SPECIAL to Eating Las Vegas by Greg Thilmont:
All-you-can-eat sushi places generally come across as disappointing, dicey propositions to me. Most are expensive for the quality of nigiri they serve, and most lay out maki and more pre-made on buffet-style platters.
Nonetheless, I recently heard a few brief positive tidbits about Oyshi Sushi, so I followed curiosity to the Sahara Avenue location for a Sunday dinner exploration.
The most important find I made is that all the sushi at Oyshi is handmade per order (all-you-can-eat or à la carte) and is of a better quality than I’ve had at any such “one low price” establishment here in Las Vegas or beyond. In this case, $26 lets you roam most of the menu (sashimi and a few specialties excluded).
More interesting to me, however, was Oyshi’s offering of a number of traditional Japanese items not normally found all-you-can-eat establishments.
Firstly, I found natto on the menu (pictured above). These are funky, slimy bacillus-fermented soybeans. The bacteria transform the beans into a cottage cheese-like substance that’s a proverbial acquired taste. While I don’t crave natto daily, I do like to have a few bites now and then. (As a bonus, it’s loaded with Vitamin K and other trace nutrients.)
I next came upon rolls featuring gobo (burdock root), oshinko (pickled daikon radish), and kaiwari (daikon radish micro greens):
Burdock has a nice artichoke-like flavor, and the sprouts have a fresh, sharp taste and bring textural appeal. Another light roll featured one of my Japanese favorites: umeboshi. The magenta color of these salted plums is as vibrant to the eye as they are sour to the mouth:
(Umeboshi (pickled plum) rolls)
Oyshi goes through a lot of quail eggs, I suspect, as their luscious, tiny yolks accompany saline rolls of ikura (salmon roe) and mineral-tinged uni (sea urchin):
A few of the other standout proteins I sampled were ika (squid) stuffed with shiso (Japanese mint) and hokkigai (surf clam).
I didn’t roam much into Oyshi’s long list of more contemporary rolls, though I did try the “Sibuya,” a no-rice tempura bomb comprising spicy tuna, salmon, shrimp, avocado and masago (smelt roe) with eel sauce. It was rich but a diversion from my old school journey.
And while not uncommon, a quite nice agedashi tofu (deep-fried tofu topped with dried tuna shavings, scallions and ponzu sauce) was good enough for a repeat order:
Let’s be straightforward here: Oyshi’s $26 dinner ticket is not some $90 omakase chef’s choice culinary extravaganza, but for the price point, it’s pretty darn close — especially with the more traditional ingredients that are flecked throughout the menu.
7293 West Sahara Ave.
Greg Thilmont is a travel and food writer/photographer. He’s been a staffer at MSN Travel and Vegas.com. He’s written for Desert Companion, Las Vegas Weekly, Las Vegas Life, and Salt Lake magazines. We at ELV are always happy to hear from him, as we are from any well-spoken food enthusiast who knows what they’re talking about.