Sushi has come to north Oshawa

Wednesday, August 22, 2007 – Sushi has come to north Oshawa y’all – THERE IS A GOD

In preparation of my mother’s birthday party on Saturday, I had just finished paying a visit to Sobey’s at Taunton and Wilson in north Oshawa to order a photo cake, when a sign off in the distance caught my eye like the twinkle of a diamond ring, lost in beach sand.

Crimson yellow and with abstract script, it spelled out the words: A-Z-I-A-N. I walked to my car, heart thumping in my chest and shakily put the key in the ignition. I drove towards the sign affixed to a small restaurant fronted in glass and crammed between a Starbucks and a Popeye’s (I know WTF, right?). I only needed to see one word on the ‘Now Open’ banner that spilled like soft, spun silk from the sign … sushi.

I parked. I walked, no … ran to the restaurant and flung open the door. I entered and drunk in the smells with my eyes and nose and right in front of me, about two meters ahead was a sushi bar. I couldn’t believe it! Sushi! In north Oshawa!

I practically wept at the feet of the owner who was working fiendishly behind the bar, cutting up wraps of seaweed, rolling rice up with crab, shrimp, avocado and cucumber. I could hardly contain my joy.

When the take out menu was handed to me, I received it like a knight would his first sword. And what a menu!

I gushed to the owner after ordering about how much I had begged a few owners of sushi restaurants in Markham to consider a location in Oshawa, only to be met with the skeptical raising of a brow. I told them there was only so much pizza and burgers a girl like me can eat before growing bored and longing for the variety of Asian food.

Since Azian opened less than three weeks ago, it’s been packed every night. And it’s not just sushi. The menu represents a wide variety of Oriental style dishes ranging from Thai, Vietnamese, Japanese and Chinese (dim sum! yum!). I realize that you can get Sushi at Mac Sushi in the Oshawa Centre but it’s overpriced for what you get. It’s prepared fresh, yes, but I take issue with the size of the rolls.

Thanking the owner and telling him I’d write all about my dining satisfaction on my blog, should the food leave me impressed, I rushed home to tell Chad.

I couldn’t park my car fast enough as I raced from the garage, up the stairs and into the kitchen. I plunked down my Asian booty on the table and told Chad – at a mile a minute, about what I had discovered.

And then I sat down and opened up the plastic, clamshell package that held my one true vice when it comes to food, and I ate.

I was NOT disappointed.

Nothing beats fresh sushi. The portions were generous for the price paid. Six pieces of dynamite shrimp maki rolls for $4.75. The avocado and cucumber were six for $3.25.

It was very good for what I ordered and what I paid. I was hoping to be happy with what I brought home and I was.

I can’t wait to go back and try some other varieties!

I am not surprised that Azian, in north Oshawa, is experiencing a high volume of interest and patronage. The location where they opened couldn’t have been better picked. That area of Oshawa is surrounded by thousands of new homes built in the last five years. And all populated by people who by last city estimates, moved to Oshawa from Mississauga, Toronto and Markham. I don’t know why, seeing as the houses aren’t exactly cheaper, but they are bigger for what you pay for a similar size in Unionville, Richmond Hill and Thornhill. More house for less money, I guess. And these are people who come from a demographic that eat out more than their parents. And these are people used to variety and Oshawa isn’t exactly a buffet of international delights.

However, the foodscape of Oshawa has changed quite a bit in the last five years. An Indian restaurant called Spices opened up about two years ago and Caribbean cuisine is making an appearance.

It’s really not a far drive from our house in Clarington to trek into Oshawa to sample new restaurants. Oshawa has a lot to offer in terms of its populace and its tolerance for change, particularly when it comes to food. I know that many people still consider Oshawa to be very meat and potatoes and that group will always have Teddy’s and Swiss Chalet to eat at, but I’m past quartered chicken.

Bring on the wasabi!

Cindy Smith
Clarington, ON