The cry Irasshai! – Japanese for welcome- rising above the open kitchen’s clatter, whizzing blenders and tunes from the sound system, announce one’s arrival in Osaka. The Asian – mostly Japanese – and subtle Peruvian accents of Osaka’s decor reflect the personality of its cuisine. The menu in Osaka is ample and carries a balanced number of dishes portraying its culinary trends and fusion concept. To reflect this, a picture posted on Osaka’s Facebook page from the opening in México City is proudly entitled “Cholitas y Geishas.” A picture is indeed worth a thousand words. With a good while to soak up the atmosphere thanks to a slight hiccup regarding our scheduled visit, we started our business once Manager Jose Luis Vargas was ready to take care of us.
We sat at the sushi bar where it is almost impossible not to be tempted to have a round or two of maki sushi. Osaka’s Itamae Lan Thorne Rivera started us off with the maki of the house. Inside the rice and nori seaweed, kani (imitation crab meat), grilled scallions and ebi furai (deep fried shrimp) take the lead. Rolls are then topped with crab chupe au gratin for flavor and warmth. In my opinion, the scallion’s pungent taste overpowered the other delicate flavors. Otherwise, the different colors and textures make for an attractive roll.
Another hard-not-to-be-tempted-by Peruvian appetizer is tiradito. “Mi Perú” is one of the most popular starters in Osaka. Envision thinly sliced halibut neatly arranged like a rainbow over rocoto sauce and topped with chopped aji limo and cilantro emulsion trails; add a few drops of lime juice and this tiradito becomes the first cousin of a flavorful ceviche. I do have to say that above the flavors of the tiradito, and possibly of the whole meal is the tempura sweet potato sticks served on the side. They are spiced, crunchy goodness. If you enjoy camote, do not miss these!
The suggested entrée was the Sakana Ishiyaki, which is grilled sashimi-style fish on a pad of aromatic greens served half-seared on a hot stone, drizzled with an emulsion of pachamanca marinade and sprinkled with togarashi. How well the fish is done is decided by the diner, who will enjoy the final product with twice fried papas doradas.
Osaka in El Polo II also has a private dining room and recently launched a special five course Prix Fix Menu from Monday to Saturday lunches for 69 Soles (tax and service included). This menu comes with a complimentary glass of wine, green tea or water. This is a special deal considering that the average tab here runs around 100 Soles.
It is great to have upscale, internationally renowned restaurants in Surco. While “Centro Comercial El Polo II” is relatively young, Osaka is well positioned to attract locals and visitors alike.
Osaka Peruano Oriental Ceviche & Sushi Bar
What: Asian Peruvian Fusion
Where: Centro Comercial El Polo II, Avenida El Polo 660, Santiago de Surco.
When: Monday – Saturday 12:30 – 16:00 and 19:30 – 23:30 Sunday lunches: 12:30 – 17:00
Reservations recommended: 437-73-20
Semi-Private room for up to 25 people
For more information, visit our Restaurant Guide: “Osaka San Isidro”:http://www.peruthisweek.com/restaurants-osaka-166, “Osaka Surco”:http://www.peruthisweek.com/restaurants-osaka-294.
Ceviche Bar: S./ 39-68
Sushi Bar: S./ 24-52
Tiraditos: S./ 38-41
Tapas: S./ 32-42
Causas: S./ 26
Salads: S./ 18-30
Mains: S./ 36-50
Corking fee: S./ 45 (wine) S./ 55 (sparkling wine)