Located in a strip mall next to a Superstore, just north of the St. Albert welcome sign, Ohana-Ya isn’t in the world’s most notable location.
But if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that the best sushi places are often found off the beaten paths. The best and most delicate Japanese meal my wife and I ever had was at Sushi Kaji, one of Toronto’s must-visit spots for foodies, and that restaurant is found in an Etobicoke strip mall.
Would Ohana-Ya also be a sushi heaven in the suburbs?
Well, it does boast one of the most unique rolls I’ve sampled. The Oilers Roll sees fried oyster crumbled into a roll with romaine lettuce and, wait for it, mango. The soft fruit and the crunchy oysters go together so darn well, and it would be easy to order three or four plates of these and be good to go.
But Ohana-Ya also does tataki really well. The beef tataki comes soaked in a ponzu sauce that’s heavier on the citrus than I’m used to having; and the beef is delicate and perfectly sliced. But it’s the spicy tuna tataki that’s the real star – the squares of delicate fish come with a dressing that mixes the sweet citrus with a chili kick that gets stronger and stronger with each bite. The spice doesn’t overpower the dish, but it’s very evident.
Finally, we have a sashimi platter, and the fish is fresh and refreshing. Best pick of the lot is the tuna, which is comes in delightful, tender pink cubes. The portions are generous, and the quality is high.
(#224, 2 Hebert Rd., St. Albert, 780-459-8355, ohana-ya.com)