It’s a Saturday in Memphis and of course that means rain and drizzling which means… absolutely nothing. It’s Memphis; we are troopers and getting out in the rain is a piece of cake. Okay that’s a bit of hyperbole considering the Memphis drivers love their phones so much that they can’t drive 3 feet without a bright light shining from the inside of their cars. What does this have to do with my Memphis Hi-Lite for the day? Absolutely nothing (okay insert the Jackie Chan voice from Rush Hour and “say it again”) Absolutely nun-ting.
Okay back to business. It’s Saturday and myself and of course the Wu Tang clan of LV and the kids spent most of the day lounging. I made some banging green salsa (ask me for the recipe in the comments) and we had some Tacos earlier in the day. Of course as the day kind of shifted to the afternoon and to dusk, I realized that the Mahi Mahi I took out of the freezer hadn’t thawed so my plans for a grilled Mahi Mahi over rice (with my homemade salsa) plan was out the window. I hadn’t written a Memphis Hi-Lite in a minute so using Choose 901’s recommendation the clan decided to check out whether Oshi Burger Bar was the real deal.
Now, in my mind Oshi, was really close to Oh Shit, so I’m thinking this better be good or my ‘oh shit’ will be a bad review. We jumped in the minivan, turned on the Jose James Pandora Station (cause that’s what ballin parents do… no? Okay) and we took off towards Downtown Memphis. While we were in the car I asked LV to google ‘Oshi’. The result: a beautiful baby in Japanese. I kind of get the reference. A new restaurant is like a baby. Oshi is definitely rolling with a soft opening and in its infancy it still has the charm and style to make it an excellent place to visit on a night out, but how does Oshi and a gigantic John Belushi mural combine? About as well as the episode of Belushi and Richard Pryor (Youtube it). It blends perfectly. Oshi is small enough that the size alone leads me to think that the place will succeed. I think the biggest problem many restaurants face is turning tables in a large venue when they first open. Combined with the outside seating area next to the trolley tracks on Main Street there are about 4 tables. Inside there are about 10 tables. The bar is mirrored with a slight opening where you can kind of glimpse the chef, but it also seats about 8-10 people comfortably. There are 3 wall mounted televisions and the lighting can be adjusted for a date night atmosphere or for a family atmosphere. Which leads me to my standard rant about family accessibility. A restaurant always gets my best reviews when they make an honest attempt at creating a menu that caters to both the date night crowd and to families. Oshi is definitely family friendly although it is really a bar. (I do worry about the parking situation with it being on Main Street, but with Flight, Aldos, Dejavu and other restaurants doing well, they may miss some of that long distance clientele, but … keep reading. I’m getting ahead of myself.)
Like I said earlier this was really a soft opening and the second day of service so I expected things to be a bit rough. Our server, Joshua, was courteous and very cool. The staff, a rather young and good looking crew of people all seemed to be waiting to help out. There did seem to be a bit too many servers for the size, which made service fast, but could create a problem in pay later (that’s a business observation and really none of my business). However, the number of staff may be necessary once the liquor license is active. Right now they can only serve beer and they have a very good list for those of you who dig your brews. Okay I know what you’re waiting for, the review. Well here it comes.
The Menu 5 – out of 5 stars: LV and I often complain that restaurants often attempt to do too much. In doing so they don’t do anything well. Oshi Burger Bar has a very simple menu: basically burgers, dogs and fries with some nice extras in ‘appetizers’ and what I think really makes this a dope ass concept-
The Concept – 5 out of 5: A burger bar, emphasis on bar and burgers. The concept in my mind appears to be a place where you can run in during the day to grab a burger and fries. The ticket time was less than 12 minutes!!!! Which in Memphis is a big damn deal. A lot of the restaurants here have ticket times that run into the 20s. Their concept allows for a fast turn around which is absolutely necessary due to the number of tables. Oh, the bar concept… Imagine hitting up a neighborhood store that serves milkshakes in a variety of styles. Now imagine milkshakes for the grown and sexy crowd. LV and I are no longer sexy (well we are, but it’s hard to be sexy with the kids in tow), but if we can have a date night without the Wu Tang you better believe we are going back to Oshi to have our Milkshakes with a kick of Kentucky Moonshine. The concept of alcohol based Milkshakes with gourmet burgers is dope, and the fact that the kids can order the same Milkshakes sans alcohol I definitely appreciate that.
The Food: 4.5 out of 5 stars: I can cook a damn good burger, but I’m a really good cook so I’m a bit more critical than most. The food is good. Everything is organic which is an added bonus and I look forward to Oshi becoming a part of Project Green Fork and using locally sourced ingredients as they get up and running. For starters we ordered the Hand Cut Fries, and Tempura Onion Rings. Both came with their House Ketchup (a combination of siracha and ketchup which provided a nice little amount of heat for dipping). The fries were seasoned with sea salt and black pepper and the tempura onion rings were light and flaky. LV (who doesn’t eat Onion rings because they make her stomach bubble) actually ate these. I thought they could have been a bit more crisp (the onion, not the crust) but I still enjoyed dipping both the fries and rings in the House Ketchup.
LV had the Kobe Burger (named the House Special on an earlier menu and on the website): Here is one of those moments where the mixed metaphor was perfection, well, almost perfection. LV likes her burgers well done and it was medium rare, but for the first time ever, she didn’t mind which is a testament to the burger. It’s obvious these guys can cook. They didn’t do what most Memphis burger places do which is to take the spatula and smush the burger until the juice is gone. Both of our burgers were very good. The only reason I gave it 4.5 out of 5 is because of the Dogs which I will get to later. This is what the Kobe came with:
American Kobe, Soy Glaze,
LV and I actually fussed at our daughter about pulling the dog apart to eat it so we cut it in half. Since I worked out today I got to eat the other half of our daughter’s dog. I realized instantly that I shouldn’t have fussed. The Kobe Beef is a lot tougher in a dog than I expected. Once I realized that this was a sausage and not a hot dog, I was able to enjoy the fresh avocado and pico and I left that plate empty as well.
Oh one last picture, the shake. Our daughter had the PB&J Shake (without the vodka… we aren’t Facebook/youtube parents):