Thursday, April 9, 2009

Grasshopper – You’ve Won Again

The Grasshopper Roll - That’s one of my stand-by orders at Okinawa – a fresh wonderful specialty sushi roll that combines tuna, crabmeat with cucumber and avocado – okay great – now after writing about it, I’m craving it..

Okinawa is a Chinese/Japanese restaurant in a strip mall on Main Street in Wynantskill. (What is it about strip malls anyway? These days some of the best restaurants can be found there – maybe it’s the appeal of a constant stream of traffic or lower lease costs?)

This friendly, neighborhood place is relaxing and friendly – even if you’ve only been once or twice the staff seem to recognize you – and after 5 or 6 visits – you’re practically one of the family. I’ll be quick to point out that while the staff is friendly and accommodating, if you’re in a rush, this may not be the place for you – although take-out orders always seem to be ready on time.

Most customers I’ve noticed go right for the sushi – it’s fantastic – fresh and beautiful and extremely affordable – Although I have personally sampled the tempura which is crisp and light, never heavy or greasy. Dining companions have also ordered Chinese specialties which seem to please as well.

But if you’re looking to start your meal out with a little something before you dive into a main course, consider the pepper tuna salad – it is peppery – but if you like it hot – you’ll enjoy this light dish of raw tuna sliced over a shredded napa cabbage type of veggie. The quality is unmistakable – and raw fish is hard to prepare if it’s not high quality – there are no sauces or gravies to hide beneath.

A typical sushi meal starts with the obligatory iceberg lettuce salad with orange ginger dressing - and no, I am not complaining... followed by a bowl of miso soup - yummmy. Next, for me it's usually the fantastic Grasshopper roll, or the Triple Roll - on the "Specials" board since the day they opened I think.. Anyway it's a fabulous combination of tuna, white fish and crab... or if I opt for a "regular" roll it's almost always the spicy tuna or the smoked salmon and avocado.
And here's a tip for the drinkers in the group - mixing cocktails is not one of Okinawa's specialties.. they have no bartender, so when you do order a mixed concoction you'll sometimes find the waitstaff consulting the "Cocktail HandBook" .. the good thing about this? They really compensate with their lack of mixology with added alcohol - talk about getting a bang for your buck! Try the MaiTai ... just don't try and drive afterwards..

You just can't go wrong at Okinawa - the prices are so reasonable, the sushi always unbelievably fresh, delicious and beautiful, and the service, although not what I would call "lightning fast", is friendly and accommodating.. Just don't go there on your lunch hour... you'll won't make it back before 2pm..

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