Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Osaka in Old Bookstar Space Now Open

Posted By on Tue, Nov 6, 2012 at 1:40 PM

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Sometimes when I'm showing visitors around town, I will include on the tour places where I've accidentally gone in the men's restroom. One of those landmarks — the cool set of retro bathrooms at the old Bookstar on Poplar — is now apparently gone as part of an extensive renovation by new tenant Osaka, which opened two weeks ago Monday.

Fans of the old Plaza Theater might not like it, but the restaurant packs an amazing amount into space. Just beyond the small lobby and hostess stand, there's a sushi bar and across from that the actual bar. Booth seating and tables fills the middle section, and there's a small nook with low tables and cushions for sitting on the floor. The back area is filled with hibachi tables.

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The decor is ornate ... pounded tin accents (see at top); dark carved woods. The ambiance, to me, appears to geared toward a younger crowd. The lighting was dim for evening (I was there at 4:30 p.m.) with blue and pink accent lights coming from the bars and Justin Timberlake on the speakers.

As for the food, it was spot-on.

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The menu is pretty long, so I started with a basic seaweed salad ($4.75), which was served on top of sliced cucumbers. Very good.

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I also ordered half a vegetable roll ($2.25) and the fried tofu roll ($4.25). The tofu roll, topped with a great spicy sauce (sriracha?), was fantastic.

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