Letters from the Issue of , 2002

Harry Emilio Gottleib

Coconut Grove

Oishi Vei

Didn't work out for these epicures: What a far different experience Pamela Robin Brandt had than my husband and I (possibly because the restaurant knew she was coming prior to arrival via a publicist perhaps) in her review "Moshi, Moshi, Oishi" (September 8).

Basically our experience sucked. And sorry us, we kept trying different appetizers, assuming the next would be better than the one just tried. Nope.

Yes, the restaurant is lovely. We agree there. And for the record, my husband is a Zagat-rated chef and ex-food critic for Time Warner Cable in NYC. We know food.

Our negative experience began with our server. We described our dry sake tastes and suggested he choose for us from Oishi's selection. He chose a very floral sake. We explained it wasn't our style, but $58 later, we were still drinking it — like it or not. Our server said it would become dryer as it aerated. Not true — floral is floral.

Now to the appetizers. Excitedly we saw a giant-oyster special appetizer with uni. The presentation was lovely, but it was not a giant oyster. It was not even a large normal size. Yes, the flavors were together on this dish, but if you're going to charge for giant, serve me giant. (Flavor-wise, this was the best all round.)

Next, Beef Negamaki. Awful. Tough, chewy, flavorless. I ate one and decided it was not worth a single calorie in my body! Then, the shrimp tempura appetizer, which we thought always as a safety net when things are going wrong. Oh, how wrong we were. This tempura appetizer was the equivalent of those from fast-food sushi places, boring and (again) flavorless. How someone — even working as a line cook at Nobu — could produce and serve this dish is beyond me.

We orderd one entrée and split it. Thank you for that, because our lobster teriyaki, which came with sushi and sashimi, was drab and amateurishly rolled. The teriyaki sauce was way too sweet without enough tang. The minirolls fell apart, and the sashimi was sliced paper-thin. By the way, our server became nonexistent sometime during the meal (possibly when he noticed our expressions). Water was requested three times before we received it, and the dining room had about only eighteen persons.

How much did this "dining experience" cost? More than $140 with tip. Yes, being in the industry, we still tip kindly, no matter what the situation.

Holly Black Quesada

Sunny Isles Beach

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