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257 High St Northcote 3070 VIC
Ph: (03) 9489 6132
Prices: Mains $15-$20
Style: Japanese
26th Apr 2018

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Review by Dave
Otsumami is that Japanese restaurant you wish you had just around the corner. Casual, reasonably priced, quality Japanese food, spanning the traditional and (slightly) original. It's not going to blow your mind: you'll see the usual assortment of sushi and sashimi favourites, edamame and miso soup. Somehow though, even these suburban standards seem somehow "better", as if they'd been put on the menu because they were good rather than to satisfy crowds hungry for a quick feed.

Perhaps the location adds to the charm, nestled between High St op-shops selling all kinds of quirky collectables (and associated junk). There's a part of the menu which is so familiar, and yet specials introduce the occasional flash of interest and quality. Perhaps you'll get to sample some fresh Toro (tuna belly, the softest, fattiest part) sashimi, or crunch your way through some piping hot fried soft shell crab. Either way, you'll come away feeling like you've found good value for money.

The wine list is better than you might expect in this price point, too, showing a bit more thought than the usual selection of NZ Sauv Blanc and associated feline excretions. I even found a decent pinot gris to keep me entertained. Service is generally acceptable, but don't be expecting a miracle: they're usually busy, which means that the staff (though friendly and competent) are a little over-stretched.

The only let down might be desserts, but let's face it: you don't go out for Japanese dessert, so maybe it's a good night to turn in early. Otsumami is a great little find, if you can be bothered getting to it, and manage to find a table. Booking highly recommended.

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