Mexico City restaurant crawl: Osaka


I've been in Mexico City two weeks and already have tried about 14 restaurants, so I thought it was about time I started a dining review series!  This gem came highly recommended and while it is a chain (which I hate), it was absolutely delicious.  Osaka is a Peruvian-Japanese fusion place.  It has restaurants all over Latin America, including Peru, Mexico City, and Sao Paulo.  I thought it was creative and well-executed, and can't wait to go back.  I also thought the price was spot on - about $35 bucks a head for a semi-filling meal and alcohol.

The restaurant does fusion right - not some weird mash-up but taking the best of both cultures in taste and presentation.  Japanese have a knack for food that resembles art and for fine balancing of elements in a dish. Peruvian food is fresh, un-fussy, and generally packs punch with lime acidity and mellowness of other flavors, like corn and sweet potato.  For this dinner we ordered a trio of ceviches, which featured one with wasabi cream, another with toasted quinoa and picked carrot, and traditional ceviche with a spicy kick (added chiles).  We also ordered a salmon coated in two types of sesame atop a sweet miso sauce - the salmon was melt in your mouth delicious.  We also ordered a causa - which is like sushi but with a mashed potato base - we had this topped with octopus in a chipotle spicy sauce.  For our one sushi fusion dish we ordered a roll that had breaded shrimp, avocado, and was topped with thinly-sliced clams with a parmesan sauce.  Parmesan on sushi sounds weird, but guess what - it goes great in ceasar salad and guess what else is in Caesar salad ... anchovies! Which are fish.  So full circle.

To top off the delicious evening we had a lychee ice crumble.  What is this, you ask? It's fresh lychees, a fine lychee granita, and some delicious buttery crumbs.  The combo is so delicious - fresh from the cold granita, chewy juicy lychees, and then the right amount of salty, buttery crunch.

In short, I was super impressed by Osaka and would go there again. The atmosphere was hip, and the price makes it worth it to experiment a little on the menu.  Or maybe I'd just been in Tunis for too long and am easily impressed.  Either way, 9 out of 10 for Osaka!


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