Shiki: consistent, affordable, and convenient sushi in Oklahoma City
Sushi is one of my favorite types of food. I have eaten at most places in town, probably more than once, but there is one place I always seem to back to — Shiki. Sure, there are fancier sushi bars. There are more unique sushi bars. There are more eclectic, chic, nuevo, hip, and gourmet sushi spots in town. Shiki, however, is consistent, affordable, and convenient.
Shiki is convenient. With locations near Quail Springs and on Reno near Meridian, Shiki is always close enough to satisfy that last minute sushi craving. If your wife seems to get pregnant as often as mine, this can be a lifesaver. Somewhere near the end of that first trimester, I always seem to have to make an eel roll run.
Both locations serve sushi and hibachi. I will not review the hibachi piece. Sure, hibachi is pretty good, but it’s basically meat and rice thrown on a big griddle and cooked in soy sauce. Not much to write about unless you have a really good performer for a chef, and I haven’t found a good hibachi chef in town yet. It never fails that they drop a knife, flip a shrimp over my head and onto the floor behind me, or do an unimpressive knife and spatula spin that amounts to a lot of drumming and clicking, but very little actual trickery. Believe it or not, the best hibachi performance I have ever seen was in Appleton, Wisconsin. I know, weird. That and Benihana, the worlds best-known hibachi restaurant. Benihana always has good performers. I hear you know how good your teppenyaki chef is by the size and color of his hat. That is unconfirmed though. Ok, enough of the hibachi sidebar … back to Shiki.
The inside of Shiki is nothing super-fancy. There are hibachi grills on one side with table seating for sushi enthusiasts on the other. I actually like the location on Reno that shares a building with City Bites the best. It is smaller, but I really like the atmosphere better. On the other hand, I have friends that swear by the Quail Springs location, especially for happy hour.
Shiki is consistent. Like I said, there are places in town with fancier rolls and more artsy or gourmet presentations. I have reviewed Saii, for instance, which outshines Shiki from a presentation standpoint. But after some of the comments by Oklahoma City’s sushi following, I’m not sure I want to go back. No one I’ve ever talked to, on the other hand, says bad things about Shiki (please feel free to be the first — we always love to hear your comments). It’s always good, has a big enough variety to please most sushi-lovers, and has always been fresh and flavorful.
I’m not going to describe the rolls in detail. They have your typical sushi rolls here, nothing out of the ordinary or crazy fancy. My favorite sushi ingredients are shrimp, eel, tuna, and octopus. I’m not a big salmon fan because I feel it has such a strong flavor that it overpowers the other ingredients. They also serve sashimi here correctly. Thin, raw slices of very fresh fish, without a bunch of “stuff” all around it. I have been to other places that want to decorate it with everything in the kitchen, but to me sashimi should be plain and simple. Just a little soy sauce for flavor.
Shiki is also affordable. Again, I know there will be comment after comment about ten other sushi bars in town and why they are the best, but Shiki gets you in and out without breaking the bank. Rolls range from $5 to $9 so if you go into it fiscally aware, you can easily fill yourself for $15 or so. I think some of the fancier places get away with charging a premium for plating and it doesn’t necessarily translate into flavor. If you want to stay under $10, order an affordable roll, soup, and a salad. It’s cost effective and healthy.
On a side note, I was disappointed one night at a different sushi place when I sat at the bar waiting for a roll to be prepared and asked for a bowl of miso soup while I waited. The chef simply scooped out a spoonful of dry mix, added some hot water, and gave it to me. Just like I would do at home from a mix. He said every place makes Miso Soup this way. I guess I always envisioned someone slaving away in the kitchen drying sardines and mushrooms, making a homemade miso paste, and hand-cutting little bits of tofu, but apparently that doesn’t happen. Just an FYI. Ok, enough of the miso soup sidebar … back to Shiki.
I’m still amazed at how many people are scared of sushi. Sushi doesn’t mean raw fish, sashimi means raw fish. In fact, probably half the rolls on the menu contain only cooked seafood. Shrimp, crab, and octopus are going to be cooked every time, at least in America. Next time you are at Shiki ruining a perfectly good fillet by having it cut up into little pieces, covered in soy sauce, and overcooked on a griddle, think again and have sushi. Your wait staff will happily tell you what each piece is, and if you are scared of raw food (you are missing out on great flavors, try to talk yourself out of this fear) get a roll without raw fish. Open up your taste buds to something fresh and flavorful. Shiki brings it to you consistently and affordably at either convenient location.
Please let us know your thoughts on Shiki, other sushi places, or sushi in general in the comments.