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Jan 14, 2013 09:50 PM

Sushi Tadokoro

Open for five months now, in my 'hood between Oldtown and Middletown no less, and can't believe I waited this long...

Taka-san is the owner and head itamae here. Superb nigiri...

Watching him prep a large container of salmon roe- grating a giant salt crystal, pouring his homemade ponzu and adding a piece of kombu- made me want to go at the whole thing with a giant spoon.

Highlights included his kohada and other vinegared treatments, especially the marinated tuna, and a ume-shiso-yamaimo roll. Also three great miso soups: wakame, asari, and mixed seafood.

An alternative to Kaito, closer to town? Absolutely.

Calm, simple, traditional for sure. Reasonably priced? For sure. Tane from Tsukiji? Yes. Omakase? No problem.

Hane, Ota...sayonara.


2244 San Diego Ave, suite C 92110

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  1. Thanks for the report! I STILL need to get there myself, but all I've read has been positive.

    How was the interaction with Taka-san? I really enjoyed talking with Kaz and Joe when visiting katio.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Rodzilla

      We had no reservations, and sat at a table since nothing was left at the bar. That usually bums me out. For the first time in SD, I can say that it made no difference - chef walked our three separate orders to the table and discussed his recommendations with us. We were not relegated to the "since you're not at the bar, the waitress will now bring you a giant plate of everything you ordered all at once and I will also kinda ignore you" purgatory.

      Plenty of genuine interaction with a kind and mellow guy. Less attitude and better chops than any itamae in SD proper.

    2. Great to know. Walk by often.

      Any lunch?

      2 Replies
        1. re: SaltyRaisins

          Had an incredible lunch at Tadokoro. Honestly, not much to add that has't been said already other than yes, I can confirm they are now open for lunch until 2pm. Saw this question on another thread as well.

          It was an awesome opportunity to enjoy omakase when the restaurant and the chef are not as busy as dinner. Such a great meal. Happy to have learned about it here.

      1. Thanks for the heads up, been hoping for a decent sushi place in that area that doesn't blast dance club music haha

        1. We just finished a dinner here. Omakase- intimidating, right? Not here...some of the spirit of Kaito- Taka-san used to make rolls at some PB place until he was able to strike out on his own with Tadokoro. Very laid-back, but formal at the same time- I hope that makes sense and comes across...I mean it. My girlfriend said that it was up with the best overall dining experiences she ever had. I mean, the chef walked us out to our car for chrissakes, and we weren't even that special to him in the long run, and hadn't been doing any ass-kissing. And it's in Old Town.

          They do traditional sushi, but are also happy to do rolls. Taka said that they were stuck doing rolls nonstop the other night, but I mentioned that perhaps it's the whole softshells that are cooked to order he's putting in them, the large slices of perfect avocado etcetera etcetera...the rolls chef #2 were making looked absurdly good...but I'm getting off point:

          We had ten courses omakase. We made reservations for the bar, and the waitress told us that omakase starts at $60 and goes up to $120. We told him eighty, and he brought us in at $75 pp. With booze a total check of $200. Very rare for me these days- I can no longer tolerate fine dining, and tasting menus straight up piss me off- even at Misión 19. This was different...

          I am not the type to take photos of my food, but couldn't help it here tonight and they were all cool with it, so what the hell. Like a Japanese schoolgirl, I post:

          We had:

          Ankimo (monkfish liver paté) in house ponzu

          Washington oysters, large and sweet

          The most absurdly over the top shashimi with seven different items, including cured aji, local uni, scottish salmon (the only raw salmon I eat- up there with chu-toro for buttery-ness), hirame, amberjack, chu-toro and "tuna fin meat" (?), beautifully presented

          Housemade daikon kuyri

          Black cod with gobo from the hot kitchen- the best I've ever had

          Asari (clams) in broth- zero of the usual mollusky metallic-bitterness

          Amberjack nigiri with ankimo- a highlight, and the only carbs so far

          A perfect little pot of chirashi rice topped with sesame and their house cured salmon roe- the same stuff I wrote about above

          a tekk-kyu roll- one of my personal favorites, and got a lot of laughs from our neighbors and the chefs. I guess this is a pretty traditional thing that an old friend introduced me to, and I love it and will always order it. The akami is marinated for a moment in dark soy, and then rolled with fresh cukes...superb.

          Red bean, homemade mochi and matcha icecream for dessert.


          9 Replies
          1. re: SaltyRaisins

            Thanks for the detailed post, everything sounds and looks great.

            I would have expected a few more pieces of nigiri, perhaps in lieu of some other dishes..was this your preference, or just what was served?

            1. re: Rodzilla

              All I told him was that I go for oily fish, and my girlfriend likes lighter tastes, so that was tricky for him but everything was balanced. We didn't request or need rice - did you see the sashimi plate? We were very full toward the end. He did ask our Japanese neighbors if they wanted rice to close their meal, so it is an option.

              1. re: SaltyRaisins

                I did see the plate. I wasn't suggesting the amount of food was lacking, just the proportion of nigiri.

                As for needing rice, I just like nigiri specifically to see how the shari size, flavor, temperature works with the tane- very different than chirashi or a side of rice.

                1. re: Rodzilla

                  Oh...I didn't read you correctly- sorry! I was in a bit of a haze of digestion and wakefulness early the next morning, and my response missed your question. Yes, pretty light on the nigiri, but we left everything but the tekkyu roll up to him. I'm sure he'd be willing to cater to your sushi desires.


                  1. re: SaltyRaisins

                    I agree that the amount of nigiri courses seems lacking when the omakase came in at $75.

                    Have you been to akinori as a basis for comparison?

                    1. re: karaethon

                      No I have not been to Akinori. I found nothing lacking in this omakase experience, but that's just my opinion.


            2. re: SaltyRaisins

              Do you need reservations for the sushi bar on weekends?
              I can't wait to try it. I love Ota but I have to make reservations at least a week or more in advance to sit at the sushi bar on weekends and sometimes even just to get a table at a decent hour.
              Love Kaito but it's a drive for us and a nightmare on Friday nights.

              1. re: keena

                They are not huge, like Ota, but they do seem to fill up on weekend nights. Only been twice, though. We called a day before and had great seats waiting, so a reservation is not hard to get. Taka said Mondays are not especially good for fish, but Tuesday through Thursday is best for omakase.

              2. re: SaltyRaisins

                Just remembered- the piece of nigiri was robinfish, not amberjack. He broke down the whole small fish in front of us to make those few small pieces.

              3. We've been here three times in the last two weeks. I wish I could say it was horrible just to keep the hordes of people away.

                5 Replies
                  1. re: SaltyRaisins

                    No. I was kidding. I want them to be successful. They deserve it. I just want to still be able to get a table.

                    1. re: breadgirl

                      This is a great place! We tried a bunch of fish, all excellent. It has a wonderful atmosphere with great lighting and jazz playing...way warmer than Ota. The itamae is a great guy and advised us to do omakase next time. We sort of did our own test of what we try to judge how good the place is and it was all that. They also have a happy hour til 630 where certain apps and drinks are half price which is great. My better half declared this our new sushi place since the fish is as good as Ota, it's way closer than Kaito, the price is the same but the atmosphere is so much warmer and they definitely do not rush you. Plus, we could get sushi bar reservations for a weekend early in the week instead of planning 2 weeks ahead with Ota. This is why I go on chowhound: to find places like this.

                    2. re: SaltyRaisins

                      You San Diego CH'ers are making me crazy. I'm sitting here in Boston, up to our asses in snow with temperatures in the teens dreaming about the two fantastic evenings I spent at Tadokoro in early December. We have a couple of good to very good Japanese places here but nothing that comes close to Tadokoro. I'd even stop griping about our weather if I knew there was a place like that here.

                      1. re: RoyRon

                        Hey, you have nothing to complain about being in Boston. If I were to choose one place to live on the East Coast, that'd be it.

                        I've been there in winter many times, and yeah, it can get pretty brutal. Such as right now. Hey, I'm from Milwaukee and I oughta know. But the summertime vibe is really special. Boston is a genuine, fantastic old American city.

                        You guys seem to be pretty seafood-oriented, so it's surprising that you don't have some kind of a Sushi Tadokoro parallel.