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Go Fish Go Sushi, catchy new dining opens in LO

by: linda hundhammer, 
Main Sushi Chef Tommy Shin, left, and Assistant Chef Mark Lee, right, prepare the day’s fresh fish delivery with owner Jay Oh, center, at the newly opened Go Fish Go Sushi in Lake Oswego.

Go Fish Go Sushi has found a unique niche in the Lake Oswego restaurant scene.

The resturaunt on State Street (formerly All American Ice Cream), Go Fish Go Sushi is a mix of fast food - conveyer belt - and conventional restaurant service - innovative sushi and traditional Japanese fare, classic décor and flashy flat screen display art.

In short, it has something for every sushi lover in town.

Go Fish Go Sushi, the first and only restaurant of owner Jay Oh was founded as a legacy to his Korean mother.

'My mother and my aunt had a sushi restaurant in Seoul,' Oh said. 'I hated it. I always smelled like fish, and my friends would tease me. But when I came to New York in l986, I was really homesick. I found myself eating sushi 200 out of 365 days of the year. I guess I didn't hate it as much as I thought!'

Although his mother is no longer living, Oh has worked with his aunt to borrow recipes from their Seoul restaurant. His favorite is the Go Fish Go Sushi roll, which is a combination of spicy tuna, tempura shrimp and cucumber.

'A big difference between our sushi and others is the sauces,' Oh said. 'It is common in New York, but in Portland I rarely see the sauces. We have several different kinds including unagi, chili, wasabi and spicy mayo.'

Oh chose the Portland area based on 20-year memories of a four-hour layover at the Portland International Aiport on his way to New York. He lived the last 15 years in Savannah, Ga., where he had a watch and fine jewelry store in a mall.

'I am very good with my hands, but I was unhappy and I wanted to do something different,' Oh said. 'Every time I asked myself what to do, my first choice was always sushi restaurant; second choice, sushi restaurant; third choice, sushi restaurant.'

After three years and 50,000 miles of searching in the Portland area, he selected the Lake Oswego site for his restaurant because it was 'bright and happy.'

He hired Main Chef Tommy Shin, who is also Korean and learned his trade at Ookii in Clackamas and Hiroshi in Portland's Pearl District.

'Good sushi depends on the freshness of the fish and the sharpness of the knives,' Shin said.

Fish is delivered daily to Go Fish Go Sushi. It is served as sashimi the day it arrives and cooked or seared on day two. When sashimi is cut and served on the conveyor belt, it is on the track for no more than 15 minutes.

Diners who choose their dishes from the conveyor belt need to be aware that different plate colors mean different prices. The black plate is the top price, with a $4 spider roll or spicy crab roll, and the prices move downward through red, blue and green plates until they reach the $1.50 yellow plate, which is a dish like inari (bean curd) or edamame. At the end of the meal, the tab is determined by the number of empty plates and what color they are.

Go Fish Go Sushi does not serve strictly sushi. Other dishes on the menu include tempura, gyoza (dumplings) and chicken katzu (breaded chicken).

The restaurant also serves beer and sake - including a mango chutney sake from Oregon's Sake 2 Me - along with unique Japanese soft drinks that have marbles in the bottle.

Go Fish Go Sushi is located at 363 S. State St., Lake Oswego. Restaurant hours are weekdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. On Fridays and Saturdays hours are 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Closed on Sundays. The phone number is 503-699-9000.