When I saw that a new Japanese restaurant had opened on Route 1 in Scarborough in the fall, I was excited for what it would add to the options of places to go, both in the Portland suburb and for sushi without the hassle of parking downtown.

Aside from an occasional El Rayo outing or a happy hour tucked away in Pat’s Pizza’s basement bar, I don’t go out in Scarborough that often, but every time I do, I think, I should come here more. And although the town’s dining options seemed to stagnate for a while, in recent years, a few pubs have cropped up, as have new additions to the collection of seafood joints.

Although I did enjoy the couple bowls of pho I had at the Vietnamese restaurant that Oishi replaced, here in Portland, I have no shortage of options for pho, with or without parking lots – and at least four within a mile’s walk. Sushi with free parking, however? There’s not a ton to choose from in Greater Portland, and some of the places I’ve been just didn’t instill the confidence I require when eating raw fish.

Oishi’s decor is sparse but met my standard of cleanliness for ordering from the sushi bar, which at lunchtime includes the option of two or three rolls with a choice of miso soup or salad ($10.50, $13.50). I got the salmon avocado and spicy California rolls with a salad, then tacked on a hibachi clear soup ($3.50), which I needed to have as soon as I saw it on the menu, and its flavorful broth and thinly sliced mushrooms lived up to the versions in my memory.

A three-roll and a two-roll sushi bar lunch from Oishi.

I was a hibachi birthday kid, just as much for the food as the show, so I can appreciate that Oishi dedicates a whole section of the menu to all the standard hibachi meals ($14 for vegetable to $30 for lobster and scallop, each with clear soup, salad, shrimp appetizer, mixed vegetables, and fried rice or noodles), even though there’s no onion volcano.

Oishi’s other Japanese offerings include yaki udon (stir-fried noodle with cabbage, zucchini, pepper, carrots, onion and celery with choice of protein, $11-$14) and katsu (breaded chicken or pork cutlet), donburi (katsu with an egg) and teriyaki dinners, all of which come with rice and other sides for $11 to $19, depending on the protein.

You can also choose from kitchen dinners more commonly found at Chinese restaurants (like beef and broccoli or Kung Pao chicken), pad Thai or Drunken Noodle, and a bunch of appetizers, both cooked and raw. If you remotely enjoy any sort of Asian cuisine, you should be able to find something on this extensive menu that suits you.

But because meter-free sushi is what I need more of in my life, I stuck with my plan and was perfectly satisfied. The sushi bar lunch deal, available daily until 3 p.m. except on holidays, will be tough to pass up, but I’d like to give a couple of the 22 specialty rolls a try sometime. And considering its convenient location and the pleasant service, it could become my go-to spot for Chinese and Thai food, too.


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