Parallel 33, Kazumi Sushi (San Diego)
Well, after the great experience we had at Bread et Cie yesterday morning, I was in a great mood and enthusiastic to try a couple more places. We decided to grab a drink and then head to Kazumi Sushi in Hillcrest, which the ladies have been wanting to try. My friend and I had both had negative experiences (mediocre food) at Parallel 33, but I like that little waiting room with the bar, and we thought that maybe stopping by for a couple appetizers and a drink would be a good way to give the place a second chance.
To drink we both chose white wines from their by-the-glass selection: I had a glass of Grenache Blanc and my friend had a Sauvignon Blanc. Both were worth the price ($8.50/glass). We followed this up with a bottle of Sancerre (wish I remembered the name), which was also fine.
To eat we ordered the the Gyoza and the Curried Calamari. We both enjoyed the Gyoza, which I believe had a hint of mint and came with some sort of slaw with vinaigrette. We were not impressed by the Curried Calamari. The curry was sweet, smooth and fantastic but the calamari had a mushy, soggy consistency. Overall, I might give Parallel 33 another chance but I won't be rushing back.
For dinner we went to Kazumi Sushi in Hillcrest. It was awful. The service was horrible and the place was just kind of run-down and shabby looking. I'd put the quality of the food on the same level with Sushi Deli (mediocre but edible). Unfortunately, the price doesn't match the quality, and the place is nowhere near as fun as Sushi Deli.
Can't comment on Parallel 33, as I've never been. But as far as Kazumi....
The trick at Kazumi is not to sit at the tables, and instead sit at the bar on Kazumi's side (he's the owner). I've been to Kazumi and sat at the tables when the place was empty and had to wait forever for food. I also swore I'd never go back.
But, on a friend's advice, I did. And I sat at the bar. And it was wonderful. Sure, the decor of the place is nothing to write home about. But if you go in there in the middle of the week, you'll have no trouble getting a seat at the bar. And if you do go back and get a seat at the bar, by all means let him guide you. And try his smoked salmon. The finest available in San Diego, hands down. He smokes it himself. Take Kazumi's recommendations, watch what he makes for others, keep the food coming, and have yourself some Okinawan Orion beer. You'll walk out of there with a highly personal meal.
have you been there lately?
When I lived in Hillcrest my girlfriend and I went there regularly and always sat at the bar. We felt Kazumi was one of the best sushi places around. No fusion cali rolls there, just top notch fish and traditional sushi. The last time we went, over a year ago, we weren't that thrilled with it, but Kazumi (mr. kazumi?) wasn't there. I had heard from friends that the fish quality was suffering, so we haven't been back. I would like to know how it is doing these days...
I think Parallel 33 tends to be inconsistent. I've had meals that were just "okay" and I've had what was probably the best all around meal in San Diego in the last 5 years there as well. The inconsistency can probably be attributed to any number of things. If the chef (and owner in this case) is in the kitchen that night or not, tho' on a Saturday night I was tend to think the chef *is* in the kitchen, if there has been a recent turn over in kitchen staff, if new menu items have been introduced and the kitchen is still trying to integrate them. And with any placed that's been open more than a few years, restaurant ennui kind of sets in; the buzz has been created, the clientel comes with some regularity as do the accolades, but so does the sameness of it all and boredom, boredom on the part of owner, chef and clients. I think Parallel 33 is kind of starting their ennui phase right now.
The really great meal I had wasn't off the menu, it was a special meal that they had in 2005. They do these occasionally and you can usually find them listed on the menu. It was cooking in concert with Amiko Gubbins the chef at Parallel 33 and Riko Bartolome from Asia Vous in Escondido. The fish courses were spectacular.
was very disappointed with parallel 33 as well
i think if you are going to work with these combos of flavors from around the world you should have some direct experience with them, ie live in that country or work for significant time in that country's cuisine restaurant
i suspect maybe "some" of the above, with a little too much enthusiasm followed by not enough follow through
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