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OC Sushi

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I need to gush about what I think may be the best -- and certainly most undiscovered -- sushi places in SoCal: Sushi Wasabe in Tustin, near the intersection of the 5 and 55. Tucked at the end of a mini-mall, next to a donut shop and an auto-parts store. No decor to speak of, and I've walked in at 7pm on a Friday and had my choice of seats. The LA Times wrote about it a few months ago, but even that hasn't seemed to draw a crowd (a sad comment in itself).

They have only sushi -- nothing else. Chef's choice only at the bar, but you can order at the tables -- I recommend letting the chef do his thing. I've eaten a lot of sushi, all over SoCal, and the only place that even comes close in my book is Sasabune on Sawtelle. The fish is incredibly fresh, and enhanced by all sorts of subtle, citrusy sauces the chef mixes up before your eyes. A raw albacore sashimi in sauce to start the meal blew me away. Not cheap, but a lot less than, for example, R-23 -- and a helluva lot better, IMHO.

If anyone knows of a better place for sushi, especially in OC, I'd be glad to hear it.
14460 Newport Ave., Tustin. (714) 505-3496.

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    Carolyn Tillie

    Back in the days when Iron Chef was only on Channel 18 before being dubbed for the Food Network (yes, I watched it way back then and have most of them on tape), there was a small group of fans on a chat list that discussed sushi ad nauseum.

    All agreed that I Love Sushi on Harbor in Costa Mesa was the best in the LA area. They especially recommended the house special scallop dish. I never got there because it was always too busy.

    Now I gotta admit -- I work for a dot-com near Gardenia and I can't throw a Sumo wrestler without hitting a sushi restaurant. My personal favorite is Sen-Nari Sushi at the corner of 182nd and Western. I love it when they put the live shrimp on the counter so you can pick the one that moves the most...