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865 N. Resler Dr.
El Paso, TX
(915) 581-7733

Okazuri Restaurant

I am trying to understand what Okazuri is all about. It is a branch of a Ciudad Juarez sushi restaurant, a type of food that seems to have caught on in the same way one sees Chinese buffets all over the United States. It started out as a floating boat sushi restaurant, but now I think the waterborne delivery system is no longer used.

The Mexican sushi restaurants almost always specialize in California rolls and other creations that are not the traditional Japanese sushi. Wikipedia and other sources say that sushi actually means "snack," and traditionally refers to the rice as opposed to sashimi that only includes sliced raw fish. It is perfectly acceptable for Okazuri and many other El Paso sushi restaurants to do their own take on Japanese food, but the common perception about well-known sushi restaurants on the west coast and other large cities is that they specialize in raw fish, and other things can be served as a bonus.

The surprise with Okazuri is that the Nigiri sushi falls into the "OK" category (not really great, but passable). The tuna and salmon nigiri I tried were pretty good, at least to the point that I think they were prepared the proper way and had not been frozen. I usually only order this type of raw fish if it is exceptionally good, but for those who may eat it more often than I do, and realize that El Paso probably does not have world class sushi, Okazuri would be an acceptable choice.

Personally I have been more satisfied with some of the cooked items at Okazuri. The Tori-Katsu, a breaded chicken breast, has been pretty good when I have tried it, and sometimes has even been pretty impressive. The chicken was of good quality and the breading was done nicely. They do not seem to have a regular chef doing the cooked items since the tori-katsu has been all over the place both in terms of quality and in the style it is prepared. The standard method of preparation is with a few vegetables served teriyaki style and a dipping sauce for the chicken that is so similar to ketchup I would say it has to be nothing more than the kind of ketchup that comes from a bottle. On one occasion Okazuri changed the style of the dish, making me think they had made an upgrade, but since that time it has gone back to its original style. The modified version was made with cheese inside and a brown sauce similar to the tempura dipping sauces found in other restaurants. The breaded cutlet was served with wasabi and ginger, as if it were sushi, and between the brown sauce and the ketchup I found the whole thing to be quite enjoyable and interesting. The "old" version (no cheese) is quite enjoyable as well, but just not as interesting.

Sakana fry
Sakana fry

The Sakana Fry had the same breading as the tori-katsu, but was made with fish. This fish was pretty good--a white fish with a mild flavor. The chicken, though, was better.

Salmon Teriyaki had good teriyaki sauce but the salmon appeared to be the farmed Atlantic variety. I am just generally opposed to eating this kind of salmon both because of the flavor and because it does not have the health benefits of wild salmon. The bed of vegetables underneath was good, and included cabbage, carrots, and green peppers. I thought the sauce was entirely too sweet, causing me generally to order the teppanyaki dishes instead of the teriyaki ones.

Chicken teppanyaki
Chicken teppanyaki

Chicken Teppanyaki was another example of a less than sensational cooked item at Okazuri. I realize this is probably not a traditional Japanese dish, but it can be pretty good at some restaurants in the U.S., and I particularly like the way Shogun Steak House does it. The one at Okazuri, though, did not have the same type of flavor, and was even less satisfying because it did not come with a ginger sauce as is provided at Shogun and most other restaurants. The chicken and vegetables were good, though, and I prefer it over the teriyaki version.

Salmon teppanyaki
Salmon teppanyaki

Salmon Teppanyaki was good enough that it satisfied my craving for salmon, but also had its weak points. I liked the freshness and quality of the fish, but the color was very light (and was apparently from Atlantic salmon). The vegetables were good, but the sauce was not very noticeable (but at least it was not sweet like the teriyaki salmon).

The Fried Rice has been of variable quality, but I like it more now than when the restaurant first opened. The steamed (white) rice is generally just as enjoyable.

Miso soup
Miso soup

One of the best features of Okazuri is the Miso Soup, a flavorful appetizer that is about as good as I have had anywhere in El Paso. Usually it comes with more seaweed than in shown in the photo (I can always use the extra vitamins!).

I think they have been listening to customer complaints about the prices, because the green tea is now more reasonable than when the restaurant first opened (and is still good). In addition I have had miso with several meals recently, and I am pretty sure I had to pay extra when the restaurant first opened. I give Okazuri credit for at least providing a good value, even if it is not my favorite Japanese food.

The atmosphere is comfortable and Okazuri is a relaxing place to eat food that can be flavorful and healthy at the same time.



Cuisine: Japanese
Cost: $$$
Hours: Open Daily
Accessible: Yes
Tea: Green (brewed)
Smoking: No Smoking
Alcohol: Beer, Wine

Most Recent Visit
Jul. 28, 2010

Number of Visits: 10+

Best Items
Sushi, Tori-Katsu, Miso

Special Ratings
Sushi: Salmon
Sushi: Tuna
Sakana Fry:
Salmon Teriyaki:
Salmon Teppanyaki:
Chicken Teppanyaki: