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Kosher Asian Sushi Bar
1 Helenei Hamalka St., Jerusalem
Tel. 02-6233787
Kashrut: Rabbanut Yerushalayim

Open Sunday - Thursday 11:00 am- 12:00 midnight. Friday till one hour before Shabbat. After Shabbat till 1:00am. Closed Shabbat.

This write up was submitted by Dena.
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Like us, you might at first assume Osaka to be an amusing but not-too-serious addition to the increasingly popular Heleni Hamallka pedestrian mall in downtown Jerusalem. The riot of color decorating the walls in a Japanese subway-theme, the modern lighting, the hip music is all fun?but what about the food? Upon closer look, and surely after the first taste, you realize that this is seriously good food served up in a light and accessible venue. A joy.

Osaka?s chief creator, chef Anat Mualem, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, has created a wide-ranging menu that accomodates a bustling lunch trade and evening meals, and does it with a nod to Japanese and other Asian cuisine. Osaka goes the distance to include items and nuances not always seen in the rapidly widening sushi market. What is Seaweed salad? Entrees named ?Out of Control? and ?Chaos?? Was that mango in the sushi? And could the prices be this reasonable?

A sampling of the appetizers immediately sets the stage for a fun and delicious meal. Some of our favorites: the warm edamame, perfectly cooked, salted and addictive; the satisfying panko crumb-covered cauliflower covered with savory sauce, sauted to perfection. Even the coleslaw that is complimentary with every order was perfectly seasoned with scallions and seame oil.

The sushi offerings are not only delicious and reasonably priced but offer unusual combinations, such as Osaka?s signature ?Maki Tempura? - salmon and cucumber wrapped in a tempura shell, crunchy spicy tuna and sushi ?sandwiches?. Other entrees include sparkling noodle and vegetable stir-frys of Japanese and Thai influence, with the choice of chicken, beef or tofu for protein. Asian influenced salads beckon.The menu is friendly, clear and inevitably makes you want to sample everything.

Lunchtime options include the generous Business Lunch offering a Sushi Combination and drink, or a chicken /beef meal, with soup,noodles and a drink. And for deliveries?the option of the classic Bento box, a kind of TV dinner style meal of chicken, beef, fish or vegetable dish, rice and egg roll. Once upon a time, we stared wistfully at these while their non-kosher counterparts were delivered all over Manhattan! Now we can have our own.

The dcor, the wide range of background music and the quiet riot of color, sensation and taste combine to make Osaka not only a ?taste ?good? but ?feel-good? restaurant. A week after we visited the restaurant for this write up, we made our way back there, as ?civilians?, and had just as good a time exploring the menu. You will too.

Please note: This restaurant has no relation to Osaka Sushi on Rechov Agrippas in Jerusalem.

Appetizers 17-21 shekels; Noodles and Rice Dishes 39-47;Sushi Combinations 32 and up; Business Lunches 32-51; Bento Boxes 33-37.

From Our Readers
Submitted by Naomi Baum. Date: August 2008. Descripton: Osaka Asian Sushi Bar is a welcome addition to the Asian Sushi scene in Jerusalem. Located on Heleni Hamalka, just steps of Jaffa Road, it is tucked away next to Hillel Café and can be easily missed but that would be most unfortunate. I met my companions, all avowed sushi lovers, on a hot noon day in Jerusalem. We quickly chose the indoor table seating, passing on the outdoor tables and the bar seating. The waitress immediately attended to us with menus in both Hebrew and English.

Anat, the young owner and sushi roller at Osaka, has chosen a modern, colorful décor which creates an attractive open atmposphere in what could have otherwise been a small and claustrophobic space. The Osaka subway provides the backdrop, with the subway map, and colorful subway lines decorating the walls. These "lines" follow through in the menu as well, with various sushi combination platters color coded according to the subway lines.

We chose two sushi combination platters to start, and two stir fry dishes for our main courses. As we watched Anat roll the sushi we chatted with her and discovered that Osaka has been in business for one year, and that Anat loves rolling sushi. Actually you can tell that the sushi has been made with love; it is attractive, delicious and outstandingly fresh. Anat uses unusual combinations that we had not had before, including a maki sushi roll with sweet potato. Other interesting offerings include a sushi sandwich which is actually four pieces of tempura sushi filled with spicey tuna, avocado and green onion (39 shekel). If one prefers to handpick the vegetable and fish combinations, sushi can be ordered a la carte as well with prices ranging from 15-23 shekel for a roll of eight pieces, and 36-39 shekel for the special dishes.

Our meals were ready in record time.;Our sushi was finger licking good. The Red combination we ordered (32 shekel) included eight pieces of foto maki salmon with avocado and cucumber and eight pieces of inside out maki sushi with sweet potato filling. The Yellow combination (51 shekel- the most expensive item on the menu) included eight pieces of spicy salmon with avocado rolled inside out, eight pieces of foto maki tuna with sweet potato and Japanese pumpkin, as well as two pieces of nigiri.

The stir fry dishes followed the sushi, and while they were good, they were not outstanding. The first dish called "Chaos"included small pieces of chicken breast and entrecote with flat rice noodles, a variety of vegetables and a sweet sauce (not noted on the menu). The second dish was based on egg noodles and chicken with a tasty coconut sauce and curry. We enjoyed the second dish more than the first, but when I return I may try the rice dishes or the salads which we did not sample. Also not sampled were the starters which range from chicken wings (35 shekel) to seaweed salad (19 shekel) and much more.

Prices at Osaka are very reasonable, and it appears that not a small amount of business centers on the lunch time take away crowd. There are business specials as well. We were pleasantly full, and passed on the only desert option of sorbet.

If you love sushi, Osaka is the place for you, with both reasonably priced and excellent sushi. The other dishes were pleasant but not memorable. I am already planning my return visit.

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Osaka Asian Sushi
Bar Restaurant. Print out this coupon and present it at the restaurant.