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The Best Sushi (omakase) in OC

  • r

You know a restaurant is pretty good when you go to the same place for lunch and dinner w/friends in the same day. I was meeting a fellow CH today for lunch who had to cancel because of the W word (work), we went anyway. Sushi Wasabi in Tustin is the only authentic SB in OC, small pieces, small rice, perfect slices, very expensive(cheap compared to Ginza) and very worth it! NO CALIF ROLLS!

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  1. Its FAR from the ONLY authentic sushi bar in Orange County

    4 Replies
    1. re: Diamond dog

      This leads me to my question to Russkar. You may not care for Sushi Shibucho, and that's your right of course, but why do you say it's inauthentic?
      If it's because he'll make a california roll, well, I'd only say that for years and years he wouldn't carry unagi, only anago because after all, it's a sushi bar. (Unagi for the less initiated is the freshwater eel. anago is ocean eel [Chinese distinction also exists, manyu and shanyu in Mandarin]).

      1. re: Jerome

        Considering I've been to Shibucho several times and always have his Omakase I can definitely say it's not as authentic(Tokyo Style) like Sushi Wasabi. The differences are Wasabi's fish is far superior(freshness)and TYPE of CUT(no cartilage),very small bite size pieces, very little rice which is not the case at Shibicho but I still enjoy going there too, Shige is a great guy. My all time favorite is still Ginza Sushi Ko (BH) which is now in NY.

        1. re: russkar

          Russkar, I don't like Shige. But he bought Shibu-ya san's Shibucho some years ago. And he introduced the foiegras caviar burgundy wine italian dessert thing.

          I'm referring the shibucho that Shibutani/Shibuya-san opened in Costa Mesa which has no connection other than historical with the SHibucho on Beverly. It's possible that it's not as good as the one you're touting. But have you been to that one?

          It's on 19th st in Costa Mesa. His battera is great (ok that's osaka style but it's still good).

          1. re: Jerome

            I'm refering to the Costa Mesa one also. I meant to say I like Shibutani not Shige.

    2. Sushi Shibucho is excellent. Simple, traditional, and fish as good or better than just about anywhere. BTW, it is actually a good value, the only place I have found in LA or OC where I can indulge in beautiful toro and otoro without breaking the bank. 519 w. 19th st. costa mesa.

      1. never been to Wasabi, but I'm confident that Shibucho and Kasen (whose chef was trained by Shibucho) would be worthy challengers to the title Best Omakase in the OC.

        5 Replies
        1. re: ghotihed

          Been to both(shibicho several times), not even close. Try SW and you'll see.

          1. re: russkar

            has Sushi wasabe gotten better in the past year, because in the past few times i went it was not as good as nozawa, and it's the same style of sushi. also, the service was not good.

            1. re: kevin

              Nozawa is still the best(in LA) but Wasabi is in OC which is a lot closer for some of us.

            2. re: russkar

              If that's the case, then I'm looking forward to trying it! what have you particularly liked from SW omakase?

              1. re: ghotihed

                EVERYTHING! The typical lunch or dinner starts with, Albacore Sashimi, Big Eye Ahi Sushi, Hamachi Sushi, Red Snapper, Texas Blue Crab hand roll, Salmon w/seaweed on top, Japanese Scallop Sushi,Incredible Toro, Kuyomoto Oysters with Yuzu Ponzu, then your on your own!

          2. Russ, how much was it per person?

            1 Reply
            1. re: AndieCat

              Like I said in the Post it's expensive. Anywhere from 35- to 100- per person depending on how many courses you let him serve. Definitely try it, you won't be sorry.

            2. Now I wish I could have made it. I agree that Wasabe is the best omakase in OC. Freshest fish, small rice, and clearly authentic discipline.

              IMO, many other places start out with a core of wanting a purist sushi experience, but change course for marketing affect. Not that this is a terrible thing, just a wholly different experience. IMO, a truly authentic sushi is experience is one of those things that many folks say they want, but will balk when they actually get to it... again NOT A BAD THING, just different. My experience has been that I have taken many "HARD CORE SUSHI NUTS" who want a "real", "pure" sushi experience, but are surprised when I take them someplace that won't serve a California Roll or doesn't have a menu, or will serve "weird" stuff that they've never had... doesn't mean these folks aren't into sushi, just that most likely their sushi palate is acclimated differently.

              Personally, I'm a bit of a purist that would never call California Rolls or any other rolls of that ilk "sushi"... doesn't mean they are bad to eat, just that it doesn't fit my purist definition of sushi... by the way, there are several Japanese restaurants that are "new style" that I love, as I know does Russ... Wasa for example.

              Also, I think it is good to note that I have always had EXCELLENT service at Sushi Wasabe. I think that many times people are put off by the austerity of a traditional Japanese approach to some things. The approach to service at these "purist" type sushi bars is SIGNIFICANTLY different from the service approach at other mainstream sushi places and restaurants. Patrons are oftentimes more respectful of the sushi chef and almost "humbly" put themselves in his/her hands... I know, this may fly in the face of the "customer-centric" service culture that we may be more familiar with, and I'm certainly not making a "better/worse" judgement, just pointing out some of the subtle and not so subtle differences that may come through as detached or cold service if one is not familiar with the "terrain" of these places.

              In that vein, I have to agree that Sushi Wasabe is the best truly purist sushi place in OC. Obviously that is a highly subjective claim, but isn't that what CH is all about?

              1. I asked this in the pizza thread, which you can ignore if you'll answer it here.

                There is a place called Wasabi on Lake Forest near the Portola area. This I now guess is not the same place. Any connection?

                Is the one in Tustin Wasabi or Wasabe? And okay, where in Tustin is it?

                Thanks, just trying to find some of the very well hidden gems of inland Orange county...

                1 Reply
                1. re: JurisDog

                  Sushi Wasabe is in Tustin. Their address is:

                  14460 Newport Ave
                  Suite F
                  Tustin, CA 92780
                  714 505 3496

                  This is just off Newport Ave and the 5 Freeway. They are located in a VERY non-descript strip mall with a 7-11 and an AutoZone.

                  Hope you like it. Enjoy!

                2. r
                  Ralph Gallardo

                  My Favorites,
                  In Laguna: San Shi Go Sushi. About 2mi south of main beach on the inland side, 3rd story of the building with Olemandi's. 1100 S. PCH, Laguna. Great atmosphere, usually six chefs, good service. Chefs appreciate creative suggestions, and are very friendly.

                  In Yorba Linda: Maguroya Sushi. At Imperial and Yorba Linda Blvd. www.kaz-maguroya.com
                  18242 Imperial Hwy, Yorba Linda.
                  Small lunch and dinner sushi bar and restaurant, the owner is the principal chef, always takes extra care to please his customers. Huge following of regulars.
                  My search for a reliable establishment for my thrice a week habit is over.

                  1. I know this thread been pretty old... way way WAYYYY back 2004.

                    But like, new places such as Maki Zushi, been touted as "best" now. Any new hounder feel like chime in? :-)

                    Top Class Sushi... in Orange County(!) - Maki Zushi [Review] w/ Pics!

                    Maki Zushi
                    1641 Edinger Ave # 101, Tustin, CA

                    9 Replies
                    1. re: kelvlam

                      I found maki zushi to be completely awesome and can't wait to go back

                      1. re: kelvlam

                        Maki-Zushi is different to Shibucho (haven't been to Wasabe, can't help you there). They are both excellent. Part of Maki-Zushi's appeal, honestly, is that it looks like the kind of place that would serve a bento with greasy tempura, spicy tuna roll, a big whack of rice, salad with dressing, etc. -- you know the kind of thing I'm talking about.

                        But it's not. They have stuff like that available, and I can't say if it's any good, because I already know the sushi is excellent -- and it's serendipitous.

                        Is it "best" or "better than"? I can't say. Shibucho is different, a bit more like a temple to sushi, and the atmosphere colours it a bit, not to mention the cuts are very different.

                        So I'm perfectly happy not to have a "best"; Maki-Zushi and Shibucho can co-exist there.

                        What I really need to find, though, is a workhorse, non-top-end sushi place that isn't a temple of mayonnaise in north OC... someplace I can go when I don't have $75 for the omakase at Maki-Zushi or $100 for the ditto at Shibucho.

                        1. re: Das Ubergeek


                          I've been to Shibucho and Wasabi and agree with Russkar that Wasabi is excellent! I liked it better than Shibucho, which very good too.

                          For our go-to won't break the bank sushi outings, we like to go to Sushi Mimi at Brookhurst south of Talbert - in the same plaza as the Togo's, and just north of Applebee's. My japanese chowfiend Tatsuya (you met when we ate at Tsuruhashi) also recommends Sushi Mimi for the value, plus it's not amazingly far away.

                          1. re: kingkong5

                            Here we are in 08' and we still like Sushi Wasabi in Tustin over the other choices.
                            I still don't get the "buzz" about Maki Zushi? Been there a few times and it's good to very good but not earth shattering. LA is still the temple of Sushi.

                          2. re: Das Ubergeek

                            $100 at Shibucho but only $75 at Maki-Zushi? Wow, in my experience MZ seemed much more expensive. And omakase at Shibucho usually runs me about $65-70 if I don't order sake (that's including tax/tip).

                            1. re: mrhooks

                              i think u can do maki for $75 unless u start getting obscure stuff like live uni etc thats the only reason mine came out so expensive

                              btw they have a really cheap beer special at maki zushi...it was like $1 or $2 for a beer

                              1. re: Lau

                                You can't go to maki w/o getting the live uni. That's a crime against food.

                                1. re: ns1

                                  haha i agree...i mean i probably couldve eaten for alot cheaper anyhow b/c i was really really stuffed when i was finished

                          3. re: kelvlam

                            i second maki; thought it was excellent (i normally in NY and LA when im home, so it was great to find a place close to my parent's place)


                          4. So if I win the lottery, and pocked like $500... then I can consider
                            Start with Monday -> Maki Zushi
                            and then Wednesday -> Sushi Shibucho
                            and finally Friday conclude at Sushi Wasabi?

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

                            Sushi Wasabi
                            14460 Newport Ave, Tustin, CA 92780

                            8 Replies
                            1. re: kelvlam

                              Does Ikko and Kasen do omakase at all?
                              How about Bluefin in NPB? More of a fusion kind of food. I just read elmo's blog about it.

                              If they do, that can fill up a whole full 5 days schedule =D

                              9039 Garfield Ave, Fountain Valley, CA

                              Ikko Japanese Restaurant
                              735 Baker St Ste C, Costa Mesa, CA 92626

                              1. re: kelvlam

                                I enjoyed Kasen alot, another poster here did not.

                                That said, I'd prefer Maki over Kasen by a long shot.

                                1. re: kelvlam

                                  id avoid blue fin, ive eaten there several times and found it to be pretty mediocre compared to any of the places mentioned here and its pretty expensive (my friends at home in newport recommend it, but they're not hardcore foodie types)

                                  im curious to try kingyo sushi in newport coast, ive heard some really good things about it

                                2. re: kelvlam

                                  The best days for Shibucho are Tuesdays and Saturdays.

                                  1. re: mrhooks

                                    cuz they get the new stock for food on those day? :-o
                                    thx for the tips Mr Hooks!

                                    1. re: kelvlam

                                      Yeah, if you notice those are the days they don't serve lunch. Naga-san told me those are the fish market days.

                                  2. re: kelvlam

                                    You've won the lotto?
                                    No! You go directly to URASAWA and have the finest on Earth! Forget the other stuff.

                                    1. re: russkar

                                      hahahaha. good point. that's a -IF- I win the lotto :-p

                                  3. Best omakase has gotta be Sushi Murasaki for me!! Sushi Wasabi is good but everything has ponzu?? Everything at murasaki is sooo fresh and so yummy!! The toro charred with a blowtorch and snapper with Tomu's special oil is insane!! Where can you find a sushi restaurant that serves sayori (needlefish), engawa (halibut edge), shimaaji, raw octopus, live uni, anago, kohada, sanma, and fried mackerel and eel bones?? Need i say more?? I cant....my mouth is watering already!!