Thursday, July 15, 2010


This summer I'm working in a basic science research lab at Northwestern. One thing that's essential to a good lab experience is comradery with your lab mates, and there's no better way to build friendships than through eating together. The one valuable contribution I made to the lab this summer was the initiation of a weekly lunch outing. Basically, we've been searching out the best lunch specials in the area to try and find the best one. My ultimate goal is to have a post at the end of the summer comparing the lunch specials around Streeterville. Most of these places I've chosen not to individually blog about because the lunch special isn't representative of the rest of the menu (i.e. the $5 hamburger at Rosebud). However, last week we went to OYSY to try the lunch special Bento Box which had a decent taste of most of what they had to offer (so I felt comfortable my post would do the restaurant justice).

OYSY is a pretty small restaurant with seating for maybe 60 indoors and a few tables outside. We came in around noon on a Monday and got sat immediately. It wasn't very crowded. I think you can make a reservation, but I don't think it's necessary (at least not for lunch).

The service was spot on with a knowledgeable and attentive waitress. We had a decent amount of questions which she was able to field just fine. Also, all of our food came out very promptly. Part of me wishes they had warm towels, but you can't win em all I guess.

As far as cost goes, the lunch special cost $12 which is a little more than I'd like to pay for lunch. With gratuity and tax it ended up costing like $15/person. It was a lot of food which somewhat justifies the cost, but for a lunch special it's not like you want tons of food to weigh you down for the rest of the day.

The Food
The way the special works is that you can choose from one of the following: Salmon, White Tuna, Eel, Steak or Chicken Teriyaki, or assorted Sushi. Each of the dishes comes in a Bento Box with California Maki, Spicy Tuna Maki, Shrimp and Veggie Tempura, a Tofu Pancake, Miso Soup, and Japanese Green Salad. We had one of each special in our group except for the assorted sushi (picked daily by chef [restaurant code for whatever fish is the oldest]).

 The Miso Soup

The Bento Box with Salmon

The Miso Soup was just fine. I don't think you can screw it up, and I feel like everywhere just uses some massive mix for this. The salad was also exactly the same as every other Japanese salad I've had so far. The Tofu Pancake was really tasty, but kind of small. It had a nice crisp and was lightly covered in a sweet sauce. The tempura was nice as well. The exterior was light and flaky, and they gave me a bunch of extra veggies to substitute for the shrimp which was nice. Actually, everyone else's shrimp pieces looked kind of skimpy. The two sushi rolls (3 pieces each) were very good. I can't judge a sushi restaurant solely by California and Spicy Tuna rolls, but the filling to rice ratio was very favorable. Also, the spicy sauce on the tuna had an interesting kick.

 The White Tuna

The Eel

The Chicken Teriyaki

My main piece was the White Tuna. It had a sweet teriyaki sauce, and was cooked just past a light and flaky texture. It was a little overly sauced, but overall was a very nice piece of fish. My lab mates seemed to like the Salmon and Chicken Teriyaki dishes for the most part, but thought they could've used more sauce and been cooked a little less. She-Yan, the only lab member of any Asian descent seemed to really enjoy her Eel, saying that it was a nice balance of sweetness and richness. It might have been a nice touch if you got your main food with some rice or something. It seemed a little out of place to just have a piece of fish or chicken.

Between the efficiency of service and the amount of food we got, I'd say logistically it was a pretty good place for lunch. As I said before though, I would've exchanged a price reduction for less food. Everything tasted pretty good and on par with most sushi restaurants I've been to. Some of the entrees were just alright though. I'd say that if you were to go to OYSY to stick to sushi and tempura. We didn't go through all of their sushi options, which may have been necessary to do this place complete justice, but from what we had I'm giving OYSY 2.5 out of 5 Pearls.

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