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Kaito Sushi, Rev. 2.0 (SD)

  • cgfan Feb 12, 2008 07:33 PM

As many of their devoted fans have known for quite sometime, Kaito Sushi will be celebrating their 3rd year of continuous operation this Saturday, February 16. After an incredible run of serving what I regard to be San Diego's finest traditional sushi, the folks at Kaito are staged to both figuratively and geographically turn the corner as they settle into a new location just a block away off of El Camino Real.

Much like the youth who wears his father's suit, they've made a valiant run of it for the first three years in a building that was ultimately too large to fit them well. But as the suit does not make the man, the ill-fitting building could not deter from the real gem of their operation, the incredible sushi served by head sushi chef Kazuo Morita and his loyal compatriot "Joe" Iwatani.

After they close the doors on their Encinitas Blvd. building for the final time this Saturday, they'll go dark for about two weeks and reopen in their new location. Though I do not have a specific date yet on their re-opening, the new address is now known: 130-A N. El Camino Real, in the Albertson's shopping center just north of Encinitas Blvd.

Here's a link to a Google Map and Street View of the new location: http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&h...

Kaito Sushi
130-A N. El Camino Real.
Encinitas, CA
(760) 634-2746

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  1. Thanks for the heads-up. I've wanted to try Kaito for so long, and was considering it for my birthday dinner coming up soon. I'll hold off that celebration a few more days until they relocate.

    Morita-san should hire you to write press releases for Kaito. :)

    3 Replies
    1. re: phee

      Come to think of it, my birthday's coming up too! ;-)

      If you're a fan of traditional sushi, that'll be a wonderful way of kicking in another year. Just make sure you make it known that you are a sushi devotee, and you'll get along just fine at the bar, or better yet, ask for omakase.

      ...as to the writing job, do they pay in sushi?

      1. re: cgfan

        I went there for my birthday!

        It was awesome!

        Going to the anniversary?

        1. re: Enorah

          Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays this sushi fan from the swift,

          no, strike that,

          contemplative completion of my appointed meal...

          :-)

    2. Thanks cgfan! Please let us know if you hear what day they are opening in the new building. Two weeks without is going to be torture!

      6 Replies
      1. re: Pablo

        LOL

        I am looking forward to the new locale

        But we may show up there on Sat, if I can talk my sweetie into going. He in not quite the sushi junkie I am. I could eat sushi multiple times a week.

        1. re: Pablo

          Pablo: Will do! ...though something tells me they won't know either until just a couple of days before...

          So any CH'ers planning on being there Saturday?

          1. re: cgfan

            hope you all had a yummy dinner

            we missed the last night, but I am so looking forward to the new Kaito!

            1. re: Enorah

              Certainly did!

              To Enorah and all other Kaito fans who couldn't make it, here's what was served on this final night: http://www.flickr.com/photos/akatayam...

              1. re: cgfan

                oh yum

                1. re: cgfan

                  A few of my shots.. the ones that turned out!
                  http://www.flickr.com/photos/sushiman...

                  We ate everything Morita-san had!

          2. Hey!

            Anyone got a update?

            cgfan?

            pablo?

            anyone?

            :)

            17 Replies
            1. re: Enorah

              Well they secured their lease on the new location and have announced through their website that they expect to open sometime in early March.

              For me it can't be soon enough! I'm dying for my next Kaito fix!

              1. re: cgfan

                I have a problem

                I want sushi

              2. re: Enorah

                For the first time since they vacated the old building, we finally see some signs of activity in their new location:

                http://www.flickr.com/photos/akatayam...
                http://www.flickr.com/photos/akatayam...

                Let the countdown begin - Kaito Rev. 2.0!

                -----
                Kaito Sushi
                130-A N El Camino Real, Encinitas, CA 92024

                1. re: cgfan

                  More movement!

                  The old website is down and a new one to come is in its place.

                  www.kaitorestaurant.net

                  1. re: Enorah

                    Opening April 23 according to the website

                    WooHoo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                    I'm crying I'm so happy!

                    http://kaito.food.officelive.com/Sush...

                    1. re: Enorah

                      Yesss! I can't wait!

                      Since they've closed I've had sushi at 5 other shops, but in a true sense I really haven't had sushi. None of them even came close to what I would get on any given day at Kaito - they're that good.

                      Where have I gone? Tomiko; Sushi Bar Blue Fin; Nobu; Samurai; Sammy's Sushi. I tell you none of them came close, not even by a long shot. More than half were disastrous. It's the shari, it's the tane, it's the sequencing of omakase orders, it's the wise seasoning choices, it's, of course, most importantly, the chef.

                      And of course Kaz will be there at the new location tending to his customers, so it seems that all is in place for what I consider to be San Diego's finest sushi.

                      1. re: cgfan

                        It's going to be a Chowhound night at Kaito on Wednesday!
                        See you guys there!

                        1. re: Pablo

                          Hi Pablo! Nice to see you :)

                          We will probably not be there for the opening as that is the day we are adopting our new kitties.

                          I think they might feel mad at us if we go out for sushi on their first night with us. lol

                          1. re: Enorah

                            Congrats on the kitties. They may like some sushi as well!

                            1. re: Enorah

                              Enorah, have fun with the new kitties! Sure we will see you soon, we need to make up for some serious lost time at the sushi bar! The mediocrity of sushi bars that surrounds us was making us insane! I am actually looking forward to Morita-san telling me he doesn't have something because he didn't like it. All the other places, they have "it" no matter the quality - frozen, old and stepped on, etc.. Morita-san's respect for the food he makes and serves is unsurpassed, I wish every chef felt the same way!

                              1. re: Enorah

                                Hey Enorah! Congrats on the kitties! Enjoy Kaito... one of these days I'm going to get there and have some heavenly sushi.

                              2. re: Pablo

                                It's been two long months since they were last open... Time for some sushi!

                                ...I'll be there for sure!

                                And BTW, here's their new web page before the redirection: http://www.SushiKaito.com

                                1. re: Pablo

                                  Latest word from their website: opening day has been now moved back to Friday... I can't wait!

                                  1. re: cgfan

                                    Thanks for the update. We may be able to make that!

                                    Kitties should be settled by then.

                                    1. re: Enorah

                                      Well, we did not make it tonight. We will go tomorrow or sun or mon (I know one of those nights they are closed). Our new little wacky bundles of love have us tuckered out, too tuckered out to savor a fine sushi meal.

                                      I want stories! About sushi!

                                      1. re: Enorah

                                        I went by Kaito today, around 1pm and they do not look like they are open yet. I did not see a health inspection grade in the window, and there was still a bit of clutter inside.

                                        1. re: littlestevie

                                          I was wondering about that. I will phone first before we go.

                      2. Looks like the wait is over!

                        There's a big bold post on their new website announcing that they are now open for business.

                        (Enorah - maybe your new kitties could use a sushi fix too?)

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: cgfan

                          Is tonight the opening?

                          LOL

                          We already have a reservation.

                          Oh, and the kitties are so cute and full of love I can barely tear myself away from them for any amount of time right now.

                          1. re: Enorah

                            Dinner was awesome. I tried uni for the first time. Yummy!

                            The sushi was great. It was fun to talk with Kazu.

                            But the best part was dining with Pablo and family! That was a really cool surprise, to walk and find a fellow chowhounder chowing down.

                            Here's to more yummy sushi in the company of good people!

                            1. re: Enorah

                              Great meeting you guys Enorah! The uni was really great, I love Morita-san's uni and mirugai roll, a great way to try uni if you have never had it before. Next time be sure to try the uni with ika and shiso or uni and shiso deepfried - really good! We have really grown fond of ika, Yari-ika on Monday and we had Sumi-ika on Friday. See you again soon!

                        2. Last night, just one day after having completed my sixth visit since Kaito's reopening, what do I see but an announcement on their website of a post-Golden Week shipment from Tsukiji bringing in some fresh Kohada, Sayori, and Katsuo, to add to their existing stock of Mategai, Uni, Kanpachi, and Mirugai. Well that was enough to bring me in for my seventh visit, and it appears that at least 4 other parties also came in earlier that day upon picking up on the same "scoop".

                          As usual I left everything in the deft hands of Morita-san, who, while considering what I already had enjoyed from the previous night, had put together for me one of the most enjoyable meals yet since their reopening. [The previous night showcased some wonderul diver-caught local Uni, a wonderful sashimi plate of Mategai, and the combined comforting, briny, yet elgantly divine taste of a brothy Asari Sakemushi.]

                          This meal was bookended with the wonderful Katsuo that came in from Japan, the opening salvo being a Katsuo sashimi plate, and ending with Katsuo in nigiri form. Thanks to Kaito's blog I didn't miss out on this seasonal delicacy - with the exception of the Katsuo Shinzou, or Katsuo heart, of which by its very nature is extremely limited and was already gone by the time I had arrived! (Pablo...)

                          Fantastic! A traditionally-focused sushi bar with their own blog, announcing what's new and exciting in the world of ingredients! The instantaneous reach of the Internet joining forces with the slow food world of traditional sushi to help answer the proverbial question, "What's for dinner?"!

                          There's even a RSS subscription link to the blog so one can continue to be informed even while away from the website. (One can also subscribe to a specific category or "channel", e.g.: "From the Sushi Case" where they seem to be announcing ingredient arrivals, though this can only be done by clicking through to where their blog is actually hosted at: http://kaitorestaurant.spaces.live.com/

                          )

                          So here's a link for all those who want to keep their ear (palate?) close to the ground on all things sushi, from the best practitioner that San Diego has to offer. It's a great way of being in on the next "scoop", insurance against missing out on these ephemeral, seasonal beauties.

                          Kaito's News and Updates page: http://sushikaito.com/SushiBlog.aspx

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: cgfan

                            Sorry we ate there the one night you did not. LOL

                            1. re: Enorah

                              Well if I have my numbers right I've been there 54% of the days that they've been open so far. But I'm far better with the numbers than with my memory, so you're probably right that I didn't dine there that night!

                              Would have loved to have been there!

                            2. re: cgfan

                              Cgfan, the Katsuo was amazing, we had been waiting for such a long time! I know Morita-san said he just wasn't happy with what he saw in the past so we just waited and waited and of course the good stuff finally arrived after almost two years! We had it both sashimi and nigiri style. I was lucky enough to share the heart with another regular customer. The heart was salted and broiled, I was expecting a "liver" taste but it had more of a "beefy" taste. Hopefully he can get another one for you soon! I took some pics (raw and cooked) so you don't have to feel totally left out!
                              Friday Nights dinner... enjoy!
                              http://www.flickr.com/photos/sushiman...

                            3. Talk about being on a roll! This is why "Kaito rocks"*! http://kaitorestaurant.spaces.live.co...

                              * with thanks to Enorah for the phrase

                              I originally made other dinner plans, but this spread has changed my mind. Hope to post pics later!

                              ...and for all the latest updates, here's the link to Kaito's "Sushi Blog": http://sushikaito.com/SushiBlog.aspx

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: cgfan

                                Pics from my 6/27/08 visit to Kaito: http://www.flickr.com/photos/akatayam...

                                Serving to a capacity crowd, it was amazing to see them go through 3/4 of an entire Katsuo (the whole fish), more than one block of Bluefin Maguro, and run through all of their 5 whole Kamasu (Japanese Barracuda). As usual they had a crowd of predominantly traditional sushi diners, with a total of only 5 non-traditional rolls made all day.

                                Most interesting that day was their use of raw anago, which was made possible due to its filleting off the bone earlier that day during prep. For this unique opportunity (a first for me) it was served as tempura, whose quick cooking sealed the outside but kept the anago inside moist, raw, and tender.

                              2. At long last here's Kaito's first review at their new location (from San Diego City Beat): http://www.sdcitybeat.com/cms/story/d...

                                Let's hope that this is the first of many deserving reviews of our local sushi gem!

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: cgfan

                                  Great review for sushi that rocks!