The Best Fish for Sushi

The freshness of the fish is the key to the best sushi. Great sushi restaurants rely on fish that goes directly on ice once it is caught in the ocean. This keeps the fish fresh and safe for shipping. What kind of fish is used can vary, but of course some are more familiar than others. Here are seven popular sushi fish, all of which you can find in delicious sushi rolls at Osaka Japanese Bistro.

Seven Sushi Fish Favorites

Fresh fish in white tiger sushi from Osaka Japanese Restaurant

  • Hamachi (Yellowtail): Also known as Japanese Amberjack, yellowtail is a fatty fish with a mild flavor that is perfect for someone who is new to sushi.
  • Shake (Salmon): People love the deep, rich color of salmon. Its flavor makes it a favorite among sushi buffs and it is loaded with healthy Omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Saba (Mackerel): This is for the more sushi lovers who don’t mind a more “fishy” smell and flavor. Saba is often cured for several hours in vinegar and salt before serving.
  • Hirame (Halibut): This is a more lean fish, so the rich flavor usually surprises and delights people. Halibut can be chilled on ice before serving or it can be prepared through a process called kobijume, which involves grilling it on the outside and then dunking the fish in ice.
  • Bintoro (Albacore Tuna): This fish lives in warmer water than many other varieties of tuna, which contributes to it smooth texture and delicate meat.
  • Tai (Red Snapper): This white-meat fish is another safe bet if you are new to sushi. It has a very mild flavor and is popular at sushi bars year-round.
  • Unagi (Freshwater Eel): This is usually a grilled form of sushi brushed with soy sauce. Freshwater eel is a fatty fish that is packed with vitamin B.

For the More Adventurous Sushi Lover

Sashimi plate with decorative dried fish

Sashimi plate

  • Ika (Squid): Many people avoid squid because of the tentacles, but the firm texture and rich flavor should not be missed.
  • Uni (Sea Urchin): Sea urchin’s flavor is described as sweet and delicious, and it combines well with many other flavors of sushi.
  • Kurage (Jellyfish): People with the courage to try jellyfish are often surprised to find that is their “new favorite” sushi. The texture actually has a slight crunch which is unexpected.
  • Akagai (Surf Clams): Clams make a soft and chewy sushi. They are usually served in a beautiful flower pattern.
  • Iwashi (Sardine): Sardines are difficult to find fresh, so they are considered a delicacy in a sushi setting.

Selecting Fish for Sushi at Home

Young amberjack fish or buri fish in Japan is hamachi fish frozen in ice from fishery market

Many people enjoy making sushi at home. If you do give this a try, just like in restaurant sushi, the freshness of the fish you use is very important. Here are some tips on having the best and safest sushi-making experience.

  • Never eat freshwater fish raw. You always want sushi that is ocean-caught or responsibly farmed, to avoid parasites.
  • Look for “sushi-grade” fish. This means that the fish was caught, bled and gutted, and then frozen directly on the boat. Fish needs to be frozen at 0 degrees Fahrenheit for seven days, or at -35 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 hours (flash frozen) in order to kill known parasites.
  • If you buy fresh fish, try to serve it the same day that it is purchased. Ideally, you will want to buy fish that is still swimming in a tank; specialty markets will carry “live” sushi fish that is in season.
  • If a fish has cloudy eyes or feels mushy when you press a finger against it, don’t use it for sushi. It’s better to be safe than sorry!
  • If you want to use any type of shellfish for sushi, make sure the shells are intact. A cracked shell can lead to the meat spoiling much quicker.

Osaka Japanese Bistro Sushi

The sushi fish at Osaka Japanese Bistro in Las Vegas are selected fresh daily. We have long-standing relationships with some of the best suppliers in the region. Osaka has been in business for 50 years and we know you will love our fresh sashimi, nigiri and local specialty rolls! Stop by one of our Las Vegas or Henderson locations and enjoy a great sushi experience.

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Traditional Favorite Japanese Foods

What are the Foods that Japanese Eat at Home?

Japanese are known to have one of the world’s longest life expectancies,and they have very few case of obesity which contributes to health problems. Japanese women live an average 87 years with men following closely at 80 years. The longevity of the Japanese people is mainly attributed to their healthy diet which is largely made up of fish, vegetables, and plants. One defining quality is that Japanese cuisine emphasizes quality and not quantity.

Traditional and popular Japanese foods for sale in food market in Tokyo, Japan.

The Japanese eat food in moderation and with a lot of variety. Eating lots of different foods is a natural way to get the benefits of a balanced diet. For example, a typical Japanese meal is comprised of 1 soup, 3 side dishes, and a main dish. Japanese often practice the rule to eat until you are 80% full and then stop. Their cuisine and dining focus on the beautiful presentation of food, encouraging people to eat with their eyes. And, chopsticks, unlike the Western fork, tend to slow the eating process, as food is lifted to the mouth in smaller bites, delivering more taste and enjoyment.  All these habits help the Japanese maintain healthy eating habits.

These are the seven pillars of the typical Japanese meal:

  • Rice
  • Noodles (ramen, soba, somen, and udon)
  • Vegetable including sea vegetables and daikon radish
  • Soy (soy sauce, tofu, miso,edamame)
  • Fish such as salmon, mackerel
  • Green tea
  • Fruits, like tangerine, persimmons and Fuji grapes
Miso Soup

Miso Soup

Some of the most common types of dishes served in Japanese cuisine are:

Noodles

Noodles are a standard component of Japanese meals and can either be taken cold or hot depending on the season. There are different types of noodles and their mode of preparation differ depending on the kind of accompaniment.

Rice

Osaka steamed rice

Rice is served with every Japanese meal. Daily rice served with meals is usually steamed and lightly seasoned. But, rice may be cooked in a variety of ways and served with different spices and adding delicacies to make it more nutritious. Some popular rice dishes are:

Rice bowl – mainly served at breakfast. You can mix with raw eggs and soya sauce or eat it with traditional and distinctively flavored, fermented soybean-based natto or other toppings.

Donburi –this is plain cooked rice served with some food on top. It’s found in high-end restaurants but is also common in Japanese homes and local restaurants. You can serve donburi with stewed beef (gydon), tendon, chicken and egg and katsudon.

Onigiri (rice balls) – is cooked rice wrapped in nori seaweed. You can season it lightly with salt and filling such as pickled japanese plum, dried bonito shavings or salmon. It is inexpensive and usually available in convenience food stores. You can also get it easily in general restaurants.

Curry rice – plain cooked rice with japanese curry sauce. Serve it with additional toppings to increase flavor.

Sushi – refers to any dish that contains sushi rice flavored with seasoned rice vinegar.

Fried rice – it’s also known as chahan. You can add a variety of ingredients in fried rice and the most common ones are eggs, peas, negi (green onions), pork and carrots.

Kayu – a form of porridge, deemed suitable for sick people because it is easily digestible. Make kayu by slowly cooking rice in lots of water. It’s thicker than any other rice porridge and you can garnish it with umeboshi.

Seafood dishes

grilled fish

There are a variety of seafood available in Japan from its lakes, rivers, oceans and seas. The different fish species are prepared in different ways and play a big role in Japanese cuisine. Eaten as a staple in most Japanese households, fish may be prepared boiled, deep fried, steamed or grilled.

The most preferred variety is yakizakana, or grilled fish. Fish that can be prepared this way are saba, sweet fish(ayu), sea bream, aje, salmon and mackerel pike. You may also enjoy seafood raw, as long as it’s fresh and prepared correctly. A special art and not commonly prepared at home, raw fish is frequently enjoyed as a treat in specialty sushi restaurants, in the form of sushi, sashimi, nigiri and chirashi.

Vegetables

Apart from the predominance of seafood in the Japanese diet, vegetables play a large part in their diet. Commonly, these vegetables are simmered in dashi broth (the base for miso soup) , steamed, simply boiled or sautéed. They may be served with soy sauce or mayonnaise.

Edamame at Osaka Japanese Restaurant

Edamame

Beverages

Most Japanese meals are accompanied with green tea. During warmer months, meals are served with mugicha (cold barley tea). Beer and sake are alcoholic drinks that may be served with dinner.

Dessert

Sweet Japanese-style cakes with fruits and cream.

The most common dessert includes rice cakes, sweet beans, sweet rice cakes, frozen treats, and gelatins. Manju, for example, is a confection made of a filling of sweetened red bean paste and a chewy outside skin made of flour, rice powder and buckwheat.

Japanese cuisine is very varied and highly refined over centuries of Japanese culture. In a culture that values simplicity, beauty, good health and moderation, no wonder the Japanese cuisine is one of the world’s healthiest and most admired. Whether you have the opportunity to try native Japanese cuisine in Japan, or visit an authentic Japanese restaurant near you, like the original Osaka Japanese Bistro in Las Vegas, we hope that you will get to know and enjoy a variety of Japanese foods.

 

Family-Friendly Japanese Restaurant in Las Vegas

The answer to your family’s question:  “is there a great Japanese restaurant near me?”

Osaka Japanese restaurant Tokujyo nigiri plate

Visiting or living in Las Vegas? Looking for a family-friendly Japanese restaurant? You just can’t beat the one that’s been in town the longest: Osaka Japanese Bistro.

Popular Japanese restaurant Osaka is a long-time local favorite, open late and, with two central locations, easy to find. With its lively sushi bar and extensive menu of authentic Japanese dishes, Osaka’s is a place where everyone from local politicians to Strip entertainers may be seen from time to time. But it’s the homey, relaxed atmosphere and seemingly endless choice of dishes that also make Osaka a family-friendly destination any day, for lunch or dinner. For kids, Osaka’s can be a delicious way to explore Japanese culture through cuisine.

Looking for authentic Japanese? This is it. The Asahi Shukan, Japan’s largest weekly magazine, named Osaka among the 50 top Japanese restaurants. Osaka is the only restaurant outside of Japan to win a spot on the list.

Japanese Cuisine for Every Member of the Family

Beef Teriyaki boat with salad, sushi and tempura vegetables

The Nakanishi family, founders and now second generation owners, pride themselves on offering a truly authentic and very extensive selection of Japanese dishes. There are so many dishes that it can be hard to choose. (This is one of the many reasons locals return to Osaka Japanese Bistro again and again.) At Osaka Japanese restaurant, there really is something for everyone on a menu that features more than 30 appetizers and over 75 different sushi rolls.

Are your kids picky eaters? Most kids love noodle soup – they can chow down on a big steaming bowl of udon or soba noodles. With it’s sweet taste, teriyaki unagi over rice is another choice destined to please a young palate. And, there’s a Karate Kids menu section at the teppanyaki grill. Appetizers? Why not order squid fingers – breaded and fried squid slices with our special honey sauce.

More Dining Adventure With Osaka Japanese Dishes

Daring young adventurers might like to sample a plate of sushi or gobble up a plate of gyoza (choice of steamed or fried).

Osaka Japanese restaurant gyoza plate with sushi side

For non-meat eaters, there’s the Vegetarian Special. Its array of edamame, veggie sushi, and vegetable tempura makes it a great choice for family-style sharing. Our hot pots (choose from shabu shabu, sukiyaki or yosenabe) are also meant to be shared. Each comes with Napa cabbage, carrots and leeks, tofu, bamboo, shiitake mushrooms, and rice noodles.

For sushi lovers there are traditional, original and local favorite sushi varieties to enjoy, like Something Wrong, Pocket Aces, Oh My God, Rock & Roll, Kamikaze, and Banzai! Try the Tokyo Express, or ask for the Chef’s recommendation. Each creation is the work of a sushi artist who loves his work and delivers the freshest and most delicate sushi flavors in town.

Time for dessert? Osaka offers an extensive dessert menu, including mochi ice cream, a kids’ favorite. These ice cream dessert balls—including fruit flavors like mango—are wrapped in rice dough and chilled. Or give a try to Osaka’s signature tempura ice cream.

Treat the Kids to an Authentic Tatami Room or Teppanyaki Grill Experience

Japanese hibachi grill or teppanyaki chef in front of flaming grill

Depending on how your family is feeling, choose from a number of dining settings. Kids love taking off their shoes and spreading out in a tatami room experience. Dining on the floor somehow makes the food just a bit more exotic for first timers, so let the kids get a taste of tradition with their own tatami mat experience.

For an exciting dining option, check out the teppanyaki (hibachi style) grill experience. Your very own, specially trained teppan chef will prepare freshly grilled meats, seafood and vegetables in a flaming display of artistry and flavor. This is a great way to celebrate a birthday, graduation or other special event, or just to liven up a boring evening. Call ahead to reserve a table as these experiences go fast.

Of course, every sushi lover enjoys the sushi bar where you can watch Las Vegas’ freshest sushi being prepared by expert sushi chefs before your eyes. Nothing beats freshly rolled sushi. The whole family will enjoy selecting new flavors and admiring the delicious, creative and artistic presentations as the sushi arrives.

For families in a hurry or just looking for a great meal, you can opt for regular, western table seating, too. You’ll get the same warm and helpful service and be able to pick from a number of extensive menus to get just what you’re craving.

Whatever style you choose, our mood is relaxed, laid-back, familiar, and perfect for family outings. Our original location on Sahara has been around a long time, since 1967. We love it for the history and memories, and we think it is now broken in just enough to really allow the food to take center stage and deliver a fantastic dining experience to all who visit us.

tatami room at Osaka Japanese Bistro in Las Vegas

A Staff on a Mission to Delight You

Most of the professionals at Osaka have been here for many years. Everybody’s happy you’ve come and that you’re bringing the kids. So take a break from the Las Vegas tourist scene and go where those in the know go.

If you have young children, you might find that an early visit works better for you. Lunch at Osaka is an exceptional family-friendly value, running throughout the afternoon.

After the kids have gone to bed and you fancy a small bite, check out the late night menu. An impressive number of Asian beers are always available. Try a hot sake or house wine from our selection.

Just too busy to get out of the house? You can also order online through our delivery service.

Locations on West Sahara and now in Henderson

Patrons are invited to visit both of our locations, each with its own distinct atmosphere. In Las Vegas, the original Osaka, on West Sahara Ave. (under the miniature Statue of Liberty) isn’t far from the Strip. It’s also a short drive from Summerlin and most Las Vegas neighborhoods.  Get a taste of “classic” Las Vegas with our original architecture and location, as well as some memories of past times that line our walls.

Our Henderson restaurant, an easy drive from the South Valley, is our newest addition. Light and open with room to enjoy art and evenings with live jazz, our Henderson restaurant is a fun experience for all ages.

Either way, expect to be treated with the best, authentic Japanese sushi and food in Las Vegas, a treat for the entire family.

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Looking for Best Restaurants in Las Vegas? Osaka is Still the Place to Be!

Sushi roll from Osaka Japanese BistroFounded in 1967 by native Las Vegan Sam Nakanishi, Osaka Japanese Bistro was Las Vegas’ first Japanese restaurant. As a great new option in a town with few ethnic food restaurants, Osaka’s fresh, healthy food and authentic Japanese atmosphere made it the place to be for local notables and regular folks as well. Today, fans agree Osaka remains among the best restaurants in Las Vegas.  Run today by Sam’s son, Gene Nakanishi, Osaka has earned recognition from diners and critics alike for the quality and freshness of its ingredients as well as the diversity and variety of its menu. The restaurant’s award-winning sushi chef, Shingo “Shin” Aihara, leads a team of talented Japanese-trained chefs in creating a memorable and delicious dining experience that qualifies Osaka to take its place in the ranks of Las Vegas best restaurants.

Award Winning Japanese Cuisine in Las Vegas

Under the leadership of Aihara, a one-time National Sushi Competition Adjudicator in Japan, Osaka has Best of Las Vegas banners hanging on the entrance to Osaka Japanese Bistro on West Sahara in Las Vegasbeen recognized and acclaimed by food critics and diners around the world as one of the best Las Vegas restaurants. The Asahi Shukan, Japan’s largest and longest-circulating weekly magazine, named Osaka among the 50 best Japanese restaurants in the world – the only restaurant outside of Japan included on the list. Famed internationally, Osaka is well-known and well-loved by locals as well. Both the Las Vegas and Henderson locations are favorite spots for a tasty lunch or a great late-night dining experience. The local newspaper, the Las Vegas Review Journal, has awarded its readers’ choice “Best of Las Vegas” honor to Osaka 20 times.

Large and Delicious Menu of Sushi and other Japanese Favorites

Authentic Japanese dish served at Osaka Japanese BistroThe basis for this enthusiastic praise rests with Osaka’s extensive and well-crafted menu and dining experience. Offering three Japanese dining styles–including a sushi bar, a teppanyaki grill and traditional tatami rooms–Osaka is designed to meet all of its diners’ Japanese food cravings. Osaka’s authentic dishes include over 30 appetizer options and 75 different sushi rolls. Befitting its stellar reputation, Aihara and his cooking staff use only the freshest ingredients based on seasonality to craft Osaka’s signature dishes, including sayori (halfbeak), awabi (live abalone), katsuo (bonita), kanpachi (rudderfish) aoyagi (live surf clams) and Blue Fin Toro. Many of these exotic ingredients are typically only found in Japan, and Osaka imports them to provide their sushi bar with the widest variety of any restaurant in Las Vegas.

Family-Owned Restaurant Serving Las Vegas for Generations

Family-run since its opening four decades ago, Osaka is not just one of the best restaurants in Las Vegas; the restaurant, its owners and its staff have also become an important staples of the local community. band playing during jazz evening at Osaka in Henderson, NVHaving participated in numerous local charity events, Osaka is also a member of the Las Vegas Host Lions Club, a community organization dedicated to promoting volunteering and community pride. The Nakanishi family carries on its tradition of quality recipes and a passion for service that has sustained the popularity of Osaka with tourists and locals alike.  Many return again and again to enjoy a delicious lunch or dinner, witness the cooking artistry at the teppan table, relax in a traditional tatami room or chat with friends at the sushi bar in a classic Las Vegas atmosphere. Patrons can choose between the historic, original restaurant location on West Sahara Ave, not far from the Strip, or to take in an evening of live jazz at the Henderson restaurant. With its excellent ingredients, authentic menu and dedication to the community, it is easy to see why Osaka Japanese Bistro has become a premier destination and holds its long-standing place among the best Las Vegas restaurants.

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Teppanyaki Grill: Enjoy Japanese Barbecue with Style

Osaka Japanese Bistro Teppan GrillWe thought it would be a good time to reintroduce our customers to teppanyaki dining.  With spring and summer’s longer days coming up, our pleasantly warm Las Vegas evenings encourage people to dine out more often. Dinner at a traditional teppanyaki grill is a fun and different dining experience that is also tasty and healthy.

Teppanyaki is a Japanese-style dining experience that gives customers a front-row seat as a chef prepares their meal table-side on a sizzling iron griddle. The Japanese word “teppanyaki” is a combination of “teppan” which translates to iron plate and “yaki” which means grilled or pan-fried. Lunch or dinner at a teppan grill is a crowd-pleasing treat – a flaming onion volcano is sure to put a smile on any diner’s face – with a wide variety of entree choices from lobster tail to Kobe beef.

History of Teppanyaki Grill

While some claim that teppanyaki dates back 200 years, the Japanese restaurant chain Misono is credited with a strong hand in creating modern teppanyaki and in 2015 celebrated the 70th anniversary of their first “teppanyaki steak” served in 1945. Shigeji Fujioka opened his Misono restaurant in Kobe and his teppanyaki steak became popular among American officers stationed in Japan after the war. The foreigners enjoyed the blend of high-quality meat and watching the chef work on the teppanyaki grill. Word soon spread to celebrities and food lovers about this unique dining experience.

Teppanyaki Grill Technique

Chef cooking wagyu beef in Japanese teppanyaki restaurantThe flat, hot cooking surface is key to the flavorful preparation of Teppanyaki dishes.  Teppan grills, which are usually propane heated, can reach temperatures up to 450° C. The solid, griddle-style surface allows for the cooking of small volume ingredients ingredients such as rice, eggs and vegetables that will accompany the main meat dish, so your entire meal is prepared fresh before your eyes. Unlike a typical restaurant meal, which often cools as it is brought to the table, the teppanyaki grill allows for every bite of your meal to be hot and fresh, as you eat while the chef works by your side on his hot cooking surface. The chef prepares the entire meal table-side from soup and salad to appetizers to vegetables, rice and entrees. It takes years for teppanyaki chefs to perfect the knife work and other skills required to cook in front of customers, as well as to learn the presentation style and tricks that make the Teppanyaki an entertainment experience as well as a meal.

Teppanyaki Grill Ingredients

Teppanyaki grilled seafood plateSince teppanyaki started in Kobe, beef is front and center on the menu with diners choosing from such cuts as rib eye, New York or filet mignon. Top restaurants, including Osaka Japanese Bistro, offer certified Kobe beef from Japan. Teppanyaki, however, is not just for steak lovers as chefs also prepare chicken and pork. Seafood teppan grill may feature anything from shrimp to  jumbo sea scallops to calamari.

Teppanyaki Today

In 2006 the Japan Teppanyaki Association was formed with the aim of improving teppanyaki chef skills and promoting the dining style. The association helped implement a system of teppanyaki skills with chefs taking exams and earning certifications all the way up to Semi-Master and Master. Teppanyaki continues to evolve with chefs around the world putting their own touch on the cuisine. You can find teppanyaki grills on every continent from Dubai to Cape Town to Las Vegas.

Osaka Japanese Bistro has a long tradition of preparing teppanyaki for our guests. Teppanyaki is available at both our Las Vegas and Henderson locations. It’s a great experience for groups, so call ahead to reserve a spot and bring your friends for a fun time. With our extensive Teppan Grill menu, you can enjoy a broad range of seafood, meats and side dishes, all prepared in traditional fashion by our trained teppan chefs.  Come in tonight for a memorable meal and fun experience at our teppan grill.

How to: Selecting the perfect wine

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