Ossu Japanese Tavern, Tropicana’s newest restaurant, opened on July 29, 2022, with Executive Chef Michael Buckley leading the kitchen. The Atlantic City restaurant provides a modernized take on traditional Japanese food, offering a selection of dishes, including yakitori, sushi, small plates, and unique Japanese sakes and whiskeys at the bar.
This dimly lit space gives off a feeling of a Japanese back alley—with graphic murals and illuminated street signs—depicting the chaos and beauty of Tokyo.
Chef Buckley, 29, conceptualized and developed the entire menu. In his role, he oversees menu development, maintains budgeting costs through vendor relationships, procures the best quality products, and leads the Ossu culinary team to embrace new methods while paying homage to the art form of Japanese knife skills and techniques.
Buckley first joined Tropicana as a sous chef in 2017, following a successful three years with the Garces Group in both Atlantic City and Philadelphia, where he worked his way from line cook to sous chef at notable restaurants such as Amada, The Olde Bar, and Distrito. Upon joining the Tropicana team as sous chef, he was responsible for Garces restaurants, Olón and Okatshe, and other dining outlets and banquets on the property.
In 2021, he was promoted to Restaurant Chef at the award-winning fine dining restaurant IL Verdi. With Buckley at the helm, the Northern Italian restaurant was named a top restaurant in Atlantic City by OpenTable Diners in 2022. In the Summer of 2022, the Tropicana chose Buckley to open its new Japanese restaurant.
When asked what he loved about working at Ossu, Buckley responded, “I love working at Ossu because Japanese cuisine is just so fresh and exquisite. From the genuine Japanese ingredients to the fish, there is nothing like getting the most beautiful sushi-grade fish every day and appreciating its quality.”
Ossu is trying to set itself apart from other Japanese restaurants with its innovative and refined spin on Japanese classics. Everything on the menu is fun and exciting to eat. There is a little something for everyone here, from the variety of different textures to the refined layers of flavor.
Dishes like the Edamame Dumplings are standouts—the dumpling is savory and creamy, while the gyoza has a chewy but soft texture. The sweet sake truffle broth is sweet and rich and comes with al dente-shelled edamame, then garnished with white truffle and togarashi for a complex and aromatic finish.
The chicken wings are also one of the most popular dishes. First cured in a katsuobushi dry brine, then the chicken is confit in soybean oil, low and slow until tender and juicy. The wings are then battered with their signature wing batter, fried perfectly golden brown and delicious, and then garnished with our signature sauce, sesame seeds, and scallions.
Last but not least, on the sushi lineup, the umami roll is their version of surf and turf but in a sushi roll form. Yakitori grilled filet mignon meets jumbo lump blue crab in a delicate sesame soy crepe with asparagus tempura. It is then topped with thinly sliced Haas avocado and sweet & spicy poke sauce and garnished with fried crispy shallots and micro greens. It’s about as sexy as sushi rolls get!
Ossu is a great late-night happy hour spot in Atlantic City. It includes $7 small plates and $6 beverages (more details below). The happy hour runs every Friday and Saturday from 11 pm to 1 am and Sunday from 9 pm to 11 pm with DJ entertainment on Fri/Sat only. Plus, guests can receive two free admissions to Boogie Nights with a $100 receipt.