Friday, December 12, 2008

oyaji japanese cuisine closed.

Posted By on Fri, Dec 12, 2008 at 10:39 AM

Thanks to the anonymous commenter who alerted us with this comment:

"Due to the poor economy and dwindling visitors, Oyaji's has closed down. But to drown your sorrows, it has been replaced by a liquor store. Orlando has lost one of the few privately-owned restaurants that actually brought charm to this named-branded mega-suburbia."

We couldn't have said it better ourselves. More after the jump ...

Here's what our reviewer Faiyaz Kara did say about Oyaji in July of last year:

While many of us were flocking to trendier joints for rarefied meals, serendipitous diners and the cityâ??s small contingent of Japanese denizens were quietly being tended to by itamei [Takashi] Hayakawa. In fact, I was somewhat struck by the number of Japanese patrons dining here (always a good sign), given that Iâ??d hardly seen any in all the other sushi joints Iâ??ve visited in town. Well, for good or bad, the secretâ??s out.

In my lame, and embarrassingly meddlesome, attempt to strike up a conversation with â??big daddy,â?� or oyaji, Hayakawa, I did manage to glean this fact: Heâ??s been dicing, slicing and rolling fish for nearly 30 years. Thatâ??s about it. As I sat at the small sushi bar mulling over the gamut of icebreakers, I couldnâ??t help but notice a half-dozen framed autographs on the wall behind the bar. â??Who are the autographs of?â?� I timorously queried, at which he shot me a glance, dramatically paused with sushi knife firmly clasped in his muscled hand and said, â??Japanese golfers.â?� So heâ??s as taciturn and imposing a chap youâ??ll ever meet, but he commands respect in that quiet Beat Takeshi sort of way. And the man knows his sushi, and thatâ??s all that really matters.

The fish, it should be noted, is unquestionably fresh. Just sample the richly flavored tuna or salmon nigiri ($2.25) and youâ??ll see. Toro ($3.75), the fatty part from the belly of a bluefin tuna, just melts in your mouth, while the sea eel ($3.75) was described as â??sublimeâ?� by a friend of mine, a self-confessed sushi fiend.

And in May 2008, WackyFiasco commented: "I love this place. The decor may not be a fanfare for the eyes, but the food is like Heaven on a plate to me. Their tempura stands up to a float in their ramen noodle soup. The mackerel steaks are cooked perfectly, and no other place in town makes a better agedashi tofu. Oddly, they make an excellent potato salad accompaniment for their hamburger dinner. When I am at a really low point, this is where I run for some soothing comfort food."

After 30 years, maybe Hayakawa is ready to hang up his knife, but he will be missed.


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