3035 Gerstner Memorial Drive • Lake Charles, LA
Seven years ago, my introduction to the local sushi options in Lake Charles came from some friends’ suggestion that my wife and I try a place called Osaka. They provided us with the address, and for the life of me I could not recall anything that resembled a sushi/hibachi style restaurant in this particular shopping center. As a matter of fact, I couldn’t think of anything located there aside from a defunct linen store. I was drawing blanks.
On a Friday evening, my wife and I decided to try this unknown-to-us restaurant. As we pull up, I’ll admit, I had second thoughts about going inside. How can you be impressed looking at an old strip mall when half the building is vacant? But, I love a challenge, and sometimes I walk away with a great story, or at least one worth sharing.
The dark-tinted doors hide everything, and once you step inside, it’s comfortable and inviting. The dark woods, black accents and burgundy paint set a mellow tone. The space is open; there’s plenty of seating and a waterfall feature in the center, with the hibachi tables secluded off to the right.
I often have the best experiences sitting at the bar; each visit we’ve made to Osaka has helped solidify this pattern. The interaction and the personable conversation are different from those one has when sitting at a table. I know people like to sit together and have their meals in their own company. However, I am definitely more of the extrovert, and love talking and interacting with the people around me.
Osaka has always afforded me that option. When we sit at the sushi bar, we are always treated to a crunch salad by the sushi chef. We get to watch him create his pretty pieces of gastronomic art.
On this particular night, the sushi chef is Mr. Joe himself. Whether it’s sushi or sashimi, the way this is all put together is stunning, and the taste is right in line. There is an abundance of sushi rolls, from traditional to house special, sashimi, and full menu options, including many traditional Japanese appetizers, dishes and nightly specials.
This night, we cover a lot of bases on the menu. The salmon sashimi was fresh and bright, the gyoza flavorful and hot. As is usually the case, our appetites don’t suppress our desire for more. The sushi rolls we ordered are being created in front of us.
The Summer Beach and the Shaggy Dog are almost too pretty to eat, but we’re here to taste, and it’s impressive every single time.
This is why we keep coming back over the years. It’s comfortable; it’s great food and service; and I believe it’s one of the most underrated restaurants in the area. If you’ve never had the pleasure of trying Osaka, I hope this review creates a little bit of curiosity for you. I promise, Mr. Joe will not let you down.
An Extra Dash
Poncho’s Taco Factory 2502 Broad Street • Lake Charles, LA
They are holding true to the definition of “Street Taco.”
These tacos are comprised of corn tortillas, the diner’s choice of steak or chicken, onion and cilantro, and a side of hot sauce. If you choose to add anything else, it will cost you. But you won’t need to add anything.
Jessie will definitely hook you up with these or whatever you order. Poncho’s offers a sizable menu and margaritas and beer. But for a quick lunch fix, this is the spot.