good sushi in Orange County?
- Home Skillet Sep 12, 2003 12:57 AM
Can anyone recommend a good place? South Orange County preferred but anywhere in OC is fine.
I was sure I'd find Sushi Wasabi - Tustin in one of the previous posts. It is the only omakase style sushi bar (they serve only sushi) I know of in Orange County, and if you are truly looking for an unforgettable and whole (i.e., NOT just salmon, tuna & cal roll) sushi experience in a most unlikely place, (old Tustin strip mall next to a 7-Eleven, I think), you MUST try this place!
The chef/proprietor makes an early morning trip up to the LA fish markets and picks up what he thinks are the choicest items for the day - you just sit at the bar and let him present you with some of the sweetest scallops, buttery yellowtail, (actually) fresh ikura (which is to die for - this from someone who does not at all enjoy the regular ikura), sweet, nutty uni, supremely fresh monkfish liver, over perfectly cooked, perfectly seasoned, just cooled sushi rice that stays together just long enough for you to get the sushi in your mouth (i.e., NOT a bunch of cold, overly sweet and sour rice packed into a paperweight). I could go on... Oh! and the perfectly pickled ginger - NOT pink - and REAL wasabi - NOT green...
Be prepared to eat way too much, not even feel it because the selections are so delicate and melt-in-your mouth, and get a whopping bill. But SOOO worth it! Get thee to the Wasabi!!!
14460 Newport Ave
Suite F, Tustin, CA 92780
Also noted that Taiko was mentioned a couple of times. Taiko is pretty good, but there's an oft overlooked sushi place in Irvine named GORO (Alton and Culver in the Albertson's shopping center) that has never disappointed - foodwise, or costwise. Actually, I eat there fairly often, but I always expect the bill to be more. You will get a little more atmosphere at Taiko, I guess, but I think the predominantly Japanese customers at Goro speak for it much the way the predominantly Chinese customers do for Sam Woo.
3831 Alton Parkway, Ste C
Irvine, CA 92606
I like Maizuru in Irvine (Alton and Jeffrey, in Gelson's plaza). It is probably not as swanky as Abe, but it is certainly better and less crowded than Taiko (which is down the street on Walnut and Jeffrey) or Goro Sushi.
I always order their rolls (spider, caterpillar, spicy tuna)...
Their combination plates are really good as well. Cooked dishes like crispy oysters, baked scallops and teriyaki steak comes in a big plate with a green salad dressed in ponzu, a bowl of rice, and miso soup...costs about 12 bucks or so.
Prices are reasonable...since this is more of a neighborhood eatery.
Maizuru Japanese Restaurant
5623 Alton Pkwy, Irvine, CA 92618
Phone: (949) 551-6802
The absolute BEST sushi in OC hands down is Taiko Restaurant in Irvine!! .. They do not take reservations and the wait is sometimes hours, so go for lunch or go in early for dinner (like 5pm) to beat the crowds .. Their sushi is very fresh and well-prepared .. Tempura platter is also awesome .. I would skip filling up on the teriyaki type entrees unless you really enjoy that type of thing
14775 Jeffrey Rd Ste K
Irvine, CA 92618-0403
Phone: (949) 559-7190
re: OC Mutt
Taiko has been in business over 25 yrs, one of the first Sushi bars in Irvine.
Has a Line a Mile long EVERYDAY before it opens, serves huge portions of very fresh fish at a low price? Over-rated Calif Style, hardly?
Our favorites are:
Sushi Wasabi - traditional Omakase
Kasen- Fountain Valley
Wasa- Fusion Sushi
Abe- Matsuhisa Style
re: OC Mutt
I totally agree with you about highly over rated Taiko is. I think it's just a nice place to go if you have kids. The quality of the sushi is really bad. Their lunch combinations are worse.. I remember the rock hard tempura I had there. I am usually dragged there by co workers. It's a place to take people that like "Americanized Sushi" meaning california rolls. I really like Sushi Wasabi. Their omakase there was very memorable. Will run you about 100 pp... or you can order a la carte.
re: OC Mutt
I agree that Taiko is highly over rated. A place a would take a person who is having sushi for the first time. The quality is just alright and definitely not worth the long wait.
I prefer Sushi Wasabi for the freshness and the variety. Also recommend the omakase at Sushi Murasaki in Costa mesa. It was a mix of new age sushi and the traditional nigiri sushi. To a real treat I'd go to Sushi Murasaki.
I am a fan of Taiko as well, because they are very generous with their fish. You get large pieces of quality fish for your money, and they obviously turn their inventory quickly (judging by the crowd x volume of fish served), which insures freshness.
However, Taiko only keeps the usual array of fish. It seems they never have anything out of the ordinary. For this, I recommend Gesshin in Westminster, which is in the Pavilion mall on Beach Blvd. just south of the 405. They cater to a Japanese clientele, but anyone who continues to order sophisticated sushi will be offered what's in the side fridge, where they keep the extra-prime fish.
I really like Fountain Valley's Shimura. They have a live tank in the back, and will have live shrimp and sculpin when they can get it. If you order live sculpin, they'll make a show of dispatching it in front of you. They will also offer to make a miso soup with the head. This is the best miso soup ever, so definitely accept the offer if you're not put off by half a fish head staring back at you. Shimura's prices are low for the quality you're getting. Gesshin is very good, but a little pricy, relatively speaking.
Oami is still very good (at least I think so). It gets very little mention on this board but is usually quite busy and getting a seat at the sushi bar can take a while. Not upper-upper tier, but good and fresh.
I've recently found a very small place, in Laguna Niguel, called Jizake (Crown Valley and Niguel Rd). I've been told the owner/chef was a partner (or at least a chef) at Gen Kai in Dana Point. Gen Kai is very popular and Jizake is becoming moreso as time goes on.