Oishii Bowl: Khao Man Gai

IMG_0930Dish: Khao Man Gai
Restaurant: Oishii Bowl
Location: Collegetown, Ithaca, NY

At the former site of Collegetown Pizza, which has since moved to where Mama Teresa’s used to be, is now Oishii Bowl, which had its grand opening today. I decided to stop in on my way home from my dance class since I was really curious as to how “oishii” Oishii Bowl actually is. For those of you keeping score at home, “oishii” (おいしい) is Japanese for “delicious”.

After wading through a fairly long line, I got up to the front to find they had run out of half of their rather meager menu selection, which was only 8 dishes. The kicker? 5 out of 8 of them where actually Thai and not Japanese! I wasn’t terribly surprised to see there wasn’t a single Japanese staffmember working there. IMG_0931

With what they had for me to choose, I went with the Khao Man Gai. Despite the exotic name, it is literally just steamed chicken sitting on a bed of rice, with a ginger sauce served on the side.

Without the ginger sauce, as you can probably imagine, the Khao Man Gai is the blandest thing anyone can possibly come up with for food. In the case of the sauce, however, somehow the proportions of whatever was used to make it just seemed off. It was made of ginger, soy sauce, sesame, and sugar, among other things. I felt like I was tasting sugar and ginger more than anything else.

This is also the first time you’ll be reading a post where I’m complaining about the soda of all things. As you know, many restaurants put a lot of ice into your soda. Why? For one reason: Ice takes up space in your cup, and thus they can get away with giving you less soda. The best part here? Even with the ice, the cashier didn’t fill my cup up all the way! I felt ripped off.

I feel like if I really wanted to eat Thai food, I would actually…go to a Thai restaurant instead of one masquerading as a Japanese restaurant. Cornell has a very large Asian community. Oishii Bowl is not going to fool anyone into thinking it’s actually a Japanese restaurant. I really wonder what the (I’m guessing to be Thai) proprietor was thinking.

In general, this is basically the worst dining experience I had in a long time. If the Khao Man Gai is representative of the entire menu, or if my experience tonight is representative of what’s to come, then Oishii Bowl is not getting my business anytime in the future. I think a more accurate name for the restaurant would’ve been Mazui Bowl; mazui (まずい) is Japanese for “bad-tasting”. As I passed by Koko’s on the way home, I kicked myself for not going there instead and getting some perfectly good Korean.

The verdict: The worst-est worst Asian restaurant in Collegetown.

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7 thoughts on “Oishii Bowl: Khao Man Gai

  1. I absolutely disagree with you. I find their dishes to be quite delicious and flavorful, especially number 2! However, I’m pretty sure, they didn’t expect the demand their first day so they weren’t able to perform as well, but give them a break! I’m sure if you go back today, or tomorrow, they have learned from that mistake. This happens in the restaurant industry, they’re not all perfect. Remember, they are run by people who are just trying to offer something different in collegetown. Anyways, I really liked their food and would encourage other people to try it!

    • I followed this comment up with a review of their Oyako Don, which is what you suggested. While it was better than the Khao Man Gai, it still didn’t fit my definition of “delicious and flavorful”. My chief complaint is that for the same price point, you can get significantly better food around Collegetown.

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