WTF? Oyama Japanese Steakhouse is shockingly good.

Since moving to Ellensburg in August, I have heard many different things about Oyama Steakhouse, so my expectations weren’t clear when we took my parents there a few weeks ago. I should note that my husband is of Japanese heritage and we both grew up in places so rich with truly incredible seafood that we pretty much never order seafood unless we can practically see the ocean from where we’re sitting.  Maybe that makes us seafood snobs but I’m fine with being known as someone who prefers to not eat old fish. However, sometimes a girl gets brave and needs her sushi fix, and of course I’ll try anything once and tell you all about it, so we decided to head to Oyama on a Saturday night for dinner.

My first impression was that is was really crowded–almost always a good sign. My second thought was, “oh, that’s where the 3.2% of the population of Ellensburg that are listed as Asian on the most recent census are.” Despite the crowd and being a party of five, we were seated promptly and began poring over the menu and feeding the baby goldfish crackers to keep him happy.

We ordered some rolls and appetizers for the table. All of them were really good, especially the tempura-fried scallop with a drizzle of spicy sauce. I actually thought all of their sauces were very subtle and not the syrupy mess most Americanized Asian restaurants offer. The miso soup was similarly understated and delicious. We were all quite content with the selection of drinks offered and the service was efficient and super friendly.

For my entree I selected the sushi and sashimi combination. It came with an assortment of individual pieces of sushi, several pieces of sashimi (that’s raw fish without the rice), and a spicy tuna roll. It was all quite good. I was shocked and really, really happy. The rest of my family felt the same way about their meals. Overall, it was just a great dinner.

Alas, but nothing is perfect. I wasn’t nuts about my mom’s seafood udon noodle plate (I’m sorry for not knowing the actual name). There was nothing wrong with it, and the assorted seafood seemed quite fresh, but it just didn’t come together as anything special. She enjoyed it though, and my husband and dad’s pork tonkatsu and teriyaki chicken, respectively, were totally good. I make better teriyaki and my husband makes better pork tonkatsu but now I’m just bragging.

So, check out Oyama Japanese Steakhouse. I think it would be just as good for a casual lunch as a special dinner. It’s the best non-western food I’ve had in Ellensburg so far and we will be back again and again. Don’t go a-changin’, Oyama.


Oyama Japanese Steakhouse. 506 South Main Street, Ste 1. Ellensburg, WA 98926.  509- 933-3389


Sugar Thai

Go if...

you need Thai food in Ellensburg. It’s not great, but not a lot of Thai restaurants are, so you’re probably going to get the experience and food you expect here. I always order pad Thai when I’m trying a new Thai restaurant (it’s my canary in a coalmine-see my Yellow Church Cafe review) and theirs was totally decent despite the unexpected but not unwelcome additions of mushrooms and baby corn. The fresh rolls would have been good if they had Thai basil, but without it they fell flat. Also, put your dang takeout menu on the internet!

The bottom line is that I’ll keep eating Sugar Thai but I won’t be thrilled about it.

Sugar Thai, 306 N Pine St, Ellensburg. 509-933-4224.