Even though NE 23rd Street is one of the most historical streets in Oklahoma City, many locals tend to forget that it’s also home to some of the most grassroots and homegrown eateries in town, the best having a specific focus on soul food, barbecue and old-fashioned Southern cooking. NE 23rd Street restaurants are OKC’s culinary history all in a few blocks and really should be revered as such.
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The Sushi Bar
1201 N.W.178th, Edmond
What works: Hamachi Kama and All ’Bout Tuna are tasty.
What needs work: slow service, noisy dining room, some overly complicated rolls
Tips: Call ahead if you think it might be busy. Consider sitting at the bar.
Yeah, I know. But really, it’s not like the other sushi restaurants in the metro are so creative either. Tokyo? Sushi Neko? Shawn’s Sushi?
I mean, as long as you get the idea of the cuisine it serves, what’s it matter?
Well, The Sushi Bar serves a few things. There’s sushi. There’s cooked entrees. And there’s something it calls sushi, but we’ll get to that.
It’s a well-decorated space, although a bit dark. And because it’s nice and there’s not a lot of competition, you may have to wait for a table.
Service is a little slow. The place is kind of noisy. Not deal-breakers, but it’s good to know going in.
For starters, the miso soup ($2) is exactly what you’re expecting. Ditto the edamame ($4 for small, $6 for large).
But what you really need to try is the Hamachi Kama ($12), grilled yellowtail cheek on the bone. There’s a light soy glaze. It is very tender and flavorful. It’s a little tricky to eat, but I feel like you’ll figure it out. Actually, once you get the first bite off there, I’m only worried you’ll be gnawing on the jaw in the middle of the restaurant like I was.If you want a cooked entree, there are options: shrimp, chicken, duck, crab and steak. Not everybody digs raw fish. I don’t get that reluctance myself, but there you have it. And if you’re one of those weirdos, you might like the salmon teriyaki ($22). It’s got a bit of sweetness because it’s glazed with a raspberry teriyaki sauce, but the salmon was cooked right. You also get sides, like the grilled asparagus or the sautéed fettuccine.
Another option is wasabi mashed potatoes. They’re fine mashed potatoes. They do not taste like wasabi. At all. Use that info as you will.
When I go to a place called The Sushi Bar, however, I’m getting sushi.
But I’m not getting the Hokkigai nigiri ($5) again. It’s surf clam, and it was fresh. It was just kind of chewy, which is not my thing. Preferred were the simple tuna ($5), salmon ($5) and sea urchin ($9).
What about fancy rolls? Well? What about them? The place has plenty of options, such as the spicy Hatori Hanzo roll ($8), which is stuffed full of tuna, fried calamari and asparagus.
Myself, I preferred the All ’Bout Tuna roll ($13) because I like tuna and this has lots of it. Spicy tuna and cucumber inside, slices of spicy tuna and scallions on top. I mean, it’s right there in the name.
Are you a vegetarian? No one likes you!
Sorry. I get carried away. You might like the Old Fashioned Roll ($10). Tempura sweet potato inside and avocado, sour cream and onion and tempura flakes on top. It’s not traditional, but I liked it.
Now, let’s talk about the Triple Bypass Roll ($17). It is called sushi. It shares certain characteristics with sushi. Rice, for instance. That rice is wrapped around fried pepper jack and cream cheese. On top is Parmesan baked shrimp, bacon bits and spicy mayo and sweet sauce.
Does it taste like shrimp? Bacon?
Cheese? No. It doesn’t really taste like anything. It’s creamy, but it lacks flavor. You can find a much tastier way to spend $17 on this menu.
If you’re in Edmond and you’re hungry for sushi, The Sushi Bar is a good place to be. And if you’re in Oklahoma City or Norman or, I don’t know, Mustang ... and you want to try Hamachi Kama, then it’s worth a drive.