Since opening in 2019, Osha Thai Kitchen & Sushi has steadily made downtown Holly Springs a destination dining spot.
Perfectly situated in a corner parcel in the ever-growing downtown village district, Osha, which means “tasty” in Thai, is a modern, family-friendly restaurant. Its popularity extends throughout Western Wake, as Cary Magazine readers have honored the eatery with two nods in recent Maggy Awards — runner-up for Best New Restaurant last year and the Best Asian category this year.
“We have a lot of locals who come in often, and we are grateful,” says co-owner Surasit “Leo” Chotitaveesaksri, who hails from Thailand and runs Osha along with business partners Blake and Katie Zalcberg. “When we first opened, we were nervous and scared, but we have been pleased with how people have continued to support us.”
Chotitaveesaksri’s wife, Wiyada “Tuk” Sorkeaw, serves as the restaurant’s primary chef, meticulously making everything from scratch.
Among the tempting starters are crispy eggplant with scallions, fried fish cake patties and moo ping, which comprises pork skewers marinated in coconut milk served alongside sticky rice and a spicy dipping sauce.
“Moo ping is representative of authentic street food you would find in Thailand,” Chotitaveesaksri says. “It’s the type of food that is cooked from our passion.”
When it comes to entrees, you can’t go wrong with any of seven stir-fry varieties with your choice of protein including chicken, pork, beef, shrimp, tofu or duck. House favorite sweet-and-sour stir fry contains fresh pineapple, bell peppers, onions, cucumbers, tomatoes and scallions nestled in a scrumptious red sauce.
Noodle and rice dishes abound. Try the traditional pad Thai crowned with an intricately woven fried egg, or the basil-tinged green curry fried rice. For something really unusual, order the hor mok talay, a shrimp, fish and mussels custard served in a banana leaf bowl with cabbage and basil.
Many of the items at Osha may be prepared gluten-free, vegan or vegetarian. Consider ordering family style, which many people do, so you can enjoy an array of different dishes.
Japanese cuisine also is well represented. Choose a seaweed or octopus salad, geso karaage (deep fried squid legs) or any of the popular nigiri and sashimi selections.
Among the ambitious signature sushi rolls, the Downtown Dynamic Dragon features tempura-battered shrimp, asparagus, avocado, eel sauce and baked salmon so fresh you’ll swear it was still swimming yesterday. Even more extraordinary is the Shogun, with king crab, seared wagyu beef, 18 karat gold flakes — yes, you read that right — and a spicy honey sesame sauce.
Nearly a dozen specialty rolls appear on the menu. There’s also an abundant assortment of classic rolls like California Eel, Japanese Bagel and Spicy Seafood Tempura.
“We only use fresh ingredients in our sushi,” Chotitaveesaksri says with a broad smile. “You will not find buy-one-get-one-free rolls here. We are committed to serving top quality for our guests.”
Virtually every plate that emerges from the kitchen appears as a work of art. It’s not uncommon to see plates garnished with flowers or exquisitely carved fresh fruit. Even the dinnerware is purposefully stylish.
Inventive craft cocktails pair well with the food and highlight Osha’s flair. The whimsical Holly Spring Fling comes with coconut water rum, sake, peach, lychee and passionfruit. For an interesting spin on a familiar classic, try the Old-Fashioned Handshake composed of Japanese whisky, Okinawa Kokuto syrup, Trinity bitters and fire. Additional libations include beer, wine, cold and hot sake, and a variety of liquors, including single malt and blended Japanese whiskies.
Don’t skip dessert. Best option: The palate-pleasing mango sticky rice with fresh fruit and coconut ice cream.
The restaurant’s contemporary interior features bamboo-covered light fixtures, high ceilings and white tiled walls. A hanging rope section of the dining room pays homage to the floating markets found in Thailand, while a beautifully landscaped outdoor patio features an eye-catching fountain that’s illuminated at night.
Osha Thai Kitchen & Sushi is open six days a week for lunch and dinner (closed Mondays). Reservations are strongly recommended, especially since indoor seating is limited to allow for social distancing. Online ordering and curbside pickup are available if you prefer takeout.
Osha Thai Kitchen & Sushi
242 South Main St., Suite 100,