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Downtown San Diego Sushi

Saabiar Jun 16, 2008 01:46 PM

any good sushi near gaslamp? I know of sushi deli but wondering if there are others?


  1. phee Jun 16, 2008 11:42 PM

    Taka is good but can be pricey. For quality at a good price, try Kiyo's on F between 4th and 5th. Not much on ambiance, but it's been around longer than any sushi place I know of.

    1 Reply
    1. re: phee
      geekyfoodie Jun 18, 2008 10:25 AM

      OP, if you go to Kiyo's, sit at the bar and stick to sushi. Some in our party wanted cooked dishes and the prices were really high for small portions. My chirashi was lovely, but the fish weren't the freshest. Looking at Kiyo-san's familiarity with the customers at the bar, I suspected the good stuff is served when you're at the bar and not a table.


    2. d
      DougOLis Jun 16, 2008 05:35 PM

      Sadly like most other styles of restaurant, the best sushi isn't downtown. There is a Nobu in the Hard Rock and that may be your best option.

      5 Replies
      1. re: DougOLis
        cgfan Jun 16, 2008 07:15 PM

        Actually Nobu's a great place to throw away your money for frozen fish. Rather go to where their sushi chef goes to - Kaito Sushi in Encinitas.

        It's a choice between extravagent conspicuous consumption vs. substance and tradition, dressed-up food and marketing vs. the pure and honest pleasure of well-sourced ingredients served humbly.

        1. re: cgfan
          cgfan Jun 16, 2008 09:18 PM

          ***I wanted to add this to my post above, but it came too late after my original post to edit in:

          I haven't been to any of the sushi bars in downtown but relatives visiting from Japan has gone to, and enjoyed, Taka Sushi while they were staying in the Gaslamp. It happens to be on my short list of sushi bars to try in the area.

          1. re: cgfan
            DougOLis Jun 17, 2008 08:47 AM

            Well, I'd recommend Kaito or Ota but neither of those are near the Gaslamp so that doesn't help out too much on this post.

            1. re: cgfan
              DougOLis Jun 17, 2008 08:49 AM

              Also, isn't all fish for sushi frozen? If I'm correct, it has to be flash frozen to be considered sushi grade and edible for raw consumption in the United States.

              1. re: DougOLis
                cgfan Jun 17, 2008 10:43 AM

                Yes, which is why I (tentatively) suggested Taka Sushi, having not dined there myself.

                There are some ingredients that *have* to be frozen for health or other reasons, but by no means all. Salmon is the most common example in the U.S. due to its life cycle involving a period of life in fresh water. But salmon is not used as a sushi neta in Japan. Kujira, or whale, I believe, is traditionally frozen right up until it is sliced for service. Some neta, I believe, are also frozen sometimes to aid in their thin slicing, but it wouldn't surprise me that even in this latter case it is considered a crutch to justify poor knife skills.

                In Japan the famous Tsukiji tuna auction is not just a single auction for tuna, but two - there is a fresh auction, in addition to a frozen auction. In fact right in the Tsukiji complex is a huge warehouse just full of frozen tuna. I forget the total amount of tuna kept there, but it is immense.

                I do believe that many tuna fleets that operate far from Japan flash freeze on board before it is shipped to Tsukiji. But tuna caught in Japanese waters would not be frozen.

                So yes, there are some neta that will have been frozen depending on the neta itself and where it was caught. But the conscientious chef would never use, or use only as a last resort, frozen tane. But it certainly is not consistent with the aesthetic of sushi to lean on the false convenience of freezing. And in particular in the U.S. it certainly is used as part of a business strategy to stretch out ingredients and lower costs, to the detriment of ingredient quality.

                In many respects the customer is also at fault here. Until the sushi dining public can be weaned off of requesting out of season fish and switch to omakase courses, most shops would feel the subtle pressure of having a "top 10" list of tane in the case all year round. This is why I celebrate the existence of the brave few shops that resists this pressure, and is not afraid to not stock certain items when the conditions do not warrant its use. (Last year Kaito Sushi almost completely eliminated the use of uni because of the poor state of the kelp beds resulting in poor quality. Their customers did not miss out in the least, as we always dined on only the best that the ocean had to offer.)

          2. j
            jessicah Jun 16, 2008 02:58 PM

            Little Hawaii on 9th, across from the library. Small place with one chef (who's the owner and he's super nice). They close at 7:30 but their rolls are pretty good and good quality. I love their spicy tuna roll. A lot better than Sushi Deli in my opinion.

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