Oishi Sushi & Grill
1542 Newell Ave., Walnut Creek, (925) 933-0115. Lunch and dinner daily.
Meal deals like this don’t come around every day. The $7.95 Oishi lunchtime bento box includes miso soup, salad, edamame, rice, gyoza (dumplings), five pieces of tempura or three pieces of sashimi, and chicken, beef, or tofu teriyaki. A version of the box with salmon teriyaki costs $8.95. On Monday through Thursday evenings, eat sushi to your heart’s content for $19.95 from a limited all-you-can-eat menu. Each table receives a free bottle of sake, too. There’s more good news: All the tofu and green salad ingredients are organic, and real crab can be substituted for the imitation variety upon customer request. And, many rolls are meals unto themselves. The Hot Night roll is a case in point: shrimp tempura, avocado, and cucumber maki topped with spicy tuna, crunchy panko flakes, and special sauce ($8.95).
Best bet: Lunch box specials.
Cheapest thing on menu: Inari sushi (soybean pouches filled with rice), $2.75.
Most expensive: Deluxe box special ($12.95–$16.95), served all day. The box includes five pieces of tempura, three pieces of nigiri, and three California rolls, as well as rice, gyoza, edamame, soup, and salad.
Spiciest: Any of the 13 spicy rolls on the menu ($5.95 to $9.95).
Healthiest: Vegetable sushi such as asparagus roll ($3.25).
Kitsch appeal: A tiki hut motif is in effect. Bamboo dividers separate tables along the wall and provide a little privacy. Muted yellow walls with bamboo panels and earth-toned floors create a calm, relaxing atmosphere.
Kid-friendly? Maki provide a meal of perfect bite-sized morsels for children. Try small, one-ingredient rolls such as salmon, cucumber, or pickle (oshinko), each $3.25–$4.50.
Speedy eats? Savor your soup. Made-to-order sushi takes time.
Alcohol? Japanese beer, sake, plum wine, and basic wine.
Outdoor seating? Yes.
Credit cards? Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover.