Pachinko Parlor: leave your expectations behind [closed]

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by | October 13, 2010 | 17 Comments

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Pachinko Parlor is located at 1 NW 9th Street in downtown Oklahoma City (map). They are open 11am to 10pm Monday through Saturday. Call them at 405.601.8900, or visit their website or Facebook page.

Please note: Pachinko Parlor is no longer in business.

I really respect Pachinko Parlor for their courage. They’ve created a restaurant that is truly unique and that uniqueness brings its own set of risks. When you put something out there that people aren’t familiar with, there’s a risk they won’t accept it. Or, even if they do accept it, they won’t know how to communicate it to others.

From what I’ve seen, the risk seems to be paying off, as Pachinko appears to be staying busy. But, I still run across a ton of people who either haven’t heard of it, or don’t know what it is, and that is something I hope to help remedy in this article.

The first thing I will say is that you should go try Pachinko Parlor. I mean, there’s nothing else like it in Oklahoma City and that, to me, is reason enough to give it a shot. Just look at the exterior of the restaurant and you’ll know you’re in for something very different. One of the city’s best patios leads up to a quaint and Asian-influenced structure appointed with a very hip and modern decor. The dining space inside is actually quite small with tables lining one side and bar seating on the other. If the weather’s nice, you should definitely sit outside. If it’s not, you may have to wait during peak times.

To help you set your expectations, let’s talk about the food. Pachinko primarily offers sushi rolls. However, most of them are quite unlike any sushi rolls you’ve had before. If you’re a sushi traditionalist, you’re going to have to get over it and realize that this is going to be different than sushi you’ve had before. If you don’t like sushi, likewise. Remove the pre-conceived ideas of what sushi should or should not be and let Pachinko surprise you with their very unique approach.

For example, you could order the Philly Cheese Steak roll ($12) with cuts of beef tenderloin, spicy cream cheese, and asparagus, wrapped up in nori and rice, sliced into pieces and topped with scallion. It looks kind of like sushi, but it doesn’t taste like any sushi I’ve ever had. That’s not a bad thing. On the contrary, I really enjoyed it.

As you might guess, a sushi roll packed with beef and cream cheese is quite filling. Where I might eat 2-3 simple rolls at a place like Tokyo Japanese Restaurant, I found most of the rolls at Pachinko Parlor filling enough to satisfy on their own. However, their flavors are often so bold eating the entirety of one roll can wear on the palette, so I think Pachinko is best enjoyed with at least one other person with whom you can share some rolls and give your taste buds some variety.

Another example, the Crab Rangoon roll ($9). This is a crab/cream cheese mix with panko inside and the whole thing is tempura fried in a pretty substantial amount of batter. You’ve really got to see this one to believe it (see a photo). It tastes great, but again, not like any sushi I’ve ever had. And it fills you up fast. The thai sweet chili dipping sauce served with it adds a nice flavor and kick.

Of the rolls I tried, my absolute favorite was the Coconut Shrimp ($9). While some of the others were a bit overwhelming, I thought this one had a great balance. The ingredients are simple with spicy shrimp and shredded coconut inside, and toasted coconut rolled on the outside. Beautiful, complementary flavors that don’t overwhelm. This is one that I could have kept on eating all day if only my stomach (and my wallet) would have accommodated.

These are just a few examples of the many, many rolls on Pachinko’s menu. They do have a few that are closer to standard sushi rolls, even some with raw ingredients, but of the ones we tried, those didn’t stand out to me. What really stands out at Pachinko is their creativity. I love what they are doing here and I hope you will give them a try to see what you think.

A few other notes. They do have some other things besides the rolls. They offer some noodle dishes and some other Asian-themed entrees, appetizers, sandwiches and desserts. At lunch they offer a $9 special with your choice of roll or sandwich along with a soup or salad.

But here’s the killer deal. Every weekday from 4pm to 6pm Pachinko sells all their rolls at 1/2 price for happy hour. As long as you order them by 6pm, you get the discount. Now, seriously, this is a great value. Split a couple of rolls and you’ve got dinner for two at around $10-$12 plus tax and tip. Add an appetizer or dessert and you’re still going to be under $20. That’s pretty amazing and, in my opinion, one of the best deals in town.

As I said before, I think everyone should try Pachinko Parlor. Maybe it won’t be your thing, but you’ll never know unless you give it a shot. Just be sure to leave your expectations at the door, open up your mind, and enjoy something that’s truly unique in our city. And be sure to let us know what you think in the comments below.

You can view more photos from Pachinko Parlor in our Facebook photo album.

Pachinko Parlor on Urbanspoon
The Pachinko Parlor Oklahoma City, OK

This article was posted by Tim Wall on Wednesday, October 13th, 2010. It is filed under:

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  • Marcia says:
    October 13th, 2010 at 1:19 pm   

    I went to Pachinko a little after they opened and me and my friend were not impressed. The rice on our roll was too thick and not properly cooked, one roll was so spicy it was inedible and the lack of specials (that has changed) was laughable considering folks were winding down the block to hang out at Iguana. I told myself I would never return, but I may just give it a second chance.

  • Stacey says:
    October 14th, 2010 at 10:00 am   

    I think this sounds really interesting and I am going to have to try it. The “happy hour” sounds like a terrific deal! I had not heard of this place. Thanks for the review!

  • Michael says:
    October 14th, 2010 at 10:11 am   

    Definitely an unusual restaurant in OKC. Worth a visit for sure. I was impressed by their Oklahoma twists on sushi rolls. I tried the Waurika, which was tempura catfish and coleslaw. Very unique and enjoyable. I also enjoyed the Edamame salad, which I’d recommend to someone who likes a little sweet/sour pickle taste.

  • Ashlee says:
    October 15th, 2010 at 10:52 am   

    I have been trying to get my boyfriend to try Pachinko for awhile, as soon as I saw you guys reviewed it I sent it to him and we went the same night (you’ve yet to fail us with your opinions).

    We really enjoyed the atmosphere and the twist on sushi! Our favorite roll was a special that night the Danny DeVito, and he really enjoyed the coconut shrimp.

    Thanks for the review!

  • Tim says:
    October 15th, 2010 at 11:04 am   

    Ashlee, that is so great to hear! I’m glad you guys enjoyed it. Thank you so much for the kind words about our reviews.

  • Bryan says:
    October 17th, 2010 at 11:33 pm   

    As someone that makes his bread and butter downtown, I’ve had Pachinko Parlor dozens of times and my biggest gripe has already been brought up by Marcia: they don’t prepare their rice correctly. Now, I get that they’re doing something different and I applaud them for this but honestly I don’t like it when my sushi roll falls apart before it hits my mouth. It’s an easy fix: just ‘wash’ the rice before cooking until the water is clear. BOOYAH. You now have ‘sticky’ rice and the structural integrity of my rolls will increase.

    Otherwise I think the tastes are phenomenal, the Edamame is criminally underrated (in soup and pod form), and the employees are incredibly friendly.

    4/5 is my vote as well.

  • Stephanie Johnson says:
    October 18th, 2010 at 9:10 am   

    My husband has been to Pachinko before, but I tried it for the first time on Friday, 10/15. We shared the Crab Rangoon, Coconut Shrimp, and the Danny DeVito rolls. We also shared a side of the pineapple ginger rice. I wasn’t crazy about the Danny DeVito, but I really enjoyed the rest of the meal. I loved the dipping sauce that was served with the Crab Rangoon! We’ll definitely be back again, because it’s a nice alternative to the traditional sushi restaurants around town.

  • alexis says:
    October 20th, 2010 at 3:45 pm   

    total disappointment. the flavors were off. it made us nervous that there was hardly a roll that had a whole piece of raw fish, and instead it was in the form of a “mix”. I think the quality of fish is poor and the rice was done very poorly and it’s all too bad. I love the location and the atmosphere. but the food left 2 out of 3 people in our party feeling ill. until we ate here my husband claimed “There’s no such thing as BAD sushi to me.” pachinko parlor changed his mind. on a good note: I enjoyed the icewater infused with Ginger.

  • ballerinatoes says:
    October 21st, 2010 at 12:44 pm   

    I’ve been curious, but I really like traditional sushi and think I would rather spend my money at Neko or Tokyo.

  • Becky M says:
    October 28th, 2010 at 5:04 pm   

    I’ve read a lot of mixed reviews both here and elsewhere. It sounds like they may have items that people who turn up their noses at sushi may like. There have been enough satisfactory reviews though that I will have to go and give it a try.

  • Jennifer M. says:
    November 8th, 2010 at 9:00 am   

    I have loved everything I have had here. The grilled cheese at lunch is unique and delicious. The pad thai may be one of the best in the city. For someone who isn’t a huge raw fish fan, the alternative rolls are a great treat. Even the side salad with panko crumbs and an asian-inspired dressing is awesome. LOVE it.

  • D says:
    November 14th, 2010 at 3:31 pm   

    If you love traditional sushi, this is not the place for you. If you are meat and potatos kind of person who thinks they want to try sushi, this is your place.

  • Jay says:
    November 22nd, 2010 at 7:45 pm   

    Ate at Pachinko Parlor for first time, was very impressed. Had a spicy tuna roll (Mr Limpet) and a sweet yellowtail roll (Mellow Yellow) and both were outstanding. Service was very good also. We ate inside but eating on the patio looked it would be nice. Definitely plan on going back. The tempura green beans are a must also.

  • Andrea says:
    February 15th, 2011 at 7:15 am   

    I love how different this place is. I’ve been a few times & I LOVE sushi, my husband does not but because they have such unique rolls I cannot wait to take him here. They have a happy hour special that is also great to take advantage of….half price rolls!

  • Diana says:
    February 26th, 2011 at 4:12 pm   

    I started eating sushi about a year ago and this is a totally different experience. The place is has a great atmosphere. Its very cute, however if You sit outside bring earplugs. The train pasees right by it and Its SO loud. The sushi was different for sure, i guess im a traditionalist. I always clear my plate when it comes to sushi, but I couldnt at this place. The only good thing I can say is that’s it’s a cute place.

  • Susan says:
    May 2nd, 2011 at 9:54 pm   

    This place is fantastic. Their cocktail menu – outstanding. Their sushi roll menu – so much fun, and delicious. The atmosphere – hip, welcoming. The service is fantastic, the patio is lovely, the neighborhood is great for walking around in. The food there is really fantastic. It’s not traditional sushi, no, but it’s wonderful if you just open up your mind a little.

  • John Smelser says:
    November 5th, 2012 at 7:56 pm   

    Pachinko is a… game originating in Japan… and is used as a gambling device… comparable to that of the Slot Machine in Western gaming. Unfortunately, my experience with this restaurant leads me to believe I was being played as surely as though I would be by a slot machine.
    I ordered a delivered meal… and was assured by “Avery” that the quality was high and the food was delicious.
    When the meal was delivered I discovered two boxes in a sack. One contained a large amount of steamed Edamame… which was lukewarm at best, poorly salted, and largely tasteless.
    The other box was supposed to contain 6 pieces of Hamachi [Yellowtail] and two pieces of Salmon Nigiri… along with wasabi and pickled ginger.
    Everything was there… but all of it was wadded up in one corner of the box… giving the clear impression that [1] presentation is a concept of which this restaurant is unaware and [2] pride in the quality of both their fish, their ginger, and their wasabi was notably lacking.
    It is truly sad to note that a good many of the restaurants cropping up in “Midtown” Oklahoma City pay a great more attention to the quality of their website than they do to the quality of their fare.
    Pachinko Parlor quite definitely falls into this category.
    I do wish them the best, but decidedly feel they should strive for “the best” before they expect reviews containing that comment.

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