Home > Restaurants > O’shan Sushi – 9/3/11

O’shan Sushi – 9/3/11


Location: 5809 24th Ave NW


Tues-Sat: 4:30pm-9:30pm

Sunday: 4:30pm-9pm

Since it was warmer than usual early Saturday evening, J and I decided we wanted sushi for dinner. I looked at the Ballard restaurant list on our fridge and realized we could finish off the sushi restaurants in Ballard by choosing O’shan Sushi.

O’shan Sushi, located on 24th Avenue, looks like the tiny sushi bars I’ve seen on travel programs. Limited seating. Shoji screens on the walls. Large bottles of sake wrapped in white rice paper lining one part of the bar. Dark wood. Soothing blue walls. It really is an atmospheric, romantic little place.

They offer a surprisingly large menu of Japanese food for such a small space. A long list of appetizers. A few dinner plates like yakisoba and udon. And sushi menu with many unique roll options. Our interest was immediately piqued by the choices.

The Service:

Our server was friendly and fast even though she was the only person working the quickly filling restaurant.

The Drink:

I ordered a small glass of Kurosawa Kimoto Junmai, a crisp, refreshing sake with fruity undertones of melon and berry. Very nice.

J chose the House Cold Sake which he declared was “Passable.”

The Food:

The sushi roll choices at O’shan were so varied and interesting that rather than ordering our usual gyoza appetizer and two rolls, we opted for three sushi rolls.

First, the O’shan Roll, spicy salmon and cucumber topped with albacore, avocado, house ponzu sauce, and scallions. The server had described this roll as being topped with “seared tuna” so we expected the tuna to be obviously seared. Instead it was more like a lit match was held above the roll for a couple of seconds. Just the faintest sear. J found the tuna to be slimy while I just thought it completely lacked flavor. Not the best roll.

Next, the Tuna Poke Roll, tempura fried scallion and cucumber topped with tuna, avocado, and sweet chili sauce. This roll had the same issue as the first. Slimy, flavorless fish.  The weird, tempura fried scallion were too slippery to eat. And until I re-read the description, I honestly thought the sweet chili sauce was a melon sauce. It didn’t have any chili flavor and was far too sweet. Not a good roll either.

Finally, the Salmon Skin Roll, crispy salmon skin, gobo, avocado, kaiware, and cucumber. The best roll of the three. The crunchy texture was fairly tasty change from the limp, sliminess of the previous rolls. The flavors melded well. Another reason for preferring this roll is because it had the least amount of O’shan’s sushi rice.

Overall, the rice at O’shan was not good. Gummy to the point of almost being like glue. Horrible texture. The rice was also way too sweet. So sweet, in fact, that the cloying sweetness interfered with the flavors of the rolls. Even the salmon skin roll, that we actually liked, tasted too sweet. Since rice is the foundation of sushi rolls, if the rice is bad then the roll can’t be saved … unless it has a minimum amount of rice.

The Price:

Kurosawa Kimoto Junmai Sake: 7.00

House Cold Sake: 8.00

O’shan Roll: 10.50

Tuna Poke Roll: 12.00

Salmon Skin Roll: 5.00

The Verdict:

O’shan Sushi turned out to be a real disappointment. We had high hopes when we walked in. The atmosphere is lovely, calm and romantic. The service was good. My sake, at least, was tasty and refreshing. But none of that changes the fact that the sushi did not taste good. Gummy rice. Flavorless, slimy fish. Weird textures. The bad rolls overwhelmed the positive impression we had of O’shan.

Even though we really liked the feel of O’shan, unless someone tells us the food has improved, we won’t be back.

Now that we have eaten at all four of Ballard’s sushi restaurants (Shiku, Moshi Moshi, Sam’s Sushi, and O’shan), J and I feel that we’re ready to declare our favorite sushi restaurant in Ballard.

We agree that our favorite sushi place is Shiku. Great atmosphere. Tasty gyoza. Huge rolls. A rotation of interesting specials. Fresh, flavorful fish. The best Long Island Iced Tea (so far) and the neatest women’s restroom in Ballard.

Moshi Moshi comes in a very close second for their great Happy Hour menu. I would Sam’s Sushi is third for the size of their rolls and the price. O’shan gets fourth place only because their rolls were not good.

Categories: Restaurants Tags: , , ,
  1. Andy Pritchard
    January 24, 2012 at 3:27 pm

    Hmm – I eat regularly at O’Shan’s and really like Shiku as well. Sam’s used to be our go-to sushi place until the others opened. Moshi Moshi is good, but we’ve had too many service issues to go back with Shiku right next door. I’d say O’Shan is our fave, though, and I’ve never had slimy fish there once. In fact, the quality often seems to top the others in terms of freshness and flavor. Granted, we usually get Nigiri, but the rolls have always been good – great even, in many cases. Maybe it was an off night, but given how much I love this place I’d hate to see people turned off by a bad review.

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