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Feb 17, 2008 07:41 PM

Good sushi - orange county?

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

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  1. 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. 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: Das Ubergeek

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

          1. re: ausfrench

            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

            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

              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 I wrong?

              1. re: josephnl

                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

                  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. I said in my earlier post, the spicy tuny was a 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

                    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

                  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

                    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

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

                  1. re: bbcoach

                    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

                      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

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

                4. re: FoodieKat

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


                  1. re: FoodieKat

                    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

                      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

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

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