During my last trip to Italy, I met a Japanese tourist at the Galleria Uffizi in Florence. Kento helped me fix my camera and we ended up spending the rest of the day together, walking through the streets and alleys of this magnificent city. You're probably wondering what this prelude has to do with a review about a kosher sushi joint in Jerusalem. Well, first, Kento is actually from Osaka and when I arrived at the restaurant, his name came immediately to mind. Secondly, some 25 minutes after we met, I dragged Kento into an extensive discussion about Japanese cuisine and sushi. Kento, who has been traveling outside Japan for the past 7 years, mentioned that in almost every country he visited he came across a Japanese/Asian restaurant barring the name Osaka. ‘Why is Osaka so popular a name for restaurateurs?’ I asked, as we were trying to decide between pizza and polenta at a local pizzeria. Kento didn't know the answer, so if anyone one has any idea aside from the fact that it’s easy to pronounce, please let me know.
After studying at a well-known culinary school in the New York and traveling through Japan, chef (and owner), Anat decided to open a kosher Asian style restaurant in downtown Jerusalem. The dish names and décor are both inspired by Osaka's subway network and each sushi combo is named after a different train line (green line – the vegetarian combo, red line, purple line etc.). The menu at Osaka feature: stir-fries, noodle and rice dishes, salads, fish, chicken, beef, various Asian style finger foods and, of course, sushi.
We stated off with the panko crusted cauliflower topped with sweet chili sauce and the "crispy fish", which included two skewers of deep fried fish with a homemade teriyaki drizzle. Both dishes were fresh, crispy and prepared well. We then decided to sample some of the sushi offerings. While I preferred the roll containing red tuna, cucumber and kabocha (Japanese squash) we also ordered the "American Dragon Roll". A tribute to the classic bagel, cream cheese and lox, this is an inside-out roll containing tempura chips, green onions, parve (non-dairy) cream cheese, cucumber and smoked salmon. The "sushi sandwich" turned out to be very generous in size, however I found that the dish was a bit too heavy and I was having difficulty eating it with my chopsticks.
The stir-fries at Osaka are also very generous and our lovely waitress assured me that the kitchen is very flexible. Customers can choose from a variety of home made sauces ranging from sweet to very hot and also choose between or combine beef and/or chicken.
Osaka also offers very affordable business lunches as well as free delivery and takeout services. Anat also mentioned that in the next few weeks Osaka will be offering an all you can eat sushi menu for NIS 59. So, if you’re in the Jerusalem area and craving some sushi – the green line to Osaka it is!
1 Heleni Hamlka, Jerusalem