Published on: April 23, 2014

On Oswego Rd in Liverpool, across from Kost Tire and katty-corner from the entrance to Bayberry is a tiny little plaza. There’s a Starbucks here, a FroYo shop and a custom embroidery place.  And in the middle of it all sits Ocean Sushi.

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The plaza is cute, like cute ’cause it’s small.  Ocean Sushi is small.  In a way it reminds me of the tiny bars & shops you find along the streets in Japan.  Okay, it’s a lot bigger on the inside than that, but by American standards it’s kinda small.  There’s half a dozen seats at the immaculately neat and clean sushi bar, and a series of tables for parties of various sizes.  I’ve been here as part of a romantic dinner for two, and as part of a raucous party of 8.  The tables have a crackly, beat-up finish, but I think that’s on purpose.  The rest of the place is as neat and clean as the bar area.

On my last visit I was with my wife.  I introduced her to sushi years ago, and she loves it.  She even branched out and tried eel a few years ago, and she even loves that.  I, on the other hand, have gotten more and more stodgy when it comes to sushi and sashimi.  For me, it’s all about the tuna now.

It was around 8 PM, and there were I think 3 other parties there – a couple of business men, a couple lovers in the back, and a table of six loud women who seemed to be planning a school reunion and a wedding.  During lunch I find the parties are smaller and quieter.  The place does serve alcohol, but I think the women were just fueled by excitement.

Okay, we started off with a small mixed plate of sushi as an appetizer.  I can’t remember if there are 7 or 9 pieces.  There’s only one main sushi chef, and he’s pretty fast, but it took us a while to get the app, as he was working on plates for the others.  Our drink orders were served immediately, though.  She got water, I got diet soda, and we both got hot tea.  Not green tea – not sure what it is, exactly.  It reminds me of the barley tea we were served in Okinawa.  Miso soup came next.  My wife ate a few spoons full, then passed her cup over to me.  Yes, it’s salty, but she is not a fan of the taste/texture combination.

The sushi came out.  The actual fish is fresh and clean – I’ve never had a suspect piece of raw fish here.  It was firm enough to sink your teeth into, but most of it fell apart in our mouths.  Not so much the octopus – neither of us is a fan, and we tend to leave it, although I’ve gotten it down on occasion.

This is actually a combination Japanese/Korean restaurant, and I’ve had some of the hot dishes from the kitchen in the past.  Tonight though, I went with the tekka don – a bowl of sushi rice covered in tuna slices.  My wife ordered the spicy crab salad and finished the sushi app.

The mouthfeel of the tuna is smooth, cool.  It tastes fresh, lightly briney.  I usually only dip every third or 4th piece in the wasabi/soy sauce mixture I put together.  But it’s the sushi rice here that I think deserves a mention.  Proper sushi rice isn’t just some stuff you put in a steamer, then glop out into a bowl or roll up in balls for sushi.  It takes time and effort, and is seasoned with rice wine vinegar.  Too much vinegar and you ruin it, not enough and you can’t taste it.  But Ocean Sushi’s rice is consistently good!  The vinegar gives the rice this sort of smoky taste, not “spicy” or “hot” at all, but you taste it when you eat some of the rice by itself.  Behind the raw fish, it gives a subtle yet complex flavor.

I know, I sound like one of those serious wine connoisseurs, but I can’t help it.  Good sushi rice, done right, has a unique taste.  I think they do it right at this place.

The spicy crab salad, by the way, is made with fake crab.  But it is spicy – some bites excessively so – and still good.

It takes a while to get dinner, but not long to eat it (unless you’re talking and laughing).  We always tend to over order when we go there, but it’s just so danged good!  It cost us around $60 with tax and tip for the two of us, but you don’t have to get all the extras.  Two people could probably eat well for $40 there.  True, good sushi is not cheap, especially in landlocked Syracuse, but it’s worth it.

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  1. Charles McGraw says:

    Agree, I’ve never had a bad piece of fish there. Only eaten lunches, but service time was what I expected from hand-crafted food. If you want fast go see the Burger King and live with the food. Always clean and attentive wait staff. Nice place for a lunch with conversation.

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