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Nov 15, 2006 09:20 PM

OC Review: SUSHI 5, “Sushi so Fresh it’s Still Moving“

SUSHI 5, where the motto should be “Sushi so Fresh it’s Still Moving“, albeit moving on a revolving sushi conveyor that is. Welcome to the Carousel of Nigiri!

This new spot in the City of Tustin serves up a sushi experience that may not be quite so moving as Vivaldi’s Summer, but will satisfy your craving for fresh appetizing seafood at the right price of $2.50 per two piece nigiri order($1.99 Monday through Thursday with coupon, link below). It isn’t fair to compare SUSHI 5 to a full service sushi bar. This type of revolving sushi restaurant is most popular in Japan simply because it’s quick and affordable and that is where SUSHI 5 shines. By the way, SUSHI 5 is Japanese owned and is has the same owner as Laguna Sushi.

SUSHI 5 starts with a mechanically formed piece of nigiri sushi rice and then tops it with a surprisingly fresh piece of fish. No sushi chef here to converse with as he or she?, mysteriously assembles your sushi on the other side of a wall in the kitchen.

Sushi rolls are also available for the same $2.50 price and premium sushi (toro, giant clam) and special rolls are priced at market. Premium nigiri is usually the same price as regular sushi but one piece per order rather than two. Be sure to check out the specials board by the front door. Last week’s specials included two pieces of toro or giant clam per order for the regular price of $2.50, VERY fresh and good, what a steal!

The lunch specials look great. Check them out if you visit, they look like good values. Unlike most Japanese restaurants, lunch is served 7 days a week. This is great for me since I don’t work close by and can hit the lunch specials on the weekends. Specials include $5-$6 donburi bowls, combo plates and a 5 order sushi lunch (10 piece) for $9.99 including salad and miso soup. The miso soup is made from scratch here and I could taste the kombu seaweed and bonito shavings in the dashi broth, which is nice, but it was a bit salty for my taste.

I’ve been to SUSHI 5 several times and here are my observations on the items that I’ve tried.

Salmon Salad: Tasty and generous portion of greens, onions, gobo, salmon skin, avocado topped with katsuobushi (dried bonito shavings) and dressed with ponzu. $6.00

Nigiri sushi Rated Fresh and Tasty:
Yellowtail, albacore tataki, salmon, scallops, giant clam, whelk clam (poorman’s giant clam), squid, unagi, california roll, crunchy roll and dragon roll. These were all good. The scallops include the entire scallop not just the white medallion normally served. This lends more of a scallop/clam flavor.

Nigiri sushi Rated slightly inconsistent, but usually fresh:
The tuna sushi (one time) was not as fresh as I’d like but that was one in over a dozen orders. The freshness rating may seem a bit harsh but this should never happen, especially on what is such a popular high turnover item. I hope that this one time occurrence is just chalked up to being a fairly new restaurant trying to work out the food supply kinks.

Donburi bowl with eggs, chicken and rice with a sukiyaki type sauce, $5.50 good comfort food, lunch only. You might want to ask for "easy on the sauce" and ask for more if needed.

I really like this neighborhood place and have been back 8-9 times. I’ve actually downloaded the coupon so that I can reprint it again. They also give out 10% off dinner coupons with the check. The best thing about SUSHI 5 is that it’s tasty, quick and affordable.

Link to Coupon:

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  1. Had to update this review, because I just ate at SUSHI 5 on Saturday night and they've remodeled. There now are sushi chefs to be seen! They've opened up the wall between the dining room and the kitchen. The restaurant space is now much more festive and friendly.

    Saturday night's dinner was best we've had here and the toro was especially delicious.

    1. I tried it recently and your right it is really good and especially for the Price which is about HALF what you would pay anywhere else. First Rate Fish for Pennies.

      1 Reply
      1. re: russkar

        really must have missed this joint. is it still around?

      2. russkar, glad you enjoyed SUSHI 5. The owners keep making improvements such as remodeling, adding a 7 day a week lunch menu and the freshness of the fish has actually improved. Last time I was there the toro was excellent, as good or better than any sushi bar I've been to.

        3 Replies
        1. re: GrindzHound

          what's your average bill and what do you normally get? i'm strapped for cash right now but this looks pretty good. thx

          1. re: choctastic

            choctastic, We usually spend $32-$34 for two people including tax and tip. I like the salmon skin salad. The edamame is a nice to munch on. The yellowtail, albacore tataki, salmon, scallops, giant clam, whelk clam (poorman’s giant clam), squid, unagi, california roll, crunchy roll, dragon roll, rainbow roll are all good. Contrary to my initial review, the tuna has been terrific.

            We went again tonight and one of the specials was bluefin toro tataki (seared tuna belly) two pieces for regular price. If you want ponzu sauce on some of the sushi such as the albacore tataki, salmon with onions or halibut to name a few you, have to ask for a bottle. By the way, it turns out that you don't need a coupon to get the $1.99 per order on Monday through Thursday night. Tonight there wasn't a Japanese chef when we were there, but the fish is all selected and purchased by the Japanese chef. Sometimes the technique in cutting the fish is not the best by the non-Japanese chefs but the fish is fresh and good, which is the most important part for me. Tonight it was great again. Just can't beat it for $1.99 an order.

        2. We just ate there last night, and we had a really good time. The sushi was good, especially for the price. The best sushi of the evening was a wonderful melt-in-your-mouth sea eel, this time served with just a bit of salt instead of the usual teriyaki type sauce. Delicious.

          4 Replies
          1. re: OCchowman

            oh wow they had anago? okay now i really need to go here. i don't know how i missed this thread when it was first posted. is the selection decent at lunch? I can't imagine they would sell kumamoto oysters during the lunch deal. The sign said kumamotos were on special for dinner as well as some other stuff which I forgot because i was so shocked they had kumamotos.

            i drove by last night around 4:30 but i guess they weren't open for dinner yet and i didn't see their hours posted so I thought they were closed. argh.

            1. re: choctastic

              choctastic, we had the Kumamoto oysters last time and they were good. First time I've tried them.

              Also, would appreciate if you post any discoveries not listed on the menu. I'm slowly but surely finding out what other items are not on the published menu. The other day there was an okra appetizer special that I wish I'd tried. I'm not a big okra person but it looked like the typical plate at Honda-Ya.

            2. re: OCchowman

              OCchowman, anago is one of my favorites but I haven't tried it here, thanks for the mentioning it. I'll have to try it.

              Using sea salt instead of the teriyaki sauce style may actually be a good sign or maybe just a more tradtional serving style. Sometimes it means that the sushi bar is confident in the quality of the product, because there aren't any strong sauces to cover up any unsavory flavors. Kind of like how some sushi places push the spicy stuff to cover up the flavor older fish, ie. spicy tuna.

              1. re: GrindzHound

                no anago is supposed to be served w/ salt and unagi comes with the bbq sauce. they're 2 diff kinds of eel.

            3. Haha, great post title - albeit a bit scary. Thanks for the tip - one more OC possibility for me to explore next time I'm down there.


              1 Reply
              1. re: AquaW

                AquaW, I wondered if people would get the title, glad you got a kick out of it, lol.