Go Here, Eat This: (Not) Osushi Harvard Square

When we got last minute tickets to see the Yamato Taiko Drum troupe at the Sanders Theater in Harvard Square we thought it would be a good opportunity to try out the new, expanded OSushi - recently relocated from the tiny boîte in Copley Square.

The Menu

Korean influence is immediately apparent in the expanded menu. Early on a Saturday night the place was ominously empty. With only a handful of tables full, the first thing I heard (over the rattling cacophony of the ventilation system) was the server telling the table next to us that their "chicken was taking awhile but would be out shortly" -- a refrain we also heard later - though the restaurant go no busier.

Hot green tea was served just shy of tepid. Ruh Roh.

We ordered Shishito peppers only to be told they were out. Gyoza are served steamed or deep -fried (odd, usualy these are pan fried rendering a chewy top- crispy bottom we love.)

This odd, deep-fried version were good enough, with a gojuchang (Korean chili ) spiked dipping sauce.

He ordered pork bulgogi - a smaller portion than we were expecting for an entree. My shochu was also a very light pour, barely a full finger and though I picked the least expensive one, it was $15. He said, "$15 for that drink?" I said "It's like city city price for a craft cocktail" to which he replied "but it's shochu" good point. This is typically a working man's warm up. Not so pricey.

The next disappointment was my ramen. While the noodles were toothsome and the broth chili-fied...it was completely missing tofu and the shishitos which I already knew they were out of. The shiitake while plentiful seemed raw and an afterthought.

When I pointed out to the server that the tofu was missing she said "that's the way we serve it." (Then why have tofu on the list of ingredients on the menu? I checked the menu again on the way out.) Curiously, it was also served with a small ladle. When I asked for a soup spoon, she indicated the ladle. I said I'd prefer a soup spoon. Eventually, I got one.

The best dish was the easiest to make at home: an edamame snack. $78 later we scoured the Square for something to top off our not-quite satisfied tummies.

OsushiCollage

Service

Service was glacial, despite a half dozen servers and bussers standing around.

When a family with a young boy, maybe 3.5 or 4 years old sat next to us, the little boy asked for orange juice. It was served in a very tall glass with a straw. Fine for an adult but when his head barely cleared the table, you are inviting an accident. Why not serve it with a small cup he could handle? My tea cup was both narrow enough for little hands and much more manageable height for a child. It's a small nit to pick perhaps, but on a night when everyone seemed to be searching for something to do, not one of the bored staff thought of this. I had time while I waited for my soup spoon.

A note on Allergies

I was happy that they confirmed that my ramen comes with an egg and they noted my dairy allergy on Open Table. Better to err on the side of caution. But, eggs don't come from cows - and it's sign the kitchen doesn't really know the 8 major allergens. This is the minimum diners ought to be able to rely on (and also the law in Massachusetts.)

I am reminded of the the Woody Allen quip:

The food wasn't very good, and the portions were so small. 

I really had no quibble with the ramen portion size but the overall experience left me no desire to return again.