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Good sushi - orange county?

s
sprinklequeen Feb 17, 2008 07:41 PM

Does anyone know of reasonably priced, really good sushi in the Orange County area, specifically closest to Irvine?

  1. cgfan Feb 17, 2008 08:55 PM

    How about one of the best traditional sushi shops around with excellent prices in Costa Mesa? Your best bet, if you're looking for traditional sushi, is Shibucho. It's run by one of the most experienced and longest practicing sushi chefs in Southern California. Shibutani-san is a sushi-chef's sushi-chef, known by many SoCal itamaes.

    1. FoodieKat Feb 20, 2008 02:17 AM

      Maki Zushi, on Edinger Ave, in Tustin. It's my favorite hands down. The fish is good quality, and well-prepared, and the prices are reasonable, though I am told omakase dining can get expensive (I order from the specials menu which is always competitively priced for very good quality selections).

      18 Replies
      1. re: FoodieKat
        Das Ubergeek Feb 27, 2008 02:43 PM

        Big, big second on this one.

        1. re: Das Ubergeek
          a
          ausfrench Feb 27, 2008 03:06 PM

          Do they do any other Japanese dishes except sushi at Maki?

          1. re: ausfrench
            FoodieKat Feb 27, 2008 09:26 PM

            Yes. They have a full menu of cooked entrees, including steaks and other types of seafood. I've honestly never gotten past the sushi and sashimi because it's so good, but I have tried the salmon teriyaki, which was tasty. Mr Foodiekat had the grilled chicken teriyaki with green pasta last time we dined there and he also thought it was very good.

          2. re: Das Ubergeek
            j
            josephnl Jan 30, 2009 03:18 PM

            I can't believe all of these positive reports on Maki Zushi...perhaps I am spoiled by eating at Bluefin a lot...or perhaps things have changed dramatically since last March when most of these posts were made. I ate at Maki for the first, and surely the last time several days ago, and I had what was probably the worst sushi I have ever had!! I started with a salmon sushi, which was acceptable, but the fish didn't look or taste exceptionally fresh. I then had a spicy tuna roll which was dreadful. The tuna was a spicy mush, as though it had been through a food processor. Whenever I have this at Bluefin or any other decent sushi restaurant, the fish is finely diced, and not a paste as this was. Also, the pieces of tuna roll surrounded a "salad" of wilted lettuce soaked in dressing. Not only did this not look appealing, it tasted awful. I was tempted to try some sashimi, but nothing in the case looked at all appealing. I decided to try their tempura, and ordered a shrimp and vegetable appetizer. This was also very poor. It was so greasy, that after two pieces, I quit.

            I hate to be so negative about any restaurant, but this was so unbelievably poor, that I am at a loss. The packaged sushi that I occasionally pick up at Gelson's is far superior. Has anyone out there been to Maki recently and how was it?

            For my money, Bluefin in Crystal Cove is the standard for Orange County. It is expensive, but I always eat well there, and when Abe is behind the counter, it can be amazing. When I want to spend less, Wasa in Newport is not bad.

            1. re: josephnl
              j
              josephnl Feb 13, 2009 07:21 PM

              I am surprised that I have not received any reply to my last post. After so many glowing reports, I went to Maki Zushi, and had the worst sushi meat ever, anywhere. Has anyone else been there recently? Was my experience an aberration? Had dinner last night at Bluefin...was wonderful as usual...but Maki was the wort ever...am I wrong?

              1. re: josephnl
                c
                cdmedici Feb 14, 2009 05:44 PM

                If you ate at the sushi bar and sat in front of Yoshio-san you would of had a totally different experience. This place is by my office and I went a couple of times for lunch at sat at a table. I ordered typical gaijin stuff as you did and was unimpressed. I then went back after elmomonsters review about six months ago and sat at the bar and asked for omakase. I was totally blown away with the freshness and the huge variety of fish from all over the world. It was the first time I ever had live uni and I know have a new standard for it.

                BTW. I also love Bluefin and consider Takashi Abe a good friend. I only wish the clientele at Bluefin would appreciate some of the fish that they serve at Maki Zushi.

                1. re: cdmedici
                  j
                  josephnl Feb 14, 2009 07:45 PM

                  I can't believe it. The one and only time I went to Maki was about three weeks ago and sat at the sushi bar. The fish neither looked nor tasted especially fresh (the salmon sushi actually smelled fishy, never a good sign). Nothing at the sushi bar looked especially fresh. And...as I said in my earlier post, the spicy tuny was a paste...as though it had been through a food processor. And...the tempura, which I ordered as a last resort...something I rarely have, was so greasy that I couldn't eat it, and actually felt ill after a few bites. So maybe...could it be...that Yoshio-san was away that evening??? As I said before, this was the worst sushi experience ever!!! I really don't want to return, but perhaps I can be convinced to give it another go.

                  All this negative stuff being said, I have been to Bluefin perhaps 20 times, and I have never been served anything that wasn't pristinely fresh and delicious. It's my favorite.

                  1. re: josephnl
                    c
                    cdmedici Feb 15, 2009 08:37 AM

                    Bluefin is my favorite as well. I have had the honor and privilege of having Abe-san feed me for over 8 years and one of his best chefs Tony-san for over 12 years. They are true talents.

                2. re: josephnl
                  OCAnn Feb 16, 2009 07:51 PM

                  There were a very few others (myself included) that weren't overwhelmed by Maki Zushi; those comments were made on another thread (I think it was to reply to ExileKiss' report) last year. While I think there are other sushi-yas that serve better sushi than Maki Zushi, they (Maki Zushi) does have a great selection.

                  Have not yet tried Bluefin as I've read mixed reviews....

                  1. re: OCAnn
                    j
                    josephnl Feb 16, 2009 08:03 PM

                    Although I am admittedly not an expert at the intricacies of sushi, I do know what fresh fish should taste like, and at least know what tastes good to me. I eat at Bluefin regularly and have never had anything there that didn't taste fresh and delicious, and when Abe (the owner-chef) is behind the counter it is almost always exceptional. Dining at Bluefin ie expensive however. I never leave without it costing at least $100 pp, but I enjoy a nice cocktail as well as good sake. To me, Bluefin is the OC standard, and certainly one of the best in southern CA.

                    Unfortunately my experience at Maki was abysmal. It was my worst experience at any sushi restaurant anywhere and I will probably not return. Perhaps I hit it on a very off night, but everything was so bad that I really don't think so.

                3. re: josephnl
                  b
                  bbcoach Feb 18, 2009 07:49 AM

                  no you are correct. Maki is not good. However Bluefin is way to expensive. Where are the hidden gems?
                  bbcoach

                  1. re: bbcoach
                    kelvlam Feb 18, 2009 09:27 AM

                    Unfortunately, I haven't found any in OC. All the good omakase, or just simply sit at the sushi bar in OC are at a high premium price =(

                    So for me, I've migrated to LA. I'll just go to Chino Hill's Rokuan from time to time, since I live in Walnut but work in Irvine =P

                    1. re: kelvlam
                      A5 KOBE Feb 18, 2009 09:34 AM

                      Rokuan is not good at all. Yes they are Japanese but the quality of fish their is not good. A better place in Chino Hills is Ojiya.

                      Or even Kyala in Diamond Bar for a little bit more and just over the hill.

                      1. re: kelvlam
                        j
                        Jerome May 12, 2009 12:12 PM

                        really? you think the Costa mesa Shibucho is too expensive?

                4. re: FoodieKat
                  FoodieKat Mar 3, 2008 02:34 PM

                  Btw, Maki Zushi is at:
                  1641 Edinger Avenue
                  Tustin, CA 92780

                  http://www.chow.com/places/23639

                  1. re: FoodieKat
                    a
                    ausfrench Mar 4, 2008 08:46 PM

                    I went there tonight and LOVED it. I had all cooked food - tempura vegetables and shrimp, udon, yakitori - all great. My friend had tonnes of sushi and sashimi and declared it the best she'd had in OC (we got there at 6pm and left at 9pm!!). RUN to Maki Zushi folks - you won't be disappointed.

                    1. re: ausfrench
                      f
                      frank828 Mar 5, 2008 10:09 AM

                      i'm so glad you all are having good experiences at Maki Zushi.

                      I LOVE this place too. I havent been there in a while though but i started off going there 3 times about 5 days haha.

                      They typically also carry michinoku onikoroshi sake. Its an extra dry sake that goes PERFECT with the sushi.

                      Say hi to Yoshi! He's awesome! Oh dont miss the kumamoto oysters and live uni if they have them in stock.

                      1. re: frank828
                        FoodieKat Mar 6, 2008 01:00 PM

                        Yes, I think my hubby and I started going there about twice a week after first dining there. It is addictive. :-)

                5. superladymaku Feb 20, 2008 06:11 AM

                  I know this isn't next to Irvine, but Gen Kai in Dana Point is great. They also have one in Corona Del Mar but I've never eaten there.

                  1. f
                    foodhuntress Feb 20, 2008 07:39 AM

                    My favorite is Sushi Narano, in the strip mall at the corner of Jamboree and Michelson. They are relatively inexpensive, with extremely fresh fish. The sushi pieces have enormous fishes of fish with very little rice.

                    1. OCAnn Feb 20, 2008 07:52 AM

                      Again? Do a search and you'll find a bunch of recent threads on this.

                      1. n
                        namstermonster Feb 20, 2008 08:26 AM

                        i don't know about really good, but the most decent i'd say are prolly shibucho (cm), ango tei (cm), and wasabi (tustin). frenzy (cm) is pretty good too, altho it's more fusiony. narano, is not "extremely fresh" and is more of an americanized roll place. i heard there's a place in lake forest that's pretty good, but i forget the name.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: namstermonster
                          i
                          I got nothin Feb 20, 2008 09:13 AM

                          Uoko might be the place you are thinking of in Lake Forest. Never been to the LF location, but I had a decent lunch once at their Tustin location (same name, so I'm guessing it's the same owners).

                        2. aprmayjun Feb 27, 2008 01:43 PM

                          Sushi Wasabi -- Omakase only at the bar and the chef will feed you until you're full. There are tables around but the restaurant is small and I think there can be quite a wait on a busy night. Also there's only one chef but he's amazing.

                          Kasen -- Very traditional Japanese restaurant, so no California rolls, combo plates, chicken teriyaki, etc. I've visisted for two dinners and both times, it's been quiet there but the fish is excellent and I've had one of the most eclectic variety of fish in a chirashi sushi here.

                          -----
                          Sushi Wasabi
                          14460 Newport Ave, Tustin, CA 92780

                          Kasen
                          9039 Garfield Ave, Fountain Valley, CA

                          10 Replies
                          1. re: aprmayjun
                            t
                            Tkn Mar 3, 2008 02:04 PM

                            2nd on Kasen. Ultra traditional here. Omakase starts with sashimi. Shoyu dish was replaced with a new one before moving on to nigiri sushi. The waitstaff stands behind you and readily clears away empty plates. Meal ends, as it traditionally does, with tamago.

                            Standouts: The tuna that he marinates in his own shoyu. The marinated halibut stored between large sheets of seaweed wrap. His amaebi sashimi was firmer and sweeter than any I've had elsewhere. Shima-Aji was excellent, as well as anago. Uni had a wickedly good and crisp flavor. Actually, everything was superb. lol

                            Friendly chef, but does not speak much English. Might be omakase only at the bar because the only menu we were given was the sake menu (Manjyu Kubota - $27).

                            I disagree on Wasabi, though. I've only been there twice. The first time was several years ago and I was overwhelmed (or is it underwhelmed?) by all the ponzu sauce on every other dish. The second time I went back was about a month ago and I felt the overall quality of the sushi was just not on par with some of the better sushi bars. His signature blue crab hand roll had a big tear in the middle, yet he served it to me anyway. With every bite I took, a big mess squirted out of the hole. Also, the waitress adamantly refused to let me keep my oshibori hot towel saying something to the effect of "it's hard to remove soy sauce stain." WTH? Sorry, I can't put up with this kind of bad service from a place that serves sushi that is barely above mediocre. Oh, and we were also seated at the table closest to the door next to the tiny waiting area. We were literally inches away from another couple who was waiting for a table and they were facing directly at us. It was so awkward, I wanted to offer to share our meal with them.

                            1. re: Tkn
                              modernist Mar 4, 2008 12:47 PM

                              kasen... hands down...

                              1. re: modernist
                                w
                                werewolf Jul 20, 2008 09:50 AM

                                Is Kasen still good then? When I was out here (visiting from Arizona) three years ago I went there three times and thought the place was fantastic - super-fresh fish and exotoc ingredients (abalone) and real wasbai on my chirashi! But then I went back two years ago, it was empty except for me, the sushi chef appeared to be fighting with the waitress, and the chirashi was totally mediocre, so I never went back. Was that some sort of off day or what? I'm out here again right now (PS Pho 79 on Hazard rules for Viet food!)

                                1. re: werewolf
                                  Das Ubergeek Jul 20, 2008 08:50 PM

                                  Pho Thanh Lich, cattycorner to Pho 79, is even better.

                                  1. re: Das Ubergeek
                                    w
                                    werewolf Jul 20, 2008 10:16 PM

                                    DU - Isn't that the place that advertises sirloin steak pho? If so, i tried it once but didn't care for it.

                                    1. re: werewolf
                                      Das Ubergeek Jul 21, 2008 03:47 PM

                                      Prime beef pho... I love it.

                                      1. re: Das Ubergeek
                                        w
                                        werewolf Jul 23, 2008 04:03 PM

                                        I may try Pho Thanh again, DU. The brisket at Pho 79 wasn't good yesterday, nor was the broth up to their usual standards. Must have been an off day. What's your favorite at P.T.?

                                        1. re: werewolf
                                          Das Ubergeek Jul 23, 2008 06:27 PM

                                          Whatever the special ($6.50, which seems SO expensive) pho tai is -- I forget if it's called "prime beef" or whatever, but that's the one.

                                          1. re: Das Ubergeek
                                            w
                                            werewolf Jul 27, 2008 08:57 PM

                                            I tried it again today, DU, but, sorry, I still say Pho 79 rules!

                                  2. re: werewolf
                                    t
                                    Tkn Jul 21, 2008 05:19 PM

                                    Kasen is currently my fave in OC. Haven't been disappointed yet. *crosses fingers* I like the traditional environment and the attentive waitresses.

                                    Shibucho is an old stand-by. Quality is never subpar, but variety is lacking. You won't even find live oysters here.

                                    Wasabi in Tustin is a no-go for me. At those prices, he's competing with the big boys, and frankly, his sushi just doesn't cut it (no pun intended).

                                    Maki Zushi's main draw is their exotic selection that you won't find anywhere else. Unfortunately, I've been less and less impressed with the quality of their sushi the last few times I've eaten there.

                                    Wasa at the Bluffs is not really worth mentioning. Not even their "treasures" were any good, unless you happen to like your sushi with cream sauce.

                                    That's pretty much my personal run-down of OC Sushi. I've been to all those place at least 3 times and have ordered Omakase at the bar--except for Wasa.

                            2. j
                              josephnl Mar 3, 2008 02:33 PM

                              Does anyone know anything about Wasa Sushi (in both Newport and Tustin) or Bluefin by Abe in Newport Coast? I've heard good things about both, but I've been to neither. What do you all think?

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: josephnl
                                v
                                vonger44 Mar 3, 2008 08:14 PM

                                For excellent traditional style sushi at great prices, I like Shibucho in Costa Mesa. Btw, their sushi platter to go is a crazy value.
                                For more of a mainstream sushi place, I like Sushi Island in Newport Beach which offers generous pieces of fresh fish at great prices.
                                My other 2 faves are Sushi Wasabi and Maki Zushi as of late. Both can get pricey if you enjoy a well rounded omakase in addition to good sake.

                                1. re: josephnl
                                  s
                                  sweetpcooks Mar 4, 2008 04:38 PM

                                  its been about 6 months, but Wasa at Tustin Marketplace was really good. they invented rolls for us so I have no idea what we ate, but it was darn good. and I still think about their Negimayaki...yum.

                                  1. re: josephnl
                                    j
                                    josephnl Mar 6, 2008 01:06 PM

                                    I'm replying to my own post. I tried Bluefin by Abe in Newport Coast last evening and it was absolutely terrific...certainly the best sushi I have had in OC...but very pricey. See my other post re Bluefin.

                                    1. re: josephnl
                                      georgempavlov Jan 13, 2009 11:28 AM

                                      Bluefin can be remarkable - though expensive - but it is the diametric opposite of a place like Shibucho - fancier, more 'fusion,' and I've heard it can be inconsistent, epsecially when Abe is off premises.

                                    2. SauceSupreme Mar 3, 2008 09:25 PM

                                      I've been to both Shibucho and Sushi Wasabi and enjoyed them both, especially at lunch when the entire omakase will cost ~$30.

                                      1. l
                                        lawdog262 Mar 5, 2008 08:54 AM

                                        Its not "closest to Irvine" but Koi on PCH in Seal Beach is fantastic. Since first going there a few years ago, I have not gone to or missed many of the places named in this thread (Ango-Tai; Gen-kai, ect.). And best or worst yet, I haven't even felt like exploring for other sushi bars.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: lawdog262
                                          j
                                          justagthing Mar 5, 2008 10:16 PM

                                          yes, Koi is wonderful and often has fish that I don't find at other sushi bars.

                                        2. j
                                          Jerome Mar 6, 2008 02:42 PM

                                          i'm not the kind that likes invented rolls and i will say for the record that i drive down from los angeles to go to shibucho in costa mesa a few times a year. i remember shibutani from his work at the beverly and alameda locations and am thrilled that he's back in southern california.

                                          so shibucho on 19th st in costa mesa.

                                          if you want spicy anything rolls, fried things, go elsewhere.

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: Jerome
                                            j
                                            Jason_Coulston Mar 6, 2008 03:05 PM

                                            I can't tell you how many serious foodies, chefs, and industry people have told me, nay begged me, to check out the newly opened Hamamori at South Coast Plaza. The general word is to bring your wallet and to not worry about the price, because it's going to be expensive . . . but who cares? I've got to get in asap.

                                            R. Jason Coulston

                                            1. re: Jerome
                                              kelvlam Nov 4, 2008 03:14 PM

                                              Address for the Costa Mesa branch.

                                              and cross reference to the other thread also
                                              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/59865

                                              -----
                                              Sushi Shibucho
                                              590 W 19th St, Costa Mesa, CA 92627

                                              1. re: kelvlam
                                                cgfan Apr 21, 2009 05:50 PM

                                                FYI for clarification purposes only there is only one "real" Sushi Shibucho, which is the one in Costa Mesa operated by Shibutani-san and his son.

                                                He used to run the same named shop in LA before he sold and moved back to Japan to train his son. They are distinctly separate operations running under the same name...

                                            2. cottonswab Mar 13, 2008 06:03 PM

                                              my favorite sushi place in irvine is taiko (on jeffrey and walnut). but the bad thing about that place is the wait is incredibly long. people start lining up long before it opens. and its right next to yogurtland too so it gets pretty crowded there.

                                              1. c
                                                cmeronk Apr 5, 2008 11:04 PM

                                                I think "reasonably priced" and "really good" are mutually exclusive when it comes to sushi, at least in Orange County...

                                                1. k
                                                  kolachman Jan 7, 2009 10:57 AM

                                                  We are in from the East Coast visiting and based upon recs we first went to Shibucho-they had been closed for vacation, so last night was their first night back-the fish was really high quality and fresh since they just received it and we were not the least bit disappointed, except that they had no tako. We plan on trying the other suggestiongs (i.e., Maki and Kasen) and will report back on them. Thanks chowhounders!

                                                  3 Replies
                                                  1. re: kolachman
                                                    k
                                                    kevin Jan 7, 2009 09:32 PM

                                                    I actually like Wasa way back when the treasures were pretty good, and since i went a bunch of times back in the day, i had a bunch of other oddities that the newport beach crowd doesn't usually try or are considerably squeamish about.

                                                    1. re: kolachman
                                                      j
                                                      josephnl Jan 8, 2009 06:34 PM

                                                      If you truly want the best sushi in Orange County and are willing to pay the price (it's not cheap!), then Bluefin in Crystal Cove, Newport Beach is without a question the finest. There are many other good sushi places in OC, but no sushi chef has the chops of Abe, the Nobu protege, who owns Bluefin.

                                                      1. re: josephnl
                                                        w
                                                        werewolf Jan 12, 2009 09:53 PM

                                                        Bluefin doesn't sound that great according to these reviews:

                                                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/548842

                                                    2. k
                                                      kolachman Jan 14, 2009 08:46 AM

                                                      Thanks for the other recs-we only got to try Kasen in addition to the previous Shibucho post I made-we were actually filling in the other meals with Ramen and Yakitori-type restaurants, but that is another posting. Shibucho was by far the better of the two-their Toro was no less than a 10 and melted like butter. However, as in previous posts, they were lacking in variety-this did not dampen my experience whatsoever.

                                                      Kasen was really good-their Salmon was the best I have ever had, their Toro was good, but not the experience of Shibucho. Their Uni was also top notch. Thanks again!

                                                      17 Replies
                                                      1. re: kolachman
                                                        k
                                                        kevin Jan 14, 2009 08:57 AM

                                                        i haven't been to shibucho in costa mesa for a couple years now, how much is the price per person.

                                                        1. re: kevin
                                                          k
                                                          kolachman Jan 14, 2009 09:04 AM

                                                          We had a group of three and were slamming the Toro like it was candy-I actually lost count of how many orders we had. I think that we walked out of there for about $150 with tax and tip, which, by our NYC standards is pretty good.

                                                          1. re: kolachman
                                                            k
                                                            kevin Jan 14, 2009 09:09 AM

                                                            150 per person, or for the three of you.

                                                            because back in the day at shibucho if you a standard omakase (without oodles of toro, of course) it was about 50 to 60 per person, not including alcohol of course.

                                                            1. re: kevin
                                                              k
                                                              kolachman Jan 14, 2009 09:32 AM

                                                              sorry-i am multitasking! ummm-$150 for the three of us so $50/pp-without drinks. I was full-but not stuffed. I could have easily done more, but my wife and our friend were beyond full and I did not want to make a pig of myself that night. Loved that place and easily would have spent $100/pp.

                                                              1. re: kolachman
                                                                k
                                                                kevin Jan 14, 2009 10:11 AM

                                                                i'll have to check it out, hopefully they remember me. i used to be an on and off regular for some time, when living in the area.

                                                                1. re: kevin
                                                                  k
                                                                  kolachman Jan 14, 2009 04:59 PM

                                                                  Our friend Leslie speak Japanese, so that was a nice addition. I also had a nice conversation with the Owner and he was very gracious. I hope your experience is as good as ours was. Please report back if you get a chance. We will be heading back to Laguna Beach in April and July. Thanks.

                                                                2. re: kolachman
                                                                  m
                                                                  mrhooks Jan 14, 2009 07:27 PM

                                                                  Though Shibucho will never have the variety of someplace like Zo, some days they have more stuff than others. Every couple of trips or so, I usually end up getting something there that I've never gotten there before - tai and hirame wrapped in kombu, engawa, and sayori are some of the more recent ones (I know they aren't that uncommon in other places).

                                                                  I begged Naga-san to try and get kama toro - if he gets it, all he has to do is call me and I will go there that night to eat it - but he said the tuna are too small this time of year for good kama toro. I also asked about tobiuo, but unfortunately they don't know how to prepare it.

                                                                  1. re: mrhooks
                                                                    k
                                                                    kevin Jan 15, 2009 09:33 AM

                                                                    what's kama toro and what' tobiou? thanks.

                                                                    1. re: kevin
                                                                      m
                                                                      mrhooks Jan 15, 2009 06:37 PM

                                                                      Kama toro is toro from the collar of the tuna, rather than the belly. It's as fatty as o-toro, but it gets more blood flow because of its proximity to the gills. It looks like raw steak and the flavor is incredible.

                                                                      Tobiuo is flying fish.

                                                                3. re: kevin
                                                                  Delucacheesemonger Feb 16, 2009 09:18 AM

                                                                  Was at Costa Mesa Shibucho on Sunday night for omakase for two. Went because of this board. Wound up sitting next to friend of chef. We got whatever he got and there were many things that were new for me. Wonderful experience, ate to excess and tab without liquor, tax, tip for two was under $100 We were both very full and happy.

                                                                  1. re: Delucacheesemonger
                                                                    k
                                                                    kolachman Feb 16, 2009 04:34 PM

                                                                    I'm glad you had a good experience. We are dying to get back to SoCal in April for good sushi at reasonable prices. Here in NYC area we are talking $100-$200/pp.

                                                                    1. re: kolachman
                                                                      j
                                                                      josephnl Feb 16, 2009 07:10 PM

                                                                      Although not cheap, you cannot get better sushi in OC than you can get at Bluefin in Crystal Cove, Newport Beach. It will run about $100 pp for a top experience with tip and drinks, but you will not be disappointed. You can get decent sushi in OC for less, but if you want the best, Bluefin is worth it.

                                                                      1. re: josephnl
                                                                        Das Ubergeek Feb 18, 2009 09:32 AM

                                                                        I think we understand now that you had the worst sushi of your life at Maki -- you've now put it five times in this thread alone. I don't understand what's going on, since the times I've been I've had really excellent sushi -- but I also haven't been in the last three months (it's hard to afford it these days) so maybe it did do a big downhill slide. As soon as I get past some big expenses I'll try it out again.

                                                                        1. re: Das Ubergeek
                                                                          j
                                                                          josephnl Feb 18, 2009 02:25 PM

                                                                          Sorry if I offended you, I didn't mean to. I was just very surprised, actually shocked, because I had heard such good thing about M-Z from people such as yourself who I trust, so have just been wondering about other more recent visits from CHs. I would really like to hear your opinion when you do revisit. bbcoach has also posted above a very negative comment about M-Z

                                                                          1. re: josephnl
                                                                            Das Ubergeek Feb 18, 2009 03:56 PM

                                                                            No offense at all -- just surprised, because normally you're not so adamant about things. Honestly, it worries me -- but I don't see myself being able to get back for another few months unless things change.

                                                                            1. re: Das Ubergeek
                                                                              j
                                                                              josephnl Feb 18, 2009 07:51 PM

                                                                              I know, that maybe this is the 6th time I am saying it, but it was so bad as to be shocking. And since I do very much respect your opinion, as well as others on this site, I was at a loss for words. I do obviously have my opinions, but really, I do try to be reasonably objective.

                                                                    2. re: Delucacheesemonger
                                                                      f
                                                                      frank828 Feb 18, 2009 10:30 AM

                                                                      awesome

                                                                      did you get to try his anago?

                                                            2. kelvlam Feb 17, 2009 06:43 PM

                                                              there's a list of recent top 10 OC sushi place, what's your take on it? :-)

                                                              http://ocfoodblogs.blogspot.com/2009/...

                                                              3 Replies
                                                              1. re: kelvlam
                                                                k
                                                                kdoc Feb 19, 2009 08:42 AM

                                                                Ah yes, the annual state of sushi discussion in orange county. I actually think the list by julian hsu is pretty good. I guess I'll just chime in with my thoughts on the various places that have been discussed here...

                                                                Wasabi- my definite go to place. Everytime I start to stray away from it, I always come back. Yes, it is a pretty set menu, and he does have a slightly heavy hand with the sauce. The precut sushi may be offensive to some people's sensibilities. But the variety is decent, the fish reliably fresh, and where else are you getting Kubota Manju for $80?

                                                                Bluefin- I really like it taken as a whole, when I want a few cooked dishes in my meal. The sushi is above average, though I've a had some poorly cut pieces there. Much more "on" when Abe himself is there.

                                                                Sushi Maki- as everyone has mentioned, the sushi at the bar in front of Sakamoto is the only place to eat at here. Will come out with some exotic, fresh items, and the itamae is very personable. The one major caveat / problem I've had with this place is that the omakase pricing can be seemingly arbitrary- I've been charged for a "premium hand roll" which had some toro, hamachi, etc in it- $38! I've had bills there that are 150 just for the sushi/sashimi, and at those price points, I have some issues with the quality/value ratio.

                                                                Shibucho- quality/selection of the fish is sometimes uneven, but it is great fun to watch his knifework at the bar. Prices have remained relatively (and surprisingly) low especially in comparison to its competitors.

                                                                Angotei- tiny cramped location, waits can be long, fish is above average, but not worth the other negatives.

                                                                Hamamori- pretty, if sterile room. FIsh is good, nice combination with cooked dishes, like Bluefin. Overpriced however, thus Bluefin is preferred. And for whatever reason, everyone always seems a little unhappy here.

                                                                1. re: kdoc
                                                                  c
                                                                  cdmedici Feb 19, 2009 10:41 AM

                                                                  Angotei was my place to go for many years, but I have stopped going ever since they sold it to a new owner. Once Goro-san was gone so was I.

                                                                  Has anyone noticed a slip in quality?

                                                                  1. re: cdmedici
                                                                    j
                                                                    JStandard May 31, 2009 08:53 PM

                                                                    Having been to both pre- and post- sold Ango Tei several times, I haven't noticed a difference in quality of fish or quality of service from sushi chefs. I've had Goro-san before and his delivery was great, the last time I went, 2 months ago, I had a new lady chef and she was excellent as well.

                                                                    The service from the wait staff, unfortunately, hasn't changed either. If I can't get seated at the bar I simply won't go.

                                                              2. A5 KOBE Feb 17, 2009 09:03 PM

                                                                Hamamori has excellent Uni and probably the freshest fish in OC.

                                                                Spicy Tuna Pizza is delicious and the Sushi is served at perfect temperature.

                                                                And all Sushi Chefs are from japan.

                                                                 
                                                                 
                                                                1. martiniman Mar 14, 2009 02:36 PM

                                                                  Yeah, I'm looking for some good places in the OC too, since I'm hanging out there more often these days. I've been to Maki Zushi once, but I have to say the experience was so bad, that I'm not going there again. Food was ok, but the customer service was horrible.

                                                                  Anybody been to Restaurant Abe?

                                                                  6 Replies
                                                                  1. re: martiniman
                                                                    j
                                                                    josephnl Mar 14, 2009 03:07 PM

                                                                    I believe that Restaurant Abe is closed. This was at one time Takahashi Abe's only restaurant, and it was wonderful at that time. Abe now is the owner of Bluefin Restaurant in Crystal Cove, Newport Beach. This is a wonderful sushi restaurant and probably the best in this part of Orange County. It's expensive, but I think it's worth the price. If Abe is working (he's there most evenings, but I think he has a second restaurant further south), try to sit in front of him, and let him do his thing...you will not be disappointed.

                                                                    I agree with you re Maki Zushi, and I too will not return.

                                                                    -----
                                                                    Bluefin
                                                                    7952 E Pacific Coast Hwy, Newport Beach, CA 92660

                                                                    1. re: josephnl
                                                                      martiniman Mar 16, 2009 06:25 PM

                                                                      I've been to Bluefin a few times, it's good. But sometimes it's too crowded to get seated. I thought somebody bought Restaurant Abe? I was asking to see if anybody went there to see if the new owners are doing an ok job.

                                                                      http://www.abesushi.com/

                                                                      1. re: martiniman
                                                                        l
                                                                        lawdog262 Mar 17, 2009 01:58 AM

                                                                        My wife and I go have gone to Koi in Seal Beach about once a month for the past 4 or 5 years (excepting nine months here or there), and it supplanted Ango-Tei on our first visit. We haven't wanted to go anywhere else since, so I can't make a comparison to rests. that did make the list. Its always been great, good variety and great quality. highly recommend it.

                                                                      2. re: josephnl
                                                                        OCAnn Mar 17, 2009 08:26 AM

                                                                        His other south county restaurant is Sea Smoke in San Clemente.

                                                                        -----
                                                                        Sea Smoke
                                                                        San Clemente, CA, San Clemente, CA

                                                                        1. re: OCAnn
                                                                          martiniman Mar 17, 2009 10:44 PM

                                                                          I've read exilekiss' review, and it wasn't too flattering. Has the poor service issues been resolved?

                                                                          1. re: martiniman
                                                                            OCAnn Mar 17, 2009 11:32 PM

                                                                            I haven't been, so I can't report...sorry

                                                                    2. l
                                                                      Luvz2Eat May 7, 2009 02:43 PM

                                                                      SAGAMI in Irvine is truly amazing, and the owners are the nicest people you will meet.

                                                                      13 Replies
                                                                      1. re: Luvz2Eat
                                                                        j
                                                                        josephnl May 7, 2009 09:08 PM

                                                                        Where is Sagami? Never heard of it...is it new? What about it did you especially like?

                                                                        1. re: josephnl
                                                                          l
                                                                          Luvz2Eat May 21, 2009 03:34 PM

                                                                          Its amazing, I have lived in Irvine, Santa Barbara, and San Francisco, and nothing compares to Sagami. I am not I will admit one of those people who eat sushi every day, but I do eat it once a week, and love Sagami. I love their attitude,the freshness of the fish, the care they take into making the rolls to the clients order. My mother loves the spicy tuna bowl, but with brown rice, extra sauce, and only a certain amount of ginger, and they do it without any complaint. They also have amazing lunchtime specials that really allow us to eat a lot for a good price. I would highly recommend them, my family and extended family in Irvine, Tustin, and Newport Beach frequent this place and love it!

                                                                          1. re: Luvz2Eat
                                                                            j
                                                                            josephnl May 21, 2009 03:38 PM

                                                                            Where is Sagami???

                                                                            1. re: josephnl
                                                                              j
                                                                              JStandard May 31, 2009 08:56 PM

                                                                              It's located in Google, California.

                                                                              1. re: JStandard
                                                                                j
                                                                                josephnl May 31, 2009 09:51 PM

                                                                                Seriously, where is Sagami?

                                                                                1. re: josephnl
                                                                                  Das Ubergeek Jun 1, 2009 08:38 AM

                                                                                  http://www.lmgtfy.com/?q=sagami+irvine

                                                                                  1. re: Das Ubergeek
                                                                                    OCAnn Jun 1, 2009 08:48 AM

                                                                                    LOL!

                                                                                    1. re: OCAnn
                                                                                      j
                                                                                      josephnl Jun 1, 2009 11:35 AM

                                                                                      Please don't post so cryptically! I had no idea where in California Sagami is located. The reply of "Google, CA" did not help at all! Thank you Das for clarifying that one. Have you been there and what do you think? And...what are you trying to say OCAnn by LOL, which I interpret to mean "lots of luck"?

                                                                                      1. re: josephnl
                                                                                        Das Ubergeek Jun 1, 2009 11:43 AM

                                                                                        LOL = laughing out loud

                                                                                        The very first post of this sub-thread (by Luvz2Eat on 5/7/2009 at 14:43 PDT) said it was in Irvine. I have not been, though.

                                                                                        1. re: josephnl
                                                                                          OCAnn Jun 1, 2009 11:47 AM

                                                                                          Since Luvz said it was in Irvine, the "Google" reply meant for you to Google it (which is what most of us would have done). Das Googled it for you via LMGTFY.com (Let Me Google That For You)...and I thought that was funny (LOL = Laugh Out Loud).

                                                                                          I love LMGTFY.com; I'm starting to use it myself quite a bit....

                                                                                          1. re: josephnl
                                                                                            cgfan Jun 1, 2009 11:49 AM

                                                                                            I guess one might say that LOL is also located in Google, California...

                                                                                            ...or alternately, http://lmgtfy.com/?q=lol

                                                                                            1. re: cgfan
                                                                                              OCAnn Jun 1, 2009 11:50 AM

                                                                                              BAHAHAHAHA!!!

                                                                                  2. re: josephnl
                                                                                    OCAnn Jun 1, 2009 12:11 PM

                                                                                    BTW, ExileKiss reviewed it last year: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/526473 -- Sagami - Lunchtime Izakaya in Irvine?! [Review] w/ Pics .

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