From the outside, you might not think that this tiny restaurant that’s squeezed into a strip mall in Montrose is even noticeable, let alone worth going to; after all, appearances are often what’s most enticing. However, if you can get over the fact that the restaurant’s location and façade are both incredibly unassuming, you’ll be delighted by food that wows and sushi options that satisfy. Voted as having the “Best Sushi” in Houston in 2007 by the Houston Press, this hole-in-the-wall location is worth much more than it looks.

Favorite Fish

If you’re going to Osaka for the sushi, there are some sushi options that stand out more than others, although all are pretty good. In particular though, the salmon is incredibly fresh, and nearly melts in your mouth. The Ricky Roll, which has mango, tempura shrimp, and a sweet soy sauce is a great option for those who are daring enough to sample fruit with their fish. The Crunchy Roll and Dragon Roll are also house favorites, and the $19.99 sushi plate is a great option for a person who wants to try a bit of everything.

We Love Freebies

It’s hard to find anywhere that gives out food for free, especially a restaurant. However, at Osaka Japanese, not only do they often give out little samplers of sushi for free, but you’re also likely to receive a free appetizer and a free dessert with your meal. The free dessert is usually ice cream, and the free appetizer can range, but fried shrimp is common. Since you’re getting something for free, you might as well order another appetizer in addition to your cost-free one—the food’s just that good.

Sushi Aside

If you don’t like sushi but still want to try this restaurant, there are a lot of other options for you. The Unagi Donuri bowl is excellent, is cooked similar to barbeque, and is served with rice. The miso is very high quality, and should definitely be ordered to start off your meal (same thing goes if you’re ordering sushi). The baked muscles and scallops are incredible, and the beef tataki is out of this world.

It’s all Good

There’s really not a single bad thing we can think of about this place. The meal and sushi portions are well sized, the prices are fair (not cheap, but not too expensive either, especially for sushi), the restaurant is clean and welcoming, the staff is some of the friendliest in Houston, and the food is mouthwatering. A possible downside: there’s no happy hour, which can be a bummer for those who are used to half-priced sushi during lunch or for an early dinner. Oh, and there’s no outdoor seating, which is always a bit of a downer.

Other pluses of Osaka include the fact that there’s a full bar (and plenty of sake), they take reservations, there’s a private lot for parking, and there’s free Wi-Fi.