Flavors of Summer
Dive into Ooka Montgomeryville’s new lobster menu
by Alyssa Coltrain

Why go to Philly for the cutting edge of cuisine when you can find it right here? In Montgomeryville, Ooka Japanese Sushi and Hibachi Steakhouse is utilizing the hottest trends and boldest flavors in their new August lobster menu.  

The new menu runs throughout the month of August and features a new sushi roll, as well as a lobster-miso soup, a summer salad and lobster sous-vide as an entrée. It is only available at Ooka’s Montgomeryville location.

The newer Montgomeryville location is different from the other Ooka locations in Willow Grove and Doylestown. Montgomeryville’s chic but casual atmosphere is evocative of big city dining, and its menu is more progressive than the other two Ooka locations.

“Because we’re a newer location, we can try things that we might not at the other locations,” explains Fred Moffitt, executive sous-chef of Ooka Montgomeryville.

Sous-vide cooking is a French technique that results in tender, succulent lobster. First, one-and-a-half pound Maine lobsters are blanched, and then marinated for a half-hour. They are then vacuum sealed to prevent any juices or flavor from escaping while the lobster finishes cooking in a warm water bath.

Sous-vide is a very significant trend in dining at the moment. Diners have come into the restaurant asking for the sous-vide lobster after having seen the technique on the Food Network or reading about it in Bon Appetit. It’s one of the things we do that sets Ooka apart, not only in the suburbs, but in the city as well.

“Sous-vide lobster is incredibly tender, very juicy,” says Moffitt. “It really concentrates the flavor. It’s not going to be like lobster you get in other places.”

You can taste that flavor in the summer salad, paired with buffalo mozzarella tempura, tomato confit and bright, citrus-y avocado mousse. Mache greens offer a welcome crunch and a piquant yuzu-garlic vinaigrette provides a perfect accent note.

However, it’s in the entrée that these sous-vide lobsters really shine. The lobster is flanked by roasted rainbow beets, lobster chirashi and sweet potato and summer corn quenelle. A surprisingly sweet mustard miso beurre blanc adds a bit of a tang. While this entrée may first look like “organized chaos,” says Moffitt, in reality it “brings all the flavors you would expect during summer. It’s very beautiful.”

A willingness to experiment is what Ooka Montgomeryville’s executive chef Shuji Hiyakawa is known for. His creativity blends European and Japanese cuisine with his own ideas to create succulent dishes on the lobster menu as well as innovative sushi rolls and his signature No Soy Sushi, an innovative approach to sushi that emphasizes the flavor of the fish itself.  

For those who are more sushi-minded, the lobster menu has its own specialty roll, the lobster-sake roll. Lobster tail tempura and crisp baby greens blend with cucumber and avocado in the interior of this extra-large roll, which is topped with Scottish salmon, mustard-miso, fried onions and wasabi-infused tobiko. “That’s a meal in itself,” says Moffitt.

But for those who want something warm to round out their experience, try the lobster-miso soup. “If you like miso soup and you like lobster, this is going to knock your socks off,” says Moffitt. The lobster stock adds a richness and depth to the miso soup, spiked with exotic mushrooms and crisp baby bok choy.

After all, August is the best month to celebrate the lobster. “We’re all about bringing the summer flavors together,” Moffitt says. “Times are tight—if you can’t go to Maine, we’re bringing Maine to you.” Try one of the new menu items or an old favorite off the Hibachi—Ooka’s Hibachi lobster entrée—to get into the seafood spirit.

This special menu is just one of the many treats Ooka has to offer. The restaurant is constantly creating new and innovative dining experiences. Plus, Ooka was awarded Best Sushi for 2010 from Philadelphia magazine. When August is over, Ooka fans can look forward to a celebration of steak in September and October. Plenty of reasons to keep coming back for more.  

764 Bethlehem Pike,
Montgomeryville, 215-361-1119
110 Veteran’s Lane,
Doylestown, 215-348-8185
1109 Easton Road,
Willow Grove, 215-659-7688

No Soy Sushi

When’s the last time you tasted fish when you went out for sushi? Probably not recently. Soy sauce, an integral part of most sushi experiences, tends to drown out a fish’s subtle flavors. What you taste is soy sauce and maybe a bit of fish.

“Everyone does it,” says Moffitt. “I do it too.”

But not any longer. Introducing No Soy Sushi, seven pieces of hand-dressed nigiri. Each succulent piece is designed to bring out the flavor of the fish as much as possible. Fresh lemon and yuzu paste livens up striped bass. Seared chu-toro (the belly of bluefin tuna) with sesame soy sauce and fresh ginger is a study in contrasts, between the slight crispness of the seared tuna and the moist raw interior and the sweetness of sea eel is punctuated by a citrus zest.

“I’m excited to introduce this style of sushi to our diners,” says Executive Chef Shuji Hiyakawa. “Each piece is intricate and complex, but the way the flavors pop make it worth all the work it takes to create.”