If someone asks you out for a poke, should you be offended? Not at all! That person is just inviting you to Oshi Poke Bowl & Sushi. (We will assume this, striving to see the good in people and being big fans of the benefit of the doubt in general here at Rocket City Mom.)
Poke, which you should tell your inviter actually rhymes with croquet, means “to cut,” and it describes a fresh salad of Hawaiian provenance including fresh vegetables, spices, and raw fish. You can get one in Huntsville now at Oshi Poke Bowl & Sushi on Jefferson Street, about a block and a half from the roundhouse and firmly in the thick of the downtown renaissance. We went by for Saturday lunch.
Oshi is a pleasantly airy and modern place, with high ceilings and plenty of space in the dining room. (If you’re a loud sort anyway, your laugh might echo and embarrass your children. You know, so I hear.) The model is fast casual, and ordering can include significant customization. The standard poke bowls, of which there are a dozen or so, are $9-13, and if you want one just like it’s listed, you only need to specify your two bases. We each went with brown rice and baby spinach, but you can also choose from multigrain rice, squid ink rice, sushi rice, mixed salad, or arugula.
The Oshi Poke Menu
Aaron had a Classic, which is the selection most reminiscent of the authentic dish. It includes cucumber, edamame, truffle ponzu, Japanese basil, fresh tuna, and crunchy onion. I veered a bit toward fusion with the Asian Chipotle, topped with scallion, white onion, masago, Asian chipotle sauce, wild-caught tuna, salmon, and jalapeno. Both of our bowls popped with fresh and interesting flavors and made for delightful lunches indeed.
You can also go full custom, with your selection of bases, add-ons, and proteins. Protein selections include marinated beef, steamed shrimp, and crab sticks, so if you have anyone in your party skittish about raw fish, there are a few options.
Oshi also offers a selection of fresh sushi rolls, with a price range similar to the poke bowls. There are some stalwarts here, like the California roll and the spicy tuna roll. There are also some really wacky fusions. Ever had crawfish sushi? How about pesto? Nathan had a caterpillar eel roll and a New Orleans roll (with the aforementioned mudbug present). They were artfully constructed and presented, and he spoke highly of them.
What’s for Kids at Oshi Poke?
Is Oshi good for kids? Well, that depends on what you think “good for kids” means. There is no dedicated children’s menu in evidence, so if you know going in that you need a chicken fingers or macaroni & cheese play to ensure domestic tranquility, then this is not your place. If you force the issue, then strife is sure to follow you all the days of your life (or at least for the duration of the meal, which will suddenly feel about that long).
However, if you’d like a fun and friendly place to introduce the interesting and currently unfamiliar—edamame, anyone? Mango?—then Oshi could be just the place. Steamed shrimp & rice bowls are readily available as well. A “safe” custom bowl for your little one could be augmented with a nibble out of Mom’s or Dad’s bowl, potentially opening new explorations. Highchairs are available, and though the single-seater restrooms are clean, there are no changing tables.
With two adolescent boys as my dining companions, one of which is of driving age, it additionally occurred to me that Oshi is a slam-dunk budget date place. There is adjacent parking, but it is also a pleasant walk from many other downtown destinations. And, there is a lot of impact for the money here. It’s a nifty feast for the senses for not much more than fast food.
As accessible and affordable as Oshi Poke Bowl & Sushi is, I’m confident return visits are in my future. I’ll see you there.
Oshi Poke Bowl & Sushi
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