Scrolling through Facebook before lunchtime one day, I spied a dessert on Oishii Burger’s page that caused an immediate reaction. My eyes told my brain to go there as soon as possible.
The photo was of a Prince-purple scoop of ube ice cream on an elegant white rectangular platter along with another scoop of mango salted caramel served with crispy fried plantain egg rolls. Small cubes of fresh mango and two ripe strawberry fans garnished the dish atop zig-zags of chocolate sauce.
Must. Have. Now.
Sidekick Mickey and I hopped in the car and headed to Oishii Burger, which is located in a small strip shopping center off Princess Anne Road. in the space formerly occupied by Volcano Sushi.
We were greeted by a host and led to our seats. With simple wooden booths, black and bold red accents and pops of primary colored lighting, Oishii is both energizing and calming at the same time. Our waitress, Jena, immediately welcomed us and took our drink order. The menu was small but promising, so we opted to have an appetizer or two before ordering dessert.
The katsu crab bites and the Okonomiyaki were perfect starters. Four golf-ball sized orbs of lump crabmeat and barely any filler were fried crunchy and dressed with kewpie mayonnaise, spring onions and umm, something that was moving on the top. It looked alive. On closer inspection, it was the bonita fish flakes, paper thin shavings of dehydrated smoked tuna. Placed on top of a warm dish, these flakes flutter from the steam and appear to be waving at unsuspecting diners. Visually entertaining, savory and fun to eat with accompanying chopsticks.
The Okonomiyaki, or Japanese pancake, is more like an omelette in that it contains whatever happens to be in the kitchen at the time it’s prepared. This inch-thick, patty-shaped cake had bacon on the bottom, crab, more kewpie and dancing bonita flakes on top. The consistency of a light crab cake, it was filling enough to be an entree and absolutely delicious. A small dish of bright pink pickled onions accompanied for additional flavor.
Now it was time for dessert and it arrived looking exactly like the photo I saw online. We both picked up a section of the fried plantain and closed our eyes for a satisfying bite. Mickey dug into the mango ice cream, I took a spoonful of the ube. Lovely. I tasted each thing separately first. Then I used the plantain as a utensil and loaded it with some ube, a bit of strawberry and a few cubes of mango then dipped it in some chocolate sauce. Mind blown.
The next day, I spoke to Andrew Stofan who owns Oishii with business partner Paolo Vergara. Both men are Filipino with a passion for Japanese cuisine. Their first business, Swōl Food, is a meal prep pick-up and delivery service offering healthy options for athletes. It has been up and running for three years now.
Oishii, which means “tasty,” opened two and a half months ago. The idea came from Vergara who discovered a similar restaurant while on a business trip to Seattle. After tasting one of their katsu, or panko crusted and fried burgers, Vergara thought they might be a hit in Virginia Beach.
Their menu specializes in these Japanese katsu burgers, but also offers Korean tacos, fried pickles, pork belly waffle fries, a tonkatsu or fried pork burger and a variety of donburi bowls, rice bowls, with braised beef, pork and chicken katsu, eggplant and vegetable curry on top. The kid’s menu offers a teriyaki bowl, a mini burger and fries, stir fry noodles or chicken katsu bites for $5 and $6.
When I asked about the dessert, Stofan said it was head chef Brian Reyes’ idea. Stofan encourages creativity in the kitchen and Reyes was inspired to concoct his take on a banana split. Bravo Reyes, bravo.
As soon as their liquor license is in effect, Oishii will be serving Japanese whiskeys, saki and sōchū, plus Japanese craft beers along with an izakaya, or late-night pub, menu of smaller tapas-like items. The partners plan to create a Zen garden with patio seating for those who enjoy a smoke with their whiskeys.
Open 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and then 5 to 9 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5 to 10 p.m. Fridays and 4 to 10 p.m. Saturdays. Closed Sundays and Mondays. Delivery available through GrubHub and Food Jets.
Oishii Burger, 4402 Princess Anne Road, Suite 111, Virginia Beach, 757-467-8636, www.facebook.com/oishiiburgerva
Market to feature food trucks, related vendors
Attention all foodies. There’s a new market every Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the VB Farmers Market on Princess Anne.
Gastronomic allocations: A Foodcentric Market will be a weekly gathering of food trucks and food-related vendors chosen for their commitment to providing the best locally made products and tasty goodies.
Last week brought 4 Spices Mediterranean Food LLC (Mediterranean foods), Capt’n Crabby’s Taco Flavored Kisses (authentic Mexican tacos), Mama Funk’s (homemade jams, preserves and spreads), The Bumbling Bee by Cast Iron Catering (vegetarian/vegan fare), Mighty Thundercloud Edible Forest (hydroponic veggies, flowers and more), Joysicles Gourmet Pops (natural, flavorful ice pops) and Tranche of Life Handmade Bakery (French bakery).
Street Food Revolutionaries is the organizer and plans to operate this market every Sunday year round weather permitting. Trucks and vendors will change frequently. If you are interested in being a part of this market or have any questions about it, feel free to call MJ Medlar at 410-627-1194. For a list of weekly vendors, visit www.streetfoodrevolutionaries.com.
VB Farmers Market, 3640 Dam Neck Road, Virginia Beach, 757-385-4388, www.vbgov.com/farmersmarket
Judy Cowling, firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the full article here.