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ISO Best SUSHI IN GREATER SAN DIEGO

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  • Alex Dec 20, 2005 10:53 PM

THE GREAT SUSHI/JAPANESE RESTAURANT HUNT

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Please list favorite haunts, locations and best dishes!

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  1. Sushi Oto on Mission Bay Drive!

    3 Replies
    1. re: pbhomey

      i have been to Ota and agree - it is hands down the best - but i want to find out new places.

      1. re: alex

        I have been to Ota many times. If Ota does not prepare your meal then you might as well buy a bento box at Mitsuwa. I will refrain from commenting on price vs. quality.

        Now, if you want to experience traditional quality sushi, prepared by an engaging chef, for a very fare price, then you must try Sammy Sushi.

        If you want a special item of items just call ahead and he will deliver!

        Recently, I visited three popular sushi bars (Sammy’s included, see my post about two months ago) and I discovered Sammy.

        I am very picky! I need the chef to be able to discuss with me the day’s best items. I demand a fair price. When I find myself in the mood for Sushi I go to see Sammy-san.

        Now, if you want great kitchen items then Izakaya Sakura is the place. Wow! I have frequented Tajima, Osaka Kitchen etc., but nothing compares to Sakura for the kitchen items.

        Summary. Ota is nice but Sammy can do it too. For great Izakaya only one place…Sakura

        1. re: rsb

          well, you convinced me with that post...thanks for your time in answering

    2. There are many good sushi places around...

      Sushi Ota in PB (excellent...make reservations or prepare to wait)
      Edo Sushi in UTC (good prices for good sushi)
      Izakaya Sakura off Convoy Ave (no signage above the door)
      Sushi on the Rock in La Jolla (more trendy, fusion sushi)
      Sammy Sushi (see ed's post below)
      there is a sushi place in Encinitas that got several good reviews of which the name escapes me. go back 1-2 months and look for posts by Pablo.

      I think someone did a comparison of 3 sushi places in the past month on the board. It was pretty useful in terms of rating the chef, presentation and food.

      8 Replies
      1. re: daantaat

        Izakaya Sakura is at 3904 Convoy #121. That is the Original Pancake House stripmall. There is no signage anywhere. It looks like you are entering the Army recruiters. A friendly tip: if the person inside recommends you try Iraq instead of the nigiri, you are in the wrong place!

        Kazu is the name of the chef. Sushi, sashimi, and cooked dishes are all excellent there. I recommend showing up early before they get busy and finding out what Kazu recommends. Or sit and watch and ask about interesting things be served to others. While you will mostly hear Japanese being spoken, Kazu and the waitstaff do speak English. Do not order California rolls (or other American style rolled sushi) - they would probably ask you to leave.

        ed

        1. re: e.d.

          what are some of the best dishes you recommend/ have tried at sakura?

          will a japanophile white boy feel out of place there? ;)

          is it just me or is japanese the most heavenly of cuisines on the face of the planet

          1. re: alex

            I'm an old white guy, and have always been made to feel welcome. If you show appreciation for the culture and cuisine, you will enjoy.

            I have posted about Sakura many times, though I'm not sure that the Google search would find most of the reviews which were some time ago. I try not to bore people by saying the same things.

            But I have always liked the fish there. I always ask what is seasonal or special that evening. But I always enjoy the Spanish mackerel, toro, uni, suzuki,etc etc. But the cooked dishes are also good.

            1. re: e.d.

              thanks for the tips

            2. re: alex

              "is it just me or is japanese the most heavenly of cuisines on the face of the planet"

              It's just you.

              I'd put French, Italian, Middle Eastern, Indian, and Chinese in line ahead of it.

              1. re: alex

                "is it just me or is japanese the most heavenly of cuisines on the face of the planet"

                It's just you.

                I'd put French, Italian, Middle Eastern, Indian, and Chinese in line ahead of it.

                1. re: ClaudeBalls

                  if you like to hide your food in sauces...french is for you.

                  i have taken italian for granted because of a roman grandmother.

                  and i'd have to agree with the last three on your list. although japanese still tops them.
                  turkish doener kebap and lebanese schwaerma rule.
                  and you cant get a better meal than a good thali at an indian joint...with the raita naturally

              2. re: e.d.

                I agree... I really enjoy the japanese food at Sakura and have found nothing like it in San Diego. I kind of like that there's no signage.....

            3. Sushi Bar Kazumi in Hillcrest (5th between Washington and University) has been consistently outstanding for more than 20 years. Actually, Kazumi has been the consistent one, the location has changed several times. We usually let him make whatever he wants for us and have always been delighted. I have enjoyed it more than Ota and as much as Sakura which is also outstanding.

              1. I have been to Ota many times. If Ota does not prepare your meal then you might as well buy a bento box at Mitsuwa. I will refrain from commenting on price vs. quality.

                Now, if you want to experience traditional quality sushi, prepared by an engaging chef, for a very fare price, then you must try Sammy Sushi.

                If you want a special item of items just call ahead and he will deliver!

                Recently, I visited three popular sushi bars (Sammy’s included, see my post about two months ago) and I discovered Sammy.

                I am very picky! I need the chef to be able to discuss with me the day’s best items. I demand a fair price. When I find myself in the mood for Sushi I go to see Sammy-san.

                Now, if you want great kitchen items then Izakaya Sakura is the place. Wow! I have frequented Tajima, Osaka Kitchen etc., but nothing compares to Sakura for the kitchen items.

                Summary. Ota is nice but Sammy can do it too. For great Izakaya only one place…Sakura

                1. I like Shirahama on Convoy St.

                  I had some toro there that had marbling like a piece of prime beef.

                  Sammy Sushi is also good.

                  1. Don't know how far you want to travel, but there is a great place in, believe it or not, Fallbrook, called Yama. Fabulous!!!

                    1. Don't know how far you want to travel, but there is a great place in, believe it or not, Fallbrook, called Yama. Fabulous!!!

                      1. I don't get to eat sushi very often (I'm a full time student) but when I do - I really enjoy Kazumi on 5th in Hillcrest.
                        Can anyone please tell me if any of these other restaurants are any less expensive but still quality?

                        1. Shirahama is simply the best. Some Japanese that have lived here in San Diego and go back to Japan, refuse to eat sushi in Japan and wait for a visit back to San Diego to eat at Shirahama. Don't miss the Anago.

                          Sushi Ota and Toshi(former chef at Sushi Ota) in La Jolla are alternatives if you can't get into Shirahama.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: inuwan

                            inuwan,
                            could i ask for a little more insider information on shirahama?

                            1. re: kare_raisu

                              Shirahama is a pretty small place on Convoy (in the same strip mall as Phuong Trang) with about 10 seats around the bar. Kotani is the only chef. It's good to make a reservation but on some days its totally empty and you can walk in.

                              You can ask for a omakase and he'll select what's best that day. Or another approach is have him make a plate of sashimi to start, he'll select appropriately and then you can pick your choice of sushi.

                              What's usually good (obviously varies during the year):
                              - uni
                              - mirugai
                              - anago
                              - some like the toro-taku hand roll (personally I rather get just toro instead)
                              - he's well known for hikarimono ("shiney") fishes
                              - he has a good selection of sake (some are hard to get elsewhere)

                          2. Sushi Ota is OK.

                            If you are hunting for some fantastic incredible out of this world stuff, hike up to LA for 'sushi sushi' and get omikasa (chef's choice - but beware, it's costly).

                            Seriously you won't have a better sushi anywhere.

                            here's their info:
                            http://losangeles.citysearch.com/prof...

                            Go there now. I am considering it as I sit here.

                            Stan
                            http://www.sandiegofoodblog.com
                            san diego food blog

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: stangoldsmith

                              But if you've never been to Sakura, does it make sense to send us all to Los Angeles for the best sushi ever?

                            2. i refuse to go to shirahama ever again.

                              my friend and i went and asked to sit at the sushi bar and we were utterly refused.

                              "reserved" for a 5:30 thursday night dinner reservation? yeah right.

                              1. I will assume that Kazumi was under different ownership (or something) back when the people who recommended in this thread posted. I went a couple weeks ago and it was one of the worst dining experiences I have ever had in San Diego. Shabby, horrible service, low- to medium-grade sushi -- about the quality of Sushi Ota but without the upbeat atmosphere. Avoid it at all costs.

                                8 Replies
                                1. re: mangiatore

                                  It used to be good when it first opened. There was a father and son duo putting up some good sushi, and service was good. The son was quite the charmer with the ladies, too. Last time I went, which was over a year ago, I didn't see either gentleman, and it was way below the quality it once had.

                                  1. re: mangiatore

                                    You've gotta be kidding! Kazumi is one of the best in town. Still run by Father + Son and the moonlights at a sunday brunch on shelter Island... I forgot the name of the place.
                                    I'm sorry that you had a bad experience, But Ive gotta say, we've been going for a couple of years now and there's only one place that's come close to compare - U-mi Sushi.

                                    1. re: mangiatore

                                      mangiatore, I know you have been suffering, if you want to head up to Encinitas, try Kaito.
                                      Morita-san and Jo-san are excellent. The sweet shrimp (not ama ebi) and live scallop have been outstanding. Here's a thread:
                                      http://www.chowhound.com/topics/329090

                                      1. re: Pablo

                                        Thanks to the good folks here on Chowhound I've managed to find a few decent places, but yeah, overall I think my opinion is pretty clear. Thanks for the suggestions! I'll add it to my list, which at this point is starting to get pretty long.

                                        I stand by my assessment of Kazumi...an utter trainwreck.

                                      2. re: mangiatore

                                        mangtiatore,
                                        has something changed your opinion? i'm a bit confused. back on 2/12 in the controversial "sd restaurants are bad" thread you said that sushi ota was excellent. here you're saying they have low to medium grade sushi? how can you say that a restaurant with low to medium grade sushi is "excellent". i would think the primary and most important aspect to a sushi bar/restaurant is the freshness and quality of the fish they are serving.

                                        1. re: daimyo

                                          Whoops! I meant Sushi Deli! Sushi Ota is excellent! (if you sit at the sushi bar). Sorry bout that.

                                        2. re: mangiatore

                                          Whoops! I meant to say that it's the quality of Sushi Deli. Sushi Ota is excellent (if you sit at the sushi bar).

                                          1. re: mangiatore

                                            i was totally confused. i'm a big fan of ota so i needed clarification!