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  • Writer's pictureSteven Keith

Popular Oishii food truck opens restaurant in old Pita Pit

The popular Oishii Hibachi, Teriyaki & Sushi food truck that has gained a following while parked in Piggly Wiggly’s parking lot in Kanawha City the past few years has just opened a nice, new brick-and-mortar restaurant inside the former Pita Pit next to Horace Mann Middle School.


New permanent location of Oishii Hibachi, Teriyaki & Sushi
New permanent location of Oishii Hibachi, Teriyaki & Sushi






It’s a nice and cozy space.


The Pita Pit’s previous fast food-style interior has been transformed into a dimly lit Asian hideaway complete with a sushi counter, colorful lanterns and more than a dozen tables and booths situated around the dining area.


A simple menu offers a trio of appetizers (crab Rangoon, spring rolls and gyoza) plus a number of hibachi-style meals and combos featuring steak, chicken, salmon, shrimp, scallops, crab and vegetables.


Oishii Roll
Oishii Roll

Nearly 20 sushi choices include traditional options like California, Philly, shrimp tempura and spicy tuna, along with a handful of special rolls that are almost all deep-fried combinations of either crab, shrimp or salmon blended with avocado and cream cheese.


I swung by for dinner over the weekend and sampled the restaurant’s namesake Oishii sushi, a large deep-fried roll of crab, avocado and cream cheese topped with spicy crab and tempura crunchies.


It was OK, but the deep-frying made the rice super dense and the whole roll really heavy on the tummy. I prefer sushi of the non-deep-fried variety, I guess, so the natural flavors of the roll’s fresh ingredients shine.


I also tried the steak and salmon hibachi combo dinner, which was also just OK. The steak was a little tough (they didn’t ask me how I wanted it cooked) and the salmon was a tad dry as well, although pretty flavorful.


Steak and Salmon Hibachi Combo from Oishii
Steak and Salmon Hibachi Combo from Oishii

The teriyaki glaze and vegetables on the plate were good, but the fried rice was most definitely not. There were no flecks of vegetables or eggs or any seasoning in it, so it looked and tasted just like plain brown rice, but with a slightly off-putting greasy flavor. Not my jam.


The salad was passable, but the ginger dressing was very watery.


My meal was not bad – just not great – and I’ve heard from others who love Oishii, both on the truck and in this new spot. Like truly, madly, deeply love.


To each his own, I say. These folks couldn’t be any nicer, service was great and I’m glad to hear they have loyal fans.


  • IF YOU GO: Oishii at 4222 MacCorkle Ave. SE in Kanawha City is open during Ramadan (from now through April 8) from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday-Friday, 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and noon to 8 p.m. Sunday. After Ramadan (starting on April 9) the restaurant will be open until 9 p.m. daily. For more information, call 681-280-7171 or visit the restaurant’s Facebook page.


J.Q. hosting sushi-making class


Speaking of Asian eats, J.Q. Dickinson Salt-Works in Malden is offering a sushi-making class on Friday, March 29, where attendees will not only learn how to craft iconic rolls, but also take home their own sushi board, mat and chopsticks.


Carver Culinary Center’s Chef Mandy Gum will lead the class in a hands-on session where they’ll make California, spicy tuna and Philadelphia rolls, plus nigiri. During the process, guests will learn the secrets to perfecting sushi (sticky) rice, how to select the proper ingredients and master the delicate art of rolling the finished product.


Doors open at 5:30 p.m. and the event kicks off at 6 p.m. that evening. The cost is $90 per person, which includes the class and all supplies. A cash bar with sake sangria, beer and wine will be offered, so you can sip while you roll!


Although I’ll be out of town for this sushi-making class, I’ve taken one before and it was super fun and informative. For more information or tickets to the class at J.Q., visit their Facebook page.


WV spots named “The South’s Best”


Four West Virginia spots have made Southern Living’s 2024 edition of “The South’s Best” awards honoring the South’s top cities, restaurants, travel stops and more. The winners were chosen based on voting from more than 20,000 of the magazine’s readers.


Morgantown finished #20 in “South’s Best Cities on the Rise,” a list topped by another one of my favorite towns: Wilmington, NC.


Other Mountain State locations winning “Best in West Virginia” honors were Rolling Smoke BBQ in Charleston for “Best BBQ,” The Vandalia Co. in Charleston for “Best New Restaurant” (even though it’s not new, which is odd) and Harpers Ferry for “Best Small Town.”


Dairy Bar opens, for real this time


The new South Charleston Dairy Bar really is open now, y’all. I swear.


Although it was closed when I drove by twice last week (and several messages still haven’t been returned) I heard from several readers who’ve already visited the once-popular spot on the corner of D Street and 2nd Avenue a few blocks down from the Mound.


I hear a younger couple has reopened the spot and readers have sent me mixed reviews so far, with some swearing the hot dogs are as good as they used to be and others saying they pale in comparison.


But they’ve only been open a week, folks, so let’s get these entrepreneurs a chance to get up and running before anyone writes them off. It’s way too early for that.


• • •


Steven Keith is a food writer and restaurant critic known as “The Food Guy” who writes a weekly column for the Charleston Gazette-Mail and has appeared in several state, regional and national culinary publications. Follow him online at www.wvfoodguy.com or on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. He can be reached at 304-380-6096 or at wvfoodguy@aol.com.

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