Saii, sophisticated sushi experience

by | October 6, 2007 | 39 Comments

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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.

Saii Asian Bistro and Sushi Bar on Urbanspoon

This article was posted by Andrew Littleton on Saturday, October 6th, 2007. It is filed under:

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  • Cassandra says:
    October 15th, 2007 at 7:35 pm   

    Saii was a very pleasant surprise to say the least. I am not very often impressed with new eateries in the metro area, but this one definitely stands out. The atmosphere is perfect for a date or a night out with friends. All the tables are comfortable with couch like seating, perfect for snuggling up on a romantic date. The music is set at the perfect volume and the ambience is amazing. I haven’t even gotten to the food yet. Wow! I was really impressed. The asian cuisine was amazing and really unique to this city. We had the sweet & sour chicken and were blown away by how wonderful and different it was despite being such a seemingly boring choice. The sushi was equally as wonderful, very fresh with a beautiful presentation. I try different places everytime i go out and am rarely as pleasantly surprised and just downright impressed as I was with this one. Way to go Saii! I highly recommend this one.

  • Andrew says:
    October 16th, 2007 at 10:13 pm   

    Thanks for the comment! I agree, in a world where the Hibachi grill is considered the ultimate Asian dining experience, Saii really stands out as a tastier and more dynamic restaurant. If you find other places that really stand out be sure and let us know.

  • Daysha says:
    October 24th, 2007 at 4:51 pm   

    You should try shiki. They have amazing sushi

  • Joseph says:
    November 6th, 2007 at 1:15 pm   

    I believe the owner of Saii used to own Asian Cafe on Britton. Before the change in ownership Asian Cafe offered the very best asian food in Oklahoma City.

  • Tim says:
    November 7th, 2007 at 7:44 am   

    Joseph, thanks for that info. I thought Asian cafe was a really cool little place, but I wasn’t overly impressed with the food, but went there just recently. Maybe it used to be better as you suggest.

  • Susan says:
    November 10th, 2007 at 4:42 am   

    I have seen the kitchen at Saii bistro while delivering supplies and it is an ecoli epidemic waiting to happen. The dinning area is amazing though. I would not pay to eat there.

  • Daniel says:
    January 2nd, 2008 at 5:03 pm   

    The setting is good. The lights were dimmed low. I was pleased at first, but was disappointed at the dirty silverwares. My wife and our 3 kids ordered some entrees along with sushi and gotten VERY SICK. I would NOT RECOMMEND!

  • Dawn says:
    February 11th, 2008 at 7:23 pm   

    After loosing our reservations for a Saturday night we were finally seated an hour later although we were never informed that our reservation had been lost. Service was equally slow. Our server was unattentive & refused to take our order when we were ready. Finally after being seated for 20mins he came back to take our order. We asked to speak to the manger/owner who proceeded to accuse us of lying about our reservations. We finally left the resturant 3hrs later. As we were FINALLY leaving the server made a snide comment as the last of the party was leaving the table. When confronted he quickly ran to the kitchen. I would absolutely not recommend.

  • Andrew says:
    February 12th, 2008 at 10:35 pm   

    The news continues to get worse about this place. I had a great experience, but am now scared to go back. Maybe I should stick with the shady places.

  • Nikki Landsberger says:
    February 15th, 2008 at 10:42 am   

    We had a large party and reserved a table for 2/14. We arrived promptly at 7pm and were seated immediately. It took 20 minutes to get our drinks. It took another 20 minutes to place our order. At 9pm (2 hours after being seated) we still did not have our food. When I asked the waiter where our food was he said “it will be out any minute” – 15 minutes later I asked again and was told “any minute now”. We finally just got up and walked out. Never receiving our meal. Each person in our party has agreed that we will never go back.

  • mike says:
    March 1st, 2008 at 5:22 pm   

    I had a similar experience when they first opened. Sat at the table for 20 minutes before a server even brought us water or anything. Another 15 minutes for drinks and appetizers. Another 45 minutes for sushi. Super slow and unfriendly service. And food was below adequate. The decor is awesome and that’s the only thing going for it. Tokyo Sushi is still the best sushi place in OKC. On the flip side, I have a few friends who went to Saii and they loved it. At most, they are very inconsistent which is almost worse than just being a bad restaurant.

  • Yashiro Naruse says:
    March 2nd, 2008 at 3:25 am   

    When there with a friend tonight, thinking it would be as good as some of the comments says it was. Did the sushi. Yuck! Most important part of any sushi is the rice. Tasted like steamed Calrose rice without any of the seasoning. Even if they were to use the premix seasoning for sushi rice found at Walmart, it would at least taste decent. Not even a hint of rice vinegar much less the Sake, Mirin (Sweet Sake) and Konbu (dried kelp)needed to make sushi rice. Disappointing and overpriced. Also had their sample appetizer platter. Satay sauce was a joke and coconut shrimp… stick with Outback Steakhouse. For Sushi I recommend OKC’s oldest Sushi Bar .. Tokyo Sushi.

  • Austin says:
    May 15th, 2008 at 1:15 pm   

    The setting at Saii is very contemporary-it’s a nice little atmosphere, but as several others have said, the service is very lacking. They take forever to get out drinks, to take your order and to bring the food to you. They are also not very friendly. The sushi was decent but not as good as some other places. I recommend Okura overall. Neko is also good but tends to be on the pricy side. I am trying Shiki tonight so we’ll see how that goes.

  • Rena says:
    May 23rd, 2008 at 11:35 pm   

    Well, I went to Saii for my son’s birthday on May 18th. We were a table of 10. We received very good service, water and tea refills and the food was great. We would definately return. My daughter who is a sushi fan said that her order was wonderful and a bit different from the other sushi restaurants around town. My pad thai with shrimp was tasty and had a lot of shrimp. The servings were large but not outrageous. They allowed us to bring a cake and helped serve it.

  • Alice says:
    June 17th, 2008 at 12:46 pm   

    I heard the owners are suing each other and the restaurant is going under. The atmosphere there is nice, but you can get the same food, or better, at a cheaper price elsewhere.

  • Matthew says:
    July 1st, 2008 at 1:48 pm   

    Geeze louise, Alice. Do you have any other rumors or inuendo you would like to share with group?
    I don’t know much about saii, but this seems a rather nasty bit of proprietary information and not all that helpful, Mrs. Kravitz.

  • Tracy says:
    July 30th, 2008 at 1:58 pm   

    For the sushi officionados, try Tokyo Japanese Restaurant on Western just north of 63rd. They do not focus on decor or ambiance, but instead have AMAZING food. Truly, this place is the best in the state. Big statement, but a true one.

  • ModeratelyBC says:
    September 14th, 2008 at 7:55 pm   

    My friend had a bday party there, the wait was horrendous. The sushi was terrible. My rice was dry/a little hard and the crawfish tasted absolutely disgusting. Very slow service. We will definitely not be coming back. If you’re going to eat sushi in OKC, it HAS to be at Tokyo.

    http://www.tokyookc.com/

  • Kristy says:
    November 15th, 2008 at 11:56 am   

    Love the decor but the service is very poor.

  • mike g. says:
    November 27th, 2008 at 11:06 pm   

    Saii is a decent place to get some sushi. They have a fairly large selection here and they have all the traditional and popular selections of sushi. The ambiance of this place is nice, it is not too formal and not super casual either. The service here is great. If you are a fan of sushi, then this is not the best place to get really authentic sushi, but their selection is satisfying and not too bad tasting either.

  • jordanB says:
    November 30th, 2008 at 1:21 am   

    I think that this is THE most solid choice for dine-in Asian bistro(Thai,Sushi..) food in oklahoma. This place doesn’t focus solely on one particular genre of food, making it a really great choice for groups, dates, cousin get-together, visiting friends/family, whatever.

    FThey have a bunch of vegetarian rolls (yet another way to keep a picky crowd happy). For those of you who didn’t know this place existed and/or are scared of sushi, the hot Thai entrees and apps are tasty. Are there better Thai places in town? Sure. Will the dining experience be the same? Nah….

  • morgan velthy says:
    November 30th, 2008 at 1:31 am   

    I live close by and it’s soooo great to have a thai-sushi restaurant in this neighborhood. It’s not the best I’ve had, but it’s good, and a life-saver on nights when I just don’t feel like cooking. They have decent lunch specials which are a nice deal too. I don’t eat much sushi but I have friends who are big fans of their sushi menu. I’m craving some miso soup, so I might have to stop by saii later tomorrow.

  • morgan velthy says:
    December 1st, 2008 at 12:38 am   

    was recently introduced to saii and I was highly surprised. I love sushi, but would hardly call myself a Sushi Aficionado and luckily someone was there to educate me! Everything was wonderful and the staff was extremely nice.

    The heavenly roll and the spicy tuna stood out the most as my favorites. The menu has a wide arrangement of various sushi. The hardest part is making up your mind on what you want. I’ve had some sushi that was too fishy and the seaweed wrap was too salty or fishy tasting. I did not experience this with any of what I had.

    I’ve heard people say good and bad things about this place. I don’t think I have one bad thing to say about this place and will go many more times. I’ve also heard people rant and rave about their crab rangoon. I didn’t have any, but might on the next visit out.

    They also have a full Thai menu on top of. I didn’t have any, so I won’t rate it.

  • Josh says:
    December 8th, 2008 at 4:29 pm   

    Yeah… Morgan. I agree with you. I heard a lot bad things about Saii too, but I just don’t get it why. Honestly, all of my friends, my family and I think that Saii has the best sushi and atmosphere in town. And yet, their service is not as bad as people said too. My family and I love Saii very very much, the staffs are very friendly. Anyway, for those who haven’t been to Saii or who been afraid to go to Saii because of the bad reviews, I strongly recommend you to try this place yourself, dont be fooled by the bad reviews.

  • Helen says:
    December 9th, 2008 at 8:07 pm   

    I travel to OKC often. And every chance I get I get the “Three Flavor Fish” and the appetizer “Thai Spring Roll”. And everytime I have a wonderful meal. Just a truly unique place with friendly waitresses and waiters. This is a 5-star taste place. Reasonable price. Love Saii.

  • Kevin says:
    December 12th, 2008 at 9:45 am   

    I could see me entertaining their cooked menu, but I don’t see anyone getting me over to the sushi side of a menu anytime soon

  • Mark says:
    December 13th, 2008 at 11:22 am   

    For all you that don’t know the history of Saii, please ask around first before supporting Saii Restaurant. The current owner scammed 2 other partners by putting his name to 51% of ownership and used their money to start up the restaurant, then kicked them out.

  • Matt says:
    December 15th, 2008 at 2:25 pm   

    Golly, Mark! Financial intrigue in the buisiness world? The devil you say! And from what I can tell, most of this places terrible reviews came from the time when the other other owners were involved and the slew of glowing ones have come since the machivalian current owner tightened his grip. And to whom do suggest they “ask around” re: Saii?
    Other ill informed rumor mongers such as yourself? The restaurant world is very competive and multiple owners can give place and a staff conflicted and often schizophrenic atmosphere. It’s been said here before, try it for yourself, then decide.

  • Kimberly says:
    December 27th, 2008 at 1:40 am   

    wow! this is eataroundokc website, not gossip around! aren’t we supposed to talk about OKC restaurant’s food and service? I dont know and I dont care about any restaurant ownership problem or money problem, which is normal for any business. All i know is the food and the service here is great. All i care is the dining experience, and I always have great experience.

  • Judy says:
    December 29th, 2008 at 11:13 pm   

    count me in, kimberly. As long as their food still as good as it is. i really dont care about business matter.

  • Lynne says:
    January 28th, 2009 at 9:01 am   

    My husband and I went to Saii at the last minute on a busy Saturday night. With every single table full, the very helpful greeter found a place for us at the bar (which was fine by us), where we were served by a gregarious and friendly bartender. I was shocked at how reasonably priced the food was and impressed by the quality and flavors of our meal. Since then, we’ve been back several times, and each time I like the place more. Will recommend it highly to others.

  • Betty Scott says:
    February 20th, 2009 at 9:34 am   

    We had areservation for a table of 6 at 7 pm. We were seated promptly, served drinks within minutes and attended to throughout the evening. The food was excellent, beautifully prepared and delicious. Reasonable prices, lovely decor and friendly staff. Everything you could possibly expect and then some. You can see into the kitchen on your way to the restrooms and the kitchen was spotless, I have seen other reviews on here saying otherwise so they either have changed drastically or the reviewer owns a competing restaurant.

  • ChelC says:
    February 20th, 2009 at 4:24 pm   

    I love the place. Though a bit pricey, I definitely suggest that the tall male Asian waiter be substituted. He is a jerk, and a lousy waiter, tipped him once, but every time thereafter tipped him based on his service, and that was a big fat ZERO. Two times I’ve actually had the guts to say “I don’t want him as our waiter” and the last time he wasn’t there, so maybe he’s gone? Be willing to wait 45 minutes or so during the evenings, otherwise you will regret it.

    Again, the food was scrumptious. My number 2 of sushi restaurants in OKC, but definitely worth trying at least once…preferably during the day, when it’s less busy.

  • mandy says:
    April 3rd, 2009 at 1:51 am   

    I have eaten at all of the sushi restaurants in Oklahoma city and Norman and I have found the worst now, with Saii. The only time eating sushi that made me sick and the only time I have waited over 20 minutes for 2 rolls when not a single customer was in the room. The roll I had was a California roll topped with crawfish mix and the mix in the California roll was worst than targets premaid rolls. They also topped raw salmon with the hot crawfish mix, eww. I am going to stick with Shiki.

  • JuJu Beans says:
    April 21st, 2009 at 12:05 am   

    Lovely place, but bad food and extremely bad service. Me and my friend both got very sick after eating here. We have no returned since our last visit.

  • Bizzle says:
    October 26th, 2009 at 8:10 am   

    We finally made it here last night. They handled our party of 23 very well. For our section we ordered tempura veggies, tempura calamari, trio salad, spicy tuna roll, college roll, and a heaven roll to start. All being very good. Especially the trio salad. For dinner we had the steak stone pot, mongolian steak, combo fried rice, combo pad thai, and the ginger and garlic shrimp. Everything was more than edible, but terribly sweet. The steak stone pot and mongolian beef were almost identical, with the mongolian being slightly sweeter. The highlights were the ginger and garlic shrimp and the apps. The lows being the pad thai, which I probably would never order again. The sushi rolls were large and very tasty. So, great atmosphere, very accmmodating (Let us bring a cake and served us), and all the appetizers were yum!

  • SSSSSNAKES! says:
    March 1st, 2010 at 9:21 pm   

    Went to Saii for the first time with a friend on 02/13, she really likes it and suggested I come along. The interior was perfect with dimmed lighting and partitions between tables allow a private dining & conversation. Now, I am a big sushi fan, but not quite a well-versed connosieur. However, I tasted the most flavorful rolls ever in my sushi-consuming career…I ordered an eel roll, she had an amazing crunchy roll and, sadly, cannot recall what it is named. My friend always orders it, so we’ll go back, try that one again and I’ll report back!

  • Kathy Dinh says:
    May 18th, 2010 at 9:38 am   

    I was at Saii about a year ago and vowed to never go back again. Perhaps they have changed and is better but the food was horrible. I had super white tuna sashimi and it was not fresh at all. In my opinion, sashimi is how you tell if the sushi restaurant uses fresh ingredient. It is easy to hide the raw fish with rice, seaweed, extra stuff as in a roll, but when you eat just the raw fish, you can’t hide the quality!
    It was very bad and made me gag.
    I also ordered a rice dish and the rice was very very dry. I hope they have changed for the better since then, but I still will not go back. Nothing like bad raw fish to leave a lasting impression.

  • Suzi Caudell says:
    April 3rd, 2011 at 10:22 am   

    We had dinner at Saii last week and took some friends who had never been. The food and service were excellent, not to mention the great ambiance. We had a wonderful time. Our friends loved the place and the four of us are planning on going back very soon.

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