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May 18, 2007 10:34 AM

Shibucho (OC) on a Sunday: Open? OK?

I've got to be in Costa Mesa Sunday afternoon, and I had previously extracted from the Chowspouse a promise that the next time we were in OC at dinner-time WITHOUT my in-laws (who don't do Japanese, really) that we'd be back at Shibucho.

BUT it's Sunday.

So: anyone know:

(a) are they even OPEN on Sunday night?
(b) what about the general rule to avoid sushi on Sunday night, on the assumption that the fish left the market at least 30+ hours ago?
(c) How crowded are they going to be? (I KNOW I'll need a reservation , even for 5:30...)

r gould-saltman
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  1. I know that elmomonster is the expert on Shibucho, so he'll probably chime in with his thoughts. In the meantime, you might want to give them a call to see if they are open on Sunday.

    Sushi Shibucho
    (949) 642-2677
    590 W 19th St
    Costa Mesa, CA 92627

    7 Replies
    1. re: kingkong5

      don't there is room for more than 2 doz ppl. but make sure and reserve a seat at the counter.
      he'll let you know if the fish isn't worth serving. but don't expect him to make a spicy tuna roll or anything of the kind. try his anago and also the tamago if your in luck...very good

      1. re: kingkong5

        I am but a faithful Shibutani disciple.

        They are open on Sunday from 5:30 pm to 9:30 pm.

        I have never been able to get a reservation for the sushi bar except for one time. They are extremely hard to get, and no amount of cajoling will make them budge. I would call them now for Sunday.

        Also if you want to sit in front of Shibutani, perhaps delicately say it upfront. Otherwise, you will get Naga. He's good, but his dad's the master.

        I may be wrong, but per the Bourdain rule, I thought it was: never order a fish dish on a Monday, since the fish mongers close on Monday. Shibucho is, coincidentally, not open on Mondays.

        1. re: elmomonster

          Shibutani-san has by far the best knife skills of any sushi chef I've ever seen. Sitting with Naga-san will get you the same fish, sure, but Shibutani-san has superior technique.

          1. re: elmomonster

            Good to know!

            My SO and I will be going here for our 2 year anniversary next Sunday and we were going to wait at the door until they open for the counter spot.

            Omakase, here we come!!


            1. re: arisu

              Also, you can get omakase at the table too. It comes in one big plate (as I showed in my review) In some ways, I prefer this because you will get some pieces prepared by Shubitani and some by his son. And it's easier to get a reservation for a table than the bar.


              1. re: elmomonster

                I read somewhere online that people aren't allowed to take pictures at the bar? Do you know if this is true?

                If so I'm going to need to change my reservation for tomorrow.


                1. re: arisu

                  Not sure. I didn't bother taking pictures at the bar, because there's way too many to take. Each piece becomes one picture and that can get tedious.


        2. We went there on a Sunday night once. They had a bunch of fish crossed off, like the yellowtail. When we arrived, the bar was empty. But by the time we left, the place was getting full.

          1. Just went there again last night. Anago was great as usual, and also had white salmon.

            I believe Monday is the only day they're closed.

            1. He is the most meticulous chef I've seen in southern california.
              he will not serve bad fish. period.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Jerome

                and unlike other sushi bars in LA or OC it really feels like what I'd imagine a Tokyo or Kyoto sushi bar to feel like.

                also, if his wife is working there too, she's super-nice.

                one last thing, it's pretty reasonable for an omakase joint, it will never top $50 per. but at other places around town it usually hovers around $65 or $70 and works it's way up from there.

              2. OK, we're not worthy! HOW did Shibutani-san and Naga-san manage to serve us that for $35?

                Admittedly, Naga's omakase still has us, non-regulars, pegged as relative gringos (How do you politely say, "Bring on the exotic stuff?") but we were able to see enough of what Shibutani was preparing for the other folks at the bar (all of whom apparently spoke only Japanese while there) that with enough "What was that?" we scored e.g., tiny "firecracer squids" etc.

                Still, brilliant.

                3 Replies
                1. re: silverlakebodhisattva

                  Hooray, another convert to the Temple of Shibucho!

                  1. re: silverlakebodhisattva

                    The rent's a whole lot less on 19th Street, Costa Mesa than in Crystal Cove, Newport Coast (ie. Bluefin) , with your landlords as the never-forgiving, always rent-raising Irvine Company :)