I had dinner last night at Oga (first time) and, as promised, here's my post.
The menu was long and wonderfully varied, with combinations of ingredients totally different from the standard fare that even Ginza, Fugakyu and Takeshima tend to offer. Everything on the Appetizer Specials sounded tantalizing, but with just 2 of us, I had to tell myself I could always come back again and again. So, armed with notes I'd taken from previous postings, we ordered the following meal.
Our first appetizer, Maguro in Spicy Minced Beef sauce ($9), was tasty but not knock-my-socks-off. Maguro is not my favourite fish (I prefer 'fishy' fish like saba and sake) but even so, it was disconcerting to find tendinous sheaths running through it. Perhaps it was the way it was cut (in towers, rather than slices). The beef sauce was flavourful but it overpowered the fish. It did go well with plain white rice though.
2nd appetizer was Stewed Eggplant with Salmon sashimi ($10). Again, good but not outstanding.
Since I was with a pisco-vegetarian who does not eat raw fish, the only sushi we ordered were Chilean Sea Bass ($4 for 2 pieces) and Tamago. The bass was very fresh but I think Hamachi is a tastier white fish. The egg had a nice light texture, but tasted ordinary. Unfortunately the sushi rice was a bit dry and kept detaching itself from my sea bass.
Then our Grilled Silver Cod entree ($17) arrived. It was recommended by our waitperson who advised that it would be much moister than the grilled salmon my friend had originally plumped for. I have to thank her for the suggestion. Buttery flakes of melt-in-your-mouth moist fish slid easily down my throat, serving only to make me want more. Fortunately there were 2 good-sized steaks in the serving, plenty for 2 people. Accompaniments (doubling as garnish) were a couple of raw broccoli and cauliflower florets, a few asparagus spears, and one slice of (very ordinary-tasting) California roll in a pool of mayo.
As good as that was, the next dish was even more delicious! Freshwater eel stewed with julienned burdock root in a sukiyaki-like sauce, topped with scrambled egg (similar to the egg-onion topping on katsu-don), served in a hot ?ironstone dish (~$10). We both groaned in ecstasy at our first mouthful (fortunately we were in a booth so spared the other diners a Harry-met-Sally experience). It was unbelievably good! Better than Silver Cod, better than Unadon. A bowlful of sticky rice was the perfect complement.
And that was it, we were full [sob]! Too full to try the Ayu, special hand rolls, more sushi, agemono dishes.
Service was attentive and our waitperson (who is from Taiwan) kept popping by to check on us, which was a good thing as we weren't too visible in the tatami booth (but good for privacy). She looked very young but she obviously knew her stuff as her recommendations (except for the tamago) were spot-on. Maybe we got better service because I was able to chat with her in Mandarin (my parents will be so pleased that all those years of Mandarin tuition is finally paying off!) and she'd gone to high school in Singapore (my home).
[Side-note: in the true Chowhound spirit of always being on the lookout for more Chow-ish places to eat, I asked her where she would go for Taiwanese food. Her reply : back to Taiwan. And she could not be prevailed upon to comment on Taiwan Cafe or Chung Shing Yuan (is that a bad sign ?)]
Our bill was $34pp which included taxes & tip (no alcohol) which, to me, is a good deal. Oga has the best Japanese food I've had in Boston and I'm planning to go back many times. Just wish it was closer to town so that I could drop by on my way home from work. I know many Chounds have sung Oishii's praises but I haven't yet recovered from my experience with bad service there, and so am not willing to chance it a 2nd time.
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