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Nomen est omen: Sushi Oishii promises 'delicious sushi'

A variety of sushi dishes (clockwise from left: Umi Roll, Philadelphia Roll and Spicy Scallop Roll) displayed at the Sushi Oishii restaurant.
Photo by SBodr Copyright © 2014 All Rights Reserved

A tiny, humble place in the heart of Rockville, Maryland, Sushi Oishii is one of those rare gems in the area that is smart and serious about the hospitality business. In fact, it is not an exaggeration to say that Sushi Oishii defines hospitality. The name of the restaurant translates to “delicious sushi,” which is not an overstatement.

The owners know that being successful in this industry is not dependent on how many followers on Twitter or likes on Facebook you have but on consistent quality and a genuine customer-centered approach. These people relentlessly try to please their audience, who - in return - happily become their loyal customers.

The interior of the restaurant reflects a casual fusion of modern Western and authentic Japanese styles but what first strikes visitors is the overall cleanliness. A warm welcome is commonplace here and this is not just a compulsory Asian gesture. The staff makes you feel special from the moment you walk in. As funny as it sounds, you almost feel uncomfortable by the courtesy and attention you get - not something you are used to in the D.C. area.

At Sushi Oishii, the service is very cordial and professional. The ordered food gets to the table without delay and it is not because they put it together carelessly. It is truly impressive that, while they are aware of the urgency for a fast meal during the peak lunch hours, they thrive to deliver satisfaction and ensure that their guests feel at home even amid the midday rush.

The friendly waitress unquestionably adds to the pleasant atmosphere, who remembers with astonishing precision not only the returning guests' orders but their favorite table and even such a negligible detail as one's preference to forks over chop sticks. (They must chuckle at such clumsiness, of course.)

When she says with her charming accent, "It's good to see you," you know that she is not echoing an empty phrase but she literally means it. The management knows the golden rule that happy customers are key to the longevity of their business and they are not afraid to give extras "on the house" or to admit if they make a mistake.

Although this should be the norm at every food-providing facility, it almost takes you by surprise how everything, from the tables to the utensils, are spotlessly clean so there is no reason to be afraid of putting the fork (or chopstick) in your mouth. The food is always fresh and delicious but this is not the only reason why we fall in love with their menu.

There is also strong emphasis on the presentation. At Sushi Oishii, they undeniably know that the visual experience is an essential part of the digestive process and, as such, of healthy eating habits. (Moms, don't be surprised that your toddler rejects those carelessly thrown Cheerios in front of them.)

Chef Chen may not be as generous with his portions as you might find in many other sushi restaurants but the overall culinary experience with Sushi Oishii's fresh, flavorful and artfully served creations will win over quantity. The restaurant's delectable dishes are composed with care and expertise resulting in perfect harmony that just melts in your mouth.

This is not a place for people who like to rush through their lunches by gobbling up their food. If you don't know how to pause and find delight in savoring each and every bite, save your money and grab a sandwich at a fast-food restaurant. If you seek to find a place where they make you feel special and your taste buds get spoiled, don't look any further.

Sushi Oishii is a hidden little Japanese-French restaurant in the Traville Village Center located behind the University of Maryland's Shady Grove Campus.

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