After arriving at my friend's house, who lives in a most stellar location, I was hungry and had visions of yellowtail sushi dancing in my head. Alas, the aptly named Umami by her house is only open in the evenings, so I did what any modern woman would do, I turned to Yelp. It indicated there was a decent Thai place down the street, and that's where I went. Never mind that my girlfriend had just told me about no less than 10 different places I should go to. No, I was on my own, and I wanted Asian. Yelp did mention that Osha was a chain, and I wasn't digging that little tidbit of information too much, but I'm willing to bet on anything Asian on the West Coast, so in I went.
It was a modern space with clean lines. I was seated next to the window. San Fran had gone from dreary rainy and windy to a beautifully sunny day, and I was glad to have the sunshine on my face. First up, the Osha Tartare - fresh, sashimi-grade tuna mixed with mango, cilantro, and bean sprouts, dressed in a sriracha sauce. It had a nice amount of heat, but boy, this thing was sweet! Otherwise, I really liked the combination of flavors. The "chips" that surrounded the bowl are those "shrimp chips" that I have despised every since I was a kid. You can buy a box of these at the Asian grocery store. In their original state, they look like thick little plastic pieces. Then you throw them in boiling oil and they puff up immediately into this styrofoam-looking thing. The process is very cool, but only as a science experiment. Not as food! However, this time, I did break off a little piece to see if the combination would be any good. It's like a bad cracker, and yes, it made the tartare less sweet, but I'd rather have less sweet tartare and skip the science project all together.
Now, all the tips on FourSquare were talking about the Volcanic Beef. My lovely server said that was, indeed, popular and quite delicious, but that she recommended the Grilled Sea Bass on top of a bed of spinach, bok choy, and shiitake mushrooms with a cilantro and lime sauce. Okay, I said, let's go with that.
I assumed that we were talking about any Sea Bass other than Chilean Sea Bass. You know about my forbidden love affair with Chilean Sea Bass, how I adore the fish's buttery flakiness, but because it's overfished and on the brink of extinction, AND it tends to have high levels of mercury, I don't partake in it. I usually ask, but I'm in San Francisco, for goodness sakes. It's a place where if you are drinking from a plastic bottle, everyone gives you dirty looks. If you throw it into the wrong bin, I'm sure they arrest you. So of COURSE no one serves Chilean Sea Bass, right? Wrong. It came out and I looked at it in all its splendid glory and my heart started to hurt. Ugh. An awful mistake that made me secretly joyous because what was I going to do, send it back??? I mean look at that beautiful portion of fish. It was expertly made, with a slight crust on the outside and as flaky and buttery as I remember on the inside. Paired with the bright tanginess of the cilantro-lime sauce, this was a super duper dish.
I had ordered coconut rice to go with it. What's with all the coconut rice here? But whatever, I'm all in on the coconut as a stellar super-good-for-you natural wonder, and I've been looking for ways to ingest it more without totally going overboard. Here, they had mixed in shreds of the coconut meat to give it a very organic tasting flavor. At first, I was thinking it was overpowering the fish dish, but I quickly got over it and really enjoyed the melding of the flavors.
2033 Union StSan Francisco, California 94110