Poor Sister and Talia. Their dove, Kaito, passed on. What a lovely dove he was! We all know how much it majorly sucks when a pet dies. So I made Sister tell me where she wanted to eat. "Cheap sushi!" she said. "Stuff my face!"
Osaka's great for cheap sushi. You look at the menu and see normal prices, then you look at the sushi order form and see that everything is between 30% and 50% off. So you CAN stuff your face! Just like Matt did. (He gets a little carried away when sushi is involved, as you may have gathered already.) And even if you live on the other side of the Twin Cities, there's an Osaka for you; they've got 'em in Apple Valley, Coon Rapids, Eden Prairie, Golden Valley, Roseville, Rochester, and Fargo. Fargo! Maybe I'll go there someday. I could use a refresher on my you betchas and fer sures.
Kay vegans: when you enter Osaka, the host or hostess will ask you if you'll be dining in the Hibachi or Sushi section. Unless you plan on watching meat get thrown around, you want sushi. As you peruse the menu, depending on which location you're at (Eden Prairie is good for this), you may be lucky enough to hear Osaka's special happy birthday song come over the loud speakers. It's not your normal Happy birthday to you thing. It's... special.
Get some edamame to share. It's five bucks, and you're starving. It's perfectly salty and firm. Then notice that the menu may not have sweet potato rolls on it, but the sushi order form DOES. That is your ticket to an amazing meal, friends.
Another secret: the miso - which usually is submerged in dashi (fish) broth at other restaurants - is vegan. Yusss. I slurped that down in about eight seconds. It's warm, comforting, salty, and beany. Beany in a good savory way, not in a this-just-came-out-of-a-tofu-package way. The scallions felt particularly fresh. And only $2.50!
Between the two of us, Matt and I shared 3 avocado rolls, 1 avocado-cucumber-asparagus roll, and 3 sweet potato rolls. I ate maybe 2 rolls, total. So I don't need to tell you how much Matt ate. And he keeps such a great figure! How 'bout that.
The AAC roll was... just don't order it. Even $2.50 might not be worth it. I ate one piece and kind of enjoyed it - it was bland, but very fresh and pleasantly crispy. I had another and had to spit out what was leftover. The asparagus was super fibrous and difficult to chew. I think this was just a bad one - I've had better ones in the past, but the roll's still not my favorite.
Our old standby, the avocado rolls, were lovely. I really enjoy the simple creamy flavor, and how satisfying avocados can be in such a role. (Oh god, I made a pun. Sorry. I'll bribe you with pretty food pictures if you keep reading.) These babies were also $2.50 each. Don't tell Sister, but I like to put a slice of pickled ginger on each piece of avocado sushi. It's so tasty. Apparently, doing so is insulting to the sushi chef. She yells at me when she catches me with ginger... so I do it all sneaky-like. Sh.
LOVE YOU SEESTOR
Here's what you've been waiting for: the amazing sweet potato roll for $3. Amazing! They drop sweet potato in (vegan!) tempura batter, deep fry it, and slide it into rice and nori and delicious sauce, just for you. It's like the french fry of the sushi world. It's so good, you could eat a grillion of 'em. Just ask Captain Adventure.
By the end of the meal, Sister and Talia's moods seemed a little improved. I think it was the happy birthday song.