From my perspective…
—Amy Schulman ||
The setting is typically faux-Asian, featuring watercolor paintings hanging above a long booth opposite colorful fish that deck the walls above an enormous sushi counter. Behind a bar sitting in the front of the restaurant lies the main dining room, large enough to seat 85 diners in cream-colored booths and at tables squeezed together to accommodate large parties.
The new Asian fusion restaurant, owned by Qian Kai Li and Qian Gang Li, brothers who also own Sakura and Chinese Express, boast Japanese, Chinese and Thai fare. The menu features over two pages worth of sushi, made at the open sushi bar where diners passing by stop and observe the chefs meticulously rolling out sushi by hand. The restaurant also serves typical Chinese dishes for those who crave General Tso’s or teriyaki chicken along with spicy Thai curries and an arrangement of noodle and rice dishes, varying from pad thai to fried rice. Vegetarian options are also available. Oka is open seven days a week.
Entrées range from $9 to $20, featuring enormous portions that can be either shared with friends or boxed up and eaten for lunch the following day.
Even though the restaurant is barely a week old, it still needs to work out a few kinks. My party arrived on a Friday night to a somewhat empty dining room, filled primarily by Franklin & Marshall students, only to be told by the maître’d she had to check on her wait staff before seating us. We sat on a bench in the entrance for ten minutes before being led to an empty booth in the main dining room.
We were greeted by a friendly and smiley waiter and examined the menu carefully. We ordered, and our appetizers arrived shortly after. The four of us polished off an order of edamame, perfectly warm and covered in huge salt crystals that melted in our mouths. Two out of the four entrées arrived, and unable to prevent myself from delaying eating, I dug into my rice noodles, accompanied by chicken, Chinese broccoli, and egg. Perhaps the kitchen is still working out some snags, but the other entrées arrived by the time I was halfway done with my dish.
Even with these small issues, we were all still satisfied, our bellies full and wallets only slightly emptier. Oka is undoubtedly superior to Sakura and Chinese Express and within walking distance to campus, beneficial to first years and upperclassmen who crave Asian cuisine yet lack cars. A tasty edition to join The Shoppes at College Row, Oka provides a warm atmosphere and supplies an affordable and diverse selection of Asian fare.
Sophomore Amy Schulman is a layout assistant. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.