Oshi Burger Bar: A Sneak Peek
Last night I had the chance to get a sneak peek at Oshi Burger Bar on South Main downtown with some friends. I’ve been looking forward to this new burger joint for a long time, and my experience last night exceeded my expectations.
I couldn’t wait to tell you (and show you) about my meal.
Oshi’s bright red signage and Godzilla graphics makes it hard to miss. There’s a big patio and a decent amount of seating inside with a bar, tables, and booths. The atmosphere is upscale, modern diner with a little bit of an attitude, i.e., the John Belushi samurai mural on one wall and some tongue-in-cheek descriptions on the menu.
There are chopsticks on the table and a sizable sake menu, but don’t expect to see strictly-Asian fare. The menu has ten burgers, six hot dogs, three salads, plus appetizers and fries, and milkshakes with optional booze.
We started out with some cocktails (see the cocktail menu here) and a sampling of appetizers, including the onion rings (perfectly crispy, almost light), the chicken wings (great flavor), and the Philly egg roll, which was a hearty meat-filled egg roll served with an interesting (in a good way) beer cheese mustard.
Next we honed in on the burgers and dogs (see the food menu here). I ordered the House Special, but also tried the Fathers Office and the Thai Juan On chicken sausage dog. Two of my friends both ordered the Tora Toro, a ground ahi Tuna patty with a generous portion of Asian slaw, and they both really liked it.
The House Special’s toppings are delicious – shitake tapenade, swiss, mayo – but the quality of the Kobe beef patty and the bread stole the show. The meat was perfectly seasoned and juicy, and all the buns at Oshi are all locally supplied by Bluff City Bakery.
The Fathers Office is probably going to be my go-to burger, however. Between the bacon, blue cheese, and onion jam, it’s a flavor blowout. Definitely messy, but you’ll be enjoying the food too much to care.
The Thai Juan On dog seems like a good candidate for some type of “Absolutely Totally Bonkers Eats!” Food Network show, but the flavors are good enough to back up the crazy-looking dish. It’s a chicken sausage covered in delectable pickled veggies, aioli and a fried egg. We cut it up and shared it, and the response was “wow!” from three out of three diners. The burgers range from $8 to $12, but most are about $9.
You can order fries separately for $2.50 and add fry toppings like kimchi, bacon, cheese, garlic separately for extra. We were stuffed but couldn’t resist trying the boozy milkshakes for dessert. The Malt Shoppe tasted like cocoa puffs, the Sake Colada tasted like a pina colada, and my favorite, the Kentucky Head Hunter, was ice cream, bourbon, whipped cream, and bacon bits. Yes, bacon on a alcoholic milkshake. Just let that sink in for a second.
Oshi and Local are both owned by Memphis restauranteur Jeff Johnson, and while there is a common thread between the two places with the idea of pub/diner food taken to the next level (high quality ingredients, interesting flavors), Oshi is quite different from Local in terms of both atmosphere and food. I enjoyed or absolutely loved everything I ate. My only concern was the acoustics; it was a little hard to hear when the place was filled with people.
There’s a veggie burger called the “Conscientious Objector” and for $2 extra, you can have a gluten-free bun on your burger. Kids who are opposed to out-of-the-box ingredients will enjoy the American Standard burger or some combination of sides and fries.
Oshi is open for lunch and dinner every day from 11 a.m. to midnight, and until 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights. Oshi is ADA accessible.
Oshi Burger Bar
94 South Main Street