BY AMANDA ADAMS
Oh’s Osaka has tantalized Medford residents for the past 14 years but just recently opened its fourth location in the old Ground Zero building just across from Rogue Community College’s Riverside campus.
I chose to review the restaurant with my 13-year-old son, Tyson, and his friend, Bryson, knowing they would be brave enough to sample the more exotic dishes that I was reluctant to try.
Unfortunately, we arrived too late to be served at the teppanyaki (iron grill) tables the restaurant is known for, and we felt a little cheated out of the dining experience. I mean, the restaurant’s motto is “Big knives, fun atmosphere, and great food!” Deprived of the big knives and fun atmosphere, we were hoping the restaurant would deliver on the promise of great food.
The restaurant itself features Asian décor, with red brick walls and glossy hardwood floors covering the 6000 square foot dining area. The high, industrial-style black ceiling survived the remodel post-Ground Zero.
We were seated promptly and mulled over the menu, debating about what exotic appetizer the boys should taste. It was a toss-up between eel, squid, or octopus, but they eventually selected the “tako no sunomono,” an octopus and cucumber salad. For our entrees, Bryson and I each ordered the teriyaki chicken dinner, while Tyson chose the salmon teriyaki plate. All 20 dinner options come with a choice of salad or miso soup, vegetables, and rice in addition to a steak, seafood or poultry main course.
Bryson was the first to clumsily pluck a tentacle from the dainty dish with his wooden chop sticks. Tyson followed suit and called the dish “delightful and very sweet, with a rich and smooth texture.”
After eating octopus, soup and salad were somewhat anticlimactic, but scrumptious. I enjoyed the sweet and spicy combination of the ginger dressing, which my son-turned-restaurant-reviewer proclaimed “revitalizing.”
While we worked on our heaping bowls of rice which followed the soup and salad, our entrees were served. Tyson reported that his salmon was juicy and he liked the taste of the teriyaki sauce. Bryson and I were equally pleased with the flavor and tenderness of our chicken and we all agreed that the vegetables were sautéed perfectly, with just the right firm, crunchy texture. After sampling both entrees, Tyson declared that his seemed “more vibrant” but admitted that “it could just be because it was served on a bed of lettuce.”
Overall, the young food critics unanimously voted the service a 9 out of 10 and the food an 8 out of 10. Personally, I was less impressed by the service, which seemed impersonal. (I have a feeling that the boys rated the service highly because the waitress was quick to refill their Shirley Temples.) I would rate the food a 9 out of 10.
I give kudos to Oh’s for their impressive and exotic menu selection but would like to see them open earlier than 5 p.m. and extend the hours of their teppanyaki tables beyond 7:30 p.m. Although the food was delicious, I would recommend the restaurant to others only for special occasions because of the steep prices, ranging from a minimum of $12.35 per person all the way up to $65.96 for the Osaka Imperial dinner for two. Being the thrifty college student that I am, I brought along a coupon that I had clipped from the Medford Mail Tribune — and our bill still topped out at $50.90 plus tip.
FOOD: (8.5/10 forks)
$12.25 to $32.98 per person (extra $7.95 plate fee)
Teppanyaki tables close @ 7:30pm
123 S. Front St, Medford, OR (formerly Ground Zero)