Oishii Donburi Review – Japanese & Korean Staples in Lawrenceville

Last Updated on April 16, 2021 by Jeremy

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If you've spent any amount of time on our site, you may have seen our review for Oishii Bento in Oakland. This small restaurant in the heart of the neighborhood serves up an array of bento box creations as well as other Japanese staples with decent portion sizes at an amazing price point.

So when the team behind that restaurant announced a new concept, Oishii Donburi in Lawrenceville, we were in.

While this one serves up an array of traditional Japanese menu items, we also found some of our favorites from Korea on the menu as well- all for the same great price point we love from Oishii Bento!

Japanese or Korean? Why Not Both at Oishii Donburi

Oishii Donburi Takeout

As donburi translates to “bowl” in Japanese, you can expect most of the menu items at Oishii Donburi to be rice bowls. These include signature bowls, bibimbap, curry bowls, and an array of Japanese sides to name a few.

While we'd say the menu here leans heavily on Japanese dishes with some favorites like katsudon, takoyaki, and gyoza, you'll find some Korean favorites here as well including bibimbap, bulgogi bowls, and of course kimchi.

Naturally, we went for a bit of everything for a feast.

Tofu Katsudon Curry from Oishii Donburi

For our entrees, we ordered a tofu katsudon curry as well as a bulgogi bowl to enjoy both the Japanese and Korean sides of the menu. 

When we typically order a katsu dish, it is often chicken or pork that is fried in a crispy batter. For this one, we opted to try the dish with tofu instead and were pleased with how well the texture of the tofu held up after being fried which offered a delightful contrast to the exterior batter. The dish went further than just fried tofu with the addition of the umami-rich Japanese curry all served on a bed of rice to tie it all together.

If you want a rich and savory entree, this one is it- although we do have to admit we would've loved an extra ladle of the curry!

Bulgogi from Oishii Donburi Lawrenceville

The bulgogi bowl was everything we love about this Korean staple. Namely, ample amounts of beef, grilled onions, and an intense flavor that is savory with a nice hint of sweetness. 

Both of the entrees here came at respectable price points of just around $10. While we still had enough for leftovers since we ordered a feast, we do have to admit that the bowl sizes here are sufficient enough to be a solid single-serving lunch on their own. But if you order some sides as we did, well, you'll probably have a bit leftover for the next day!

Takoyaki and Shrimp Tempura

Oishii Donburi has a rather respectable list of sides and we opted to hit a few of our favorites- shrimp tempura, takoyaki (fried octopus balls), and kimchi. All of these dishes were simply solid iterations for their respective styles. The shrimp tempura came six to an order, takoyaki eight, and the kimchi was a modest amount for a few bites for each of us all the same.

If you've never had takoyaki, this one is a treat. It is a dough ball fried in a custom skillet with a little octopus piece put into the center. The exterior is crispy, the inside is doughy, and you get a delightful little bite of octopus to finish it off. These are topped with a tangy barbecue sauce, mayonnaise, dried seaweed, and bonito flakes (present on ours but in the act of driving home and serving got a bit less obvious for photos). 

One thing we loved about ordering takeaway from Oishii Donburi is that all of the sauces (outside of the curry dish) were served on the side. This allowed us not only to control how much we wanted but also to help ensure that the batter on the takoyaki and shrimp stayed as crispy as possible. While we do admit that the fried dishes would be best enjoyed immediately out of the fryer, this was a nice touch we appreciated all the same.

Overall, Oishii Donburi reminds us of all the things we love from Oishii Bento in Oakland but with rice bowls and other traditional recipes we love. We can't wait to order more!

Oishii Donburi is located at 5227 Butler St in Lawrenceville. 

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