My husband Carlo and I had to drive our son back to UC Riverside on a Sunday and decided to eat lunch in Riverside before stopping at Target to pick up a few items he needed (miscellaneous school supplies, dorm stuff, etc.). We didn’t want fast food so we headed over to Riverside Plaza, an open air mall about 15 minutes from the UCR campus. We were planning on dining at California Pizza Kitchen but Ooka Sushi caught our eye and Japanese sounded pretty good so we decided to try it.
At first glance, Ooka Sushi looks like a more upscale Japanese restaurant and is situated right near the movie theatres so they must get a lot of the date crowds and after movie-goers. The restaurant is clean, modern and not only has a general restaurant area and sushi bar, but also a hibachi area for their Benihana-type service. We opted to be seated in the general restaurant area. It’s a restaurant that you would most likely see in Pasadena, Studio City or Woodland Hills rather than Riverside and when studying their menu, their prices reflect it too. A bit on the medium to high side, it does offer a more inventive menu and their sushi menu has a lot of variety.
Carlo settled on the Bento Box which included slices of Teriyaki NY Strip Steak wrapped with scallions, shumai, shrimp tempura, fried rice and a Japanese sweet treat. Salad and miso soup was also included.
I decided on the Seared Salmon w/ Basil Pesto drizzled with olive oil and the Nabeyaki Udon, a noodle soup with shrimp tempura, fish, chicken, clam, vegetables, egg and fish cake. I was expecting the soup to be full bodied and full of flavor and it fell short of my expectations. The Salmon, however, was excellent and unique in flavor and taste.
Overall, we had a positive dining experience and will go back for a return visit. Ooka Sushi also three other locations but they are all located in Pennsylvania (who knew?) so if you’re ever in the Riverside area, check it out.
OOKA SUSHI & HIBACHI STEAK HOUSE
3525 Riverside Plaza Road, Suite 200