1 Old Lodge Road (Jasper)
A few weeks ago, I went Jasper. I was only there for a limited amount of time, so I only have a few places to write about. I was there just visiting, and stayed at an airbnb, so it was relatively cheap.
Oka Sushi is a tiny little restaurant that seats 12 people, and is located inside the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge. They take advanced reservations between 6:00pm and 6:30pm and try to accommodate walk-ins as much as possible. Orders are made right in front of you and is an “ala-minute” Sushi bar. It’s definitely a unique dining experience!
The chef is incredibly friendly and will chat with you as he makes your food. They offer a variety of rolls, and sushi nigiri, and everything is made right in front of you. Because Chef Oka has to make everything for everyone at a time, he alternates between each party so that not one party is waiting too long for their food. It’s really interesting to watch his technique and how he prepares the food! Chef Oka was a sushi chef back in Japan, and he brought the above sign with him to Canada.
The Salmon Skin maki is really flavourful. There’s some really nice smokey flavour from the skin, and everything just goes well together. Definitely one of my favourites.
The next thing we got was assorted sashimi. This came with tuna, salmon, red snapper, octopus, shrimp, and scallops. Everything was so fresh and amazing. It was really amazing to see him prepare the sashimi. He hand cuts and inspects every piece that gets served and removes any imperfections in the fish. Definitely a good choice.
The chirashi don was equally good. He prepared both around the same time. It was essentially the same, except on top of a bed of Japanese rice. It’s amazing to see how much care he puts into the food. This was beautifully plated, and was a really good and filling dish.
Because the scallops were so amazing, we wanted to have more, and went with the chop scallop roll. This roll had roe, avocado, and scallops mixed in a Japanese mayo mixture. This was probably one of my favourite things of the night. It was so smooth and had a really good mouth-feel. The scallops were really fresh.
Another roll we got was the mini oka, this comes with tuna, salmon, scallop, tobiko, crab meat, and spicy sauce. They used to serve an Oka special, which is a larger version of this roll, but they can no longer get the big nori sheets so they can’t make it. There’s a lot going on with this roll. It tastes good, but it’s hard to discern all of the individual ingredients.
We managed to get the last two pieces of toro for that night, which was lucky. This was so smooth and melted in my mouth. Great flavour. I’m starting to move more towards sushi so I can get more of the fish flavour, and away from the maki. Though I really like rolls, I feel like you really get more from sushi pieces.
One thing that I really want to highlight is the unagi. This barbecue eel was probably the best unagi that I have ever had. It was so thick, and creamy and smooth. It really was amazing. It’s not even on the menu usually, but Chef Oka managed to get some from right from Japan, along with many of his other ingredients. If you are lucky enough to come when he has some, definitely order it.
Lastly, we just finished the meal with a few pieces of scallops, octopus, and yellow fin. Everything was fresh and great to eat! We were stuffed!
Overall, I really enjoyed my experience at Oka Sushi. It’s definitely unique, and something that I’ve never really done before. Growing up in my house (and even now) I’m so used to devouring my food the second it hits the table, but you’re really forced to slow down and enjoy the food at Oka Sushi. I definitely recommend giving this place a try if you’re ever in Jasper! Definitely a good and fun experience!