Saii, sophisticated sushi experience
Saii Asian Bistro / Sushi Bar is located at 6900 N. May Ave Oklahoma City (map). They are open Monday through Saturday. Contact them at 405.702.7244 or visit their website. Reservations are available by phone.
There has been a lot of local hype over the relatively new Saii Asian Bistro and Sushi Bar, so much so I had to experience it for myself. I have eaten at most sushi restaurants in the Oklahoma City area and have yet to really be impressed so I packed up the entire family, toddlers and all, and prepared for perhaps an above average tuna roll and some fried rice for the kids. What I found when we walked through the door was a trendy, hip, sophisticated place with a dynamic menu and upscale atmosphere.
My first thought was, “oh boy, my kids are really going to throw this feng shui out of balance”. While definitely not a kid friendly atmosphere, mine have been eating out since they were born and have learned how to behave in an adult environment. I did feel a bit guilty about all the rice on the floor around the youngest’s high chair when we left, but that’s why we leave a gracious tip right?
The first thing you notice when you walk into Saii is the decor. An Asian waterfall and rich red and yellow mood lighting relax you and make you forget that you are in an anything-but-trendy shopping center on North May. In fact, Saii feels like it would be more appropriately placed in the Skirvin Hotel downtown, or nestled in the arts district, but then again North May seems to be adding unique and inviting new eateries every week. Saii is definitely a welcome complement. Seating is lounge-style with large plush square dining areas, multiple bar seating areas, and regular table seating. I have been to other cutting-edge, trendy sushi bars in other cities and they are usually blasting rock music, have bright lighting, and the walls are covered with impressionist art forms. Saii is modern, yet traditional. Asian decor replaces the abstract art forms, and dark rich woods, mellow lighting, and soft music seem more accommodating to the digestive tract.
Saii has a full menu as well as a dynamic sushi selection. Appetizers of edamame, crab rangoon, calamari, or lobster shumai prepare the palate for more complex flavors ranging from your familiar Asian flare (pad thai, lo mein, fried rice, and curry dishes) to more unique offerings pairing seafood and steaks, and even a wide range of Asian influenced salads. The crab rangoon was surprisingly flavorful, nearly overstuffed with cream cheese and imitation crab meat. The sushi was the biggest surprise. Lots of very good varieties, unique from the other drab sushi eateries in the city. I tried several rolls that featured everything from calamari to tuna. Each roll was presented with thoughtful plating and unique flavors. Asparagus is an ever-present ingredient in many of the rolls which is new to me in most sushi I have eaten. The Saii ninja roll had a topping of crawfish and real crab meat (think really good chicken salad, but replace the chicken with various shellfish) that I could have spread on bread and made an amazing sandwich out of. For the most part, ingredients were fresh and presentation was phenomenal. The calamari was a bit tough, but it’s not like you can go pull squid out of the Oklahoma river. Actually….you probably can, I’ve seen strange things washed ashore on the banks of our dark brown waterway and bobbing along in Bricktown, but that’s another post.
Overall, it is a great experience and highly recommended. The nice thing about Saii is you can take a friend who is sushi-averse and still find a meal everyone can enjoy. You get a Manhattan atmosphere with an Oklahoma City price tag. I probably will not return with my 5 year old, 3 year old, and 1 year old, but I can promise I’ll be back to eat another round of tempting and unique culinary art.