When we think of authentic food, we think of dishes made the same way for generations. But cuisine changes with the times. The monthly specials at Oga’s Japanese Cuisine in Natick, one of the few sushi spots around that is actually Japanese-owned, showcase the ways that food is evolving in modern Japan. Sushi master Toru Oga creates miniature tableaus on the plate – one month it may be a checkerboard design of maguro (deep red tuna), yam, and seaweed dolloped with mullet roe. Kobe beef may show up as delicate and delectable carpaccio topped with pine nuts or as a hefty steak topped with amazingly fragrant Japanese mushrooms. Mushrooms might also pop up on skewers with scallops, shrimp, and zucchini, to be cooked by the diner on a hot stone.
If only traditional sushi will do, Oga and his chefs do a stellar job of that, too, spinning out fantasies of sparkling fresh sashimi and elaborate maki rolls. Though the rest of the seating is comfortable, the best treat comes if you successfully angle for a spot along the bar to watch the chefs work. You could almost be in Toyko.
From the moment you walk in, Oga’s seduces with its stylish contemporary décor with Japanese overtones. Stainless steel-topped tables are separated from the marble and wood sushi bar by a glass partition decorated with poles of bamboo. There are also several private booths and one large Japanese-style sunken table room.
On most nights, the charismatic Mr. Oga can be seen deftly rolling some of his imaginative sushi creations. His cooking reflects a marriage of traditional Japanese dishes with East-meets-West specialties.