Restaurant Spotlight - Oyama Sushi
Article by Jane Claspy Nesmith
Photography by Justin Fox
If there’s an orchid at the edge of my plate--I must be at Oyama Sushi and Steakhouse!
I know that every time I eat here, I’ll have not only a feast, but a feast for the eyes.
In Japanese culture, food is considered to be a type of art. It’s thought that if food is beautiful, it will taste better, especially if it has a balance of textures, colors, and flavors. Oyama Sushi and Steakhouse offers meals that are not only delicious, but beautiful.
As we sat down at our table for a late lunch at Oyama, I remembered that City Revealed publisher, the late Mary Walton, accompanied us on our last visit to the restaurant. We smiled as we remembered how enjoyable it was to have a meal with Mary--besides being a savvy businesswoman, she was also a warm and gracious lunch companion. On that occasion, we had enjoyed a Teppanyaki dinner--seated around a hot iron grill while the chef prepared us a meal--it was a festive and memorable occasion.
This time, we were in the mood for something quieter, but just as delicious--and very beautiful: sushi and steak.
We started with three sushi rolls from Oyama’s large selection: Nine Heavenly Roll, Fiesta Roll, and Party Animal Roll. Each roll is made fresh of rice with a variety of added ingredients: fish, vegetables, crunchy toppings, and sauces. Served with soy sauce and wasabi; sushi rolls are a taste treat.
Though the three rolls had similar ingredients, they had very different flavors: Nine Heavenly Roll’s shrimp, salmon and tuna contrasted with its smooth avocado sauce and crunchy toppings. Fiesta Roll had a bit of a bite: it featured chili sauce and jalapeno along with tuna, salmon, and cilantro. Everyone’s favorite was the humorously-named Party Animal Roll: it had shrimp tempura, cucumber and mango inside and was topped by avocado, eel, and mango sauce. We ate every bit of that roll.
Along with the cool rolls, we had a hot appetizer, Yaki Niku steak, tender carvings of steak cooked in a tangy sauce with onions. It made a nice contrast with the sushi.
The Hibachi Steak was on special, so we decided to try it. At $14.99 for the entree, we couldn’t pass it up. The ten-ounce steak was chopped and cooked Japanese style, and served with grilled shrimp, fried rice, and vegetables. We were brought small bowls of dipping sauce for the steak and vegetables: tangy ginger sauce and creamy yum-yum sauce.
Having the steak already cut up gave us all an opportunity to use our chopsticks--and we did pretty well! The steak was tender and juicy, seared on every side, with the perfect amount of marbling. A light and tangy marinade sauce gave it an extra zing of flavor. The vegetables were cooked tender-crisp: just perfect.
The special on Hibachi Steak goes through the end of September, too. Oyama’s regular customers will be enjoying that--and they’ll probably be joined by lots more locals looking for delicious and beautiful food.
There were some drink specials going on at Oyama when we were there: Kirin Beer Dry is only $3 a glass, but just for a limited time. And of course, there’s Sake Bomb specials on Thursday (just $2).
Oyama also has a new membership card: members are awarded points when they dine, and points add up for free food. Oyama is offering double points in September.
If we’d been with Mary, we would have ordered something from the dessert menu before we left: green tea or mango ice cream, maybe, or tempura cheesecake. We decided that just looking at the menu was enough for us that day.
One thing we all loved about eating at Oyama was the freshness of the food and the way it made us feel full but not stuffed. The restaurant’s mission is to “provide fresh, healthy, and delicious food for you in a friendly atmosphere.” Mission accomplished.
Oyama Sushi: 5350 Council St. NE Cedar Rapids,IA 52402