I told the chef “omakase,” meaning that I trust his judgement, I’m in his hands. And the first few courses were fairly predictable, as I’ve dined at the sushi counter at Shunka a dozen times before and knew more or less what to expect. But I also knew there would be a curveball at some point, and here it was: baby squid sushi.
I took a deep breath. I love sushi, and I like squid. But this is something else altogether. It’s practically still alive. And to be quite honest, I’m nervous as I bring it toward my mouth. While I love sushi, I hate fishy flavors. There are still a few textures that I have trouble with, and this might be one of them, or so I’m thinking.
But the moment the squid touches my tongue, I know it’s all going to be okay, at least flavor-wise. There’s not even a hint of fishiness. I bite into it, and the texture is exotic, for sure, but not one that I can’t embrace. Something inside the squid’s head explodes, releasing a rush of flavor into my mouth that reminds me of almond milk. Odd, but utterly delicious. Omakase, chef. Omakase indeed.
Where: 369 E. 17th St., Costa Mesa
When: Lunch and dinner daily
Cost: Omakase from $35
This article originally appeared in the Orange County Register. To view more of my work for the Register, check out the archives. For more dining and travel inspiration, I invite you to follow me and join the conversation on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.