Sushi

Sushi Stop – Snack Time

by Franklin on April 9, 2014

You got to love the Sushi Stop for their logo. A spoof on the Game Stop stores, Sushi Stop’s signage really makes your do a double take. It looks like Game Stop, but it says sushi. Well the signage worked, and I did stop by for some sushi. The best part? Everything is $2.75. Score! I just stopped by to get a few cheap bites of sushi. I didn’t have much cash, as they are a cash only joint.

I ordered the spicy tuna roll, and yellowtail with truffle oil hand roll. Both were pretty decent for a quick and cheap sushi joint. The rice, the most important part of sushi in my opinion, was better than most. Still, it wasn’t the best tasting rice — it was a bit overcooked and had a sticky consistency. The fish was fresh and tasty though. Never have I ever had sushi with truffle oil. The yellow tail and hint of truffle taste was interesting. I didn’t necessarily think the flavors were needed, but interesting nonetheless. I did want to try mixing truffles and soy sauce. I think that will have an interesting body and taste. Something to consider for the future. If it starts getting popular, you heard it first here!

Sushi Stop was a fun experience. The food came out quickly, and the price was amazing. The little snack cost only about 6 bucks, cash only. Not bad at all. For a fast casual sushi joint, the quality of the fish was quite nice. Honestly, I tried this place only because the name intrigued me. I literally stopped for sushi, and it was good.

Sushi Stop on Urbanspoon

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Kamon – Unfair Comparison

by Franklin on November 5, 2013

Excluding Newport Seafood, a handful of Chinese/Taiwanese cafes, and Boiling Crab, it’s slim pickings when it comes to eating out in the City of Industry. I was in the mood some some proper sushi, and besides Akasaka, I couldn’t find any. I heard some good things about Sushi Kamon, and wanted to give it a try. I wasn’t expecting much, and as a someone who was in the mood for some good quality sushi, I really should have looked elsewhere.

Edamame. Every sushi restaurants starts off with edamame. Let’s move on.

Once I saw agedashi tofu on the menu, I flipped. I spoiled myself, having had Raku’s awesome agedashi tofu. Kamon’s was more like fried tofu in a soy sauce based sauce/soup. It was good, but nothing can touch Raku’s version.

The best chirashi bowl in town has to be from Akasaka. I know I keep comparing stuff from Kamon from the best, but that is what I do. I mean, for the price, the chirashi bowl was kind of nice. It had a awesome array of different kinds of fish, and lucky, included uni. Though not as fresh, it had all the fish that I liked.

To finish things off, we got some spicy tuna rolls, because, come on, we always need to order spicy tuna rolls. The rolls were pretty standard, and spicier than most. Possibly to mask un-fresh fish? The rice though, was perfectly al dente, as I like my sushi rice to be. It was a good end to a substandard sushi meal.

Sushi Kamon was nothing special. I won’t go home thinking about it; I won’t count the days until I can have it again. Yes, I did compare the agedashi tofu to the best of the best, and I did compare the chirashi bowl to the best. Kamon just didn’t have that special quality. It didn’t have an old guy in the back cutting the freshest fish, nor was it busy. It just seemed like the restaurant lost it’s passion and is there just to serve mediocre fish. City of Industry, you have done it again.

Sushi Kamon on Urbanspoon

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You are transformed walking into Hama Sushi. You throw out all of your standards of what you thought good sushi is and allow their sushi chefs to take rein. My experience at Hama Sushi was authentic as can be, and sadly, I am only able to share this with you through words. Their no camera policy was disappointing — some of their dishes were amazing, visually and taste wise. Above all, I want to respect the establishment of their rules. Heck, I would hate to be black listed at this place, that is for sure. I would have loved to share those with you through pictures, but unfortunately, my writing is going to have to carry all the weight (grammar mistakes and all).

We started off with the albacore sashimi. Thinly sliced, the fish was fresh and of the highest quality. Topped with a yuzu sauce that made everything citrusy and savory, I felt the fish was masked. Though not a mellow flavor, the albacore was too good to pass up.

One of my favorite fish served raw is probably salmon (sake). The sushi chef was careful in cutting each piece to a perfect size. With each bite dipped in my perfectly portioned soy sauce and wasabi mixture, the flavor was so familiar and perfect. The fatty, buttery texture of the salmon paired perfectly with the slight nose flaring wasabi and soy sauce is one of my favorite things to eat. I would have a bite, reset my palate with some ginger, and do it all over again. Salmon is just an exceptional fish. If tuna is the “chicken of the sea”, it is safe to say that salmon is the beef of the sea — fatty tuna (toro) being the kobe beef of the sea. It is no wonder bears eat this stuff, fresh. It melts in your mouth, with a slippery and slimy consistency, it is the perfect food.

It wouldn’t be a night out with sushi without tuna rolls and hand rolls. Cut to a precision, the tuna rolls were small and packed flavor. The spicy tuna hand rolls were spicier than expected and was still very good. Rice is an important part of sushi, undoubtedly equally important as the fish itself. Their rice wasn’t perfect, but I am nitpicking here. I would have liked the rice to be a bit more cooled. the slight warmer temperature gave it an over cooked texture. Nonetheless, this was great.

Sitting inside the small establishment, you are side by side with other patrons. In a “U” shaped sushi bar seating only about 15 people, three sushi chefs took everyone’s orders. The experience was new and fun, and the chance to have such good (not the cheep stuff) sushi was a treat. I may have spoiled myself here, and all other everyday sushi spots might not be as good anymore, but that’s alright. Hama Sushi in Little Tokyo is one of the best in Los Angeles. They don’t try to be anything they are not — they are genuine and down to earth. Eating at other establishments, I will say to myself, “Its good, but nothing like Hama”.

Hama Sushi on Urbanspoon

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Sushi, especially sashimi is my favorite food.  Hands down.  Having the freshest fish, eaten raw is so delicious.  It is buttery, fatty, and dipped in some soy sauce and wasabi is such a perfect match.  Even sushi, rapped in rice is so convenient to eat and a perfect bite of food and flavor.  It is safe to say that I like my fish raw, not cooked. At Akasaka, I was pleased to find a quaint little Japanese restaurant.  They served up some awesome sushi, and it was packed too.  Odd, because you wouldn’t expect so many people in this unassuming location.  The cool part about this experience is that I took pictures with a DSLR, a first for my blog.  Hopefully, you enjoy the pictures as much as I enjoyed the meal.

The Chirashi bowl is probably their most famous item on the menu.  Everyone was ordering this thing.  The Chirashi bowl a bowl sweet vinegar rice, topped with mounds of sashimi, fresh ginger, and wasabi.  Some of the fish include tuna, spicy tuna, salmon, albacore, and yellowtail.  The variety of goodness doesn’t stop at just fish.  It was also topped with masago, sweet shrimp, unagi, and even uni. This was a huge bowl, and is enough for two people to share.  The fish chunks were fresh and large and was perfect with the vinegary rice.  Dipping the fish in the soy sauce and wasabi, then eating the rice was a perfect combination.

The Rainbow roll was huge, so we ordered the half size.  Each roll couldn’t be eaten in one bite.  Well, I could try to fit the whole thing in my mouth, but I would look like a mad man. Though it was large, and full of raw fish, I didn’t like how they added a chunk of imitation crab inside.  You do order this for the size, not really the taste.

It was a great Japanese meal.  The fish was fresh and the interior really felt cramped, but in a good way.  The sushi bar area seemed fun and interesting.  Maybe next time, the bar is where I will be. Who knew this establishment would be next to nothing else.  Thanks to the internet and word of mouth, Akasaka has become popular.  Sushi is indeed one of my favorite things to eat, and the Chirashi bowl is what I’ll get.

Akasaka Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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I feel like a lot of Japanese restaurants are all the same. Whether they serve sushi, bowls, noodles, or meats, the interior and feel of the restaurant seems similar. The greeting in Japanese, the Japanese accented props and posters all around the restaurants is all familiar, and comforting. Honda Ya doesn’t only have sushi and bowls, they have everything. I opted for not just one thing, but all of it. Skewers, bowls, sashimi — it was certainly a feast.

We started off with the skewers — yakitori. Roasted over hot burning charcoal, the taste of grilling was prevalent throughout.

The tongue was chewier than expected, but the pork belly was exceptional. I could have easily eaten about a million of those.

The bacon wrapped scallops and asparagus was nothing special. Wrapped in a thin layer of bacon, the bacon taste and texture isn’t as pronounced. Nonetheless, the skewers were tasty and the charcoal taste was great.

The chicken with uzu was a bit of a dissapointment. The chicken was dry, and wasn’t really seasoned (on purpose). We were supposed to dip it in the uzu. The chicken, though on a griddle, came to our table cold. I didn’t enjoy this dish.

The sashimi, surprisingly was very fresh. An array of salmon, tuna, and tilapia was laid out beautifully and it was thick and high quality. Sashimi is one of my favorite foods, and this just hit the spot.

We felt extra extravagant and ordered the uni. Raw sea urchin, considered a delicacy was definitely a treat. It was sweet and buttery. Eating it with just rice was good enough for me. That seafood rich flavor with the creamy texture was perfect.

Honda Ya was a great stop. It is open late, though it is located in an obscure area. The service was great and the food items were plenty. They really do cater to the meat lover, sushi, lover, and everything else in between. There is also one in Los Angeles and Tustin, which I want to give a try. Until then, the one in Industry will do.

Honda-Ya on Urbanspoon

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Houston’s (Irvine) – Ribs, Ribeye, And #1 Tuna

by Franklin on November 12, 2011

This may be one of my favorite restaurant chains.  Houston’s offers a home feel with a bit of class and sophistication.  It doesn’t try to be pretentious and is not image driven.  They let the food speak for itself. It is a step above Yard House, which is a large step above TGIFriday.  Though I didn’t really know what to expect, I was impressed with the food.

We ordered the spicy tuna roll salad.  On the menu, it said “inside out #1 tuna roll”.  We didn’t know what the whole #1 thing was about, so I asked the waitor.  Supposedly, that meant it was top grade tuna. The tuna was indeed fresh and wrapped with greens avacado.  I liked that the tuna was whole and not chopped up.  Well, why would anyone chop up #1 tuna anyways? The mango and lettuce salad was a nice touch. The ponzu sauce was delicious with it.  It looked too good to eat, but guess what — I did anyways.

The Hawaiian ribeye is a sure thing here.  I like my steaks rare, and they cooked mine perfectly.  It is marinated in a subtly sweet sauce and the then grilled over hardwood. The taste was amazing.  The sweetness was a nice change to a lot of steak I had in the past.  It was juicy and had a perfect fat to meat ratio.

The barbecue pork ribs were good as well.  It had a nice sauce which is important to any BBQ dish.  There was a lot of meat and flavor was definitely there, though a bit more meat would have been better — the ribs were kind of skimp. The best part of this dish was the cole slaw with parsley.  It was such a simple side dish, but it made all the difference.  The crunch from the cabbage and chew from the meat was a great combination.

Houson’s in Irvine was a great dinner.  The atmosphere was friendly and sophisticated at the same time. Food was perfect.  The price is a bit on the steep side, but you get what you pay for.  In hind sight, it was worth it.  I still dream about that ribeye.

Houston's on Urbanspoon

Houston's on Urbanspoon

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Its a Friday night, and you live in Orange County.  And not the OC where you surf everyday and relax at the beach.  I am talking about Fullerton, downtown Fullerton to be exact.  It’s full of drunks and party goers on any given weekend.  And why wouldn’t it?  DTF is laced with bars and nightclubs, and more bars all along Harbor Blvd.  It’s close Fullerton College and Cal State Fullerton.  Sounds like a perfect recipe for a party town to me.  But I’m not here to talk about partying — that would be a whole other post all together. I am here to talk about a Japanese restaurant — Chomp Sushi and Tepan Grill.

I have been here a number of times, and I always have fun.  The staff is lively and friendly, the crowd is usually young, and the food is great.  Friday and Saturday nights are usually busy — it is downtown Fullerton after all.  They are also busy for Sunday champagne  brunch.  There is a self seating bar (one for sushi, other for drinks), regular tables, and tepanyaki grill stations.  Though I’ve tried the brunch and the tepan grill, I will be posting only about what is on the regular menu.

Sushi at Chomp sushi is what most of the patrons order.  They offer a wide variety of rolls and dishes.  We ordered the Sexy Mutha roll and the Caliente roll — two of their most famous rolls.  The Sexy Mutha had shrimp tempura, avocado & radish sprouts rolled with rice and soy paper and is topped with spicy tuna, masago, green onion and sesame seeds.  The Caliente has Shrimp tempura, crab & avocado wrapped in spicy tuna, topped with seared albacore, ponzu sauce, jalapeño salsa & sliced jalapeños.  The interesting thing about the Caliente roll is that it has no rice in it.  It is all fish and seafood, which I loved.

Along with our sushi, we ordered a combo plate.  This included soup, a main meat dish (we added one more for $5), and a side.  The dish consisted of salmon, kung pao shrimp, and chow mein.  This dish was a bit odd to me, as it was a Japanese restaurant taking on a Chinese dish.  Though the salmon was very tasty and flavorful, it did not have the “wow” factor like the sushi did.

Downtown Fullerton is filled with places to eat and drink — It attracts all kinds of people. Have a fun night out with a large group eating tepanyaki style or eat sushi at the bar.  Either way, Chomp Sushi can feed the need for good Japanese cuisine.

Chomp on Urbanspoon

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Niko Niko Sushi

by Franklin on March 15, 2011

It is lent season, and a lot of people gave something up. For those who gave up red meat, it is not a problem because there is always sushi. I can safely say, that I love sushi — it is my favorite food. There are two things that sushi needs to be, fresh and tasty. At Niko Niko Sushi, they are exactly that.

Most sushi restaurants go over the top with making the plate really nice and pretty. Cool plate designs, a leaf here, and an intricate sauce design here — Sushi can get pretty visually stunning when it comes to your table. Niko Niko isn’t about that. They give you what you ordered on a plain while dish, nothing more, nothing less. They concentrate more on the taste of the rolls and the freshness of the fish.

We had the Ichiban roll, Rock and Roll (Roll), and the Dragon roll. I have to say, my favorite was the Ichiban Roll (pictured below).  It had raw tuna and cucumber, wrapped in seaweed paper and rice, and had an array of raw fish on top — the roll was all fish, no imitation crab meat. As a lover of sashimi, this was a treat!  The best part about this sushi restaurant was the fresh fish. I have been to my fair share of sushi restaurants. This place has the freshest fish by a far margin. You can really taste the fish — it was cold and firm, and the taste was very clean and smooth. The rice has that bit of chewy al dente feel to it which is a must for sushi rice. The rolls were somewhat large too. As a whole, the dining experience here was great. The sushi chefs were talkative and friendly. They even gave us a white tuna sashimi plate, on the house — I hardly ever get free stuff!

You can find Niko Niko scattered throughout Los Angeles and Orange County — I frequent the one in the San Gabriel Valley. If all the other locations are as good as this one, we are in pretty good shape as far as sushi goes.

Niko Niko Sushi on Urbanspoon

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