OC Review: Ootoro Sushi, Irvine

The chef reaches over the sushi counter and places a bowl in front of each of us. The bowls are filled with ice, topped with the live shrimp he has just dismantled. The shrimp are huge, like mutants. Their dismembered heads and bodies sit side by side, a couple of inches apart but still very much alive.

O.C. Review: Sushi Hana re

The hostess sees me peeking through the window, so she opens the front door. “May I help you?” “Two for dinner?” I ask. I can see that almost every seat in the restaurant is already taken. “Just a moment,” she says. She walks across the very small room to whisper something to the chef. He …

Best thing I ate this week: baby squid sushi

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.

OC Review: Sushi Roku, Newport Beach

“Irasshai!” shouts a hostess as she leads me to my table. The sushi chefs and waiters respond in kind. Most are cheerily enthusiastic, although I can’t help but notice one waiter rushing through the room with an armful of food who mumbles the greeting under his breath in a way that suggests the Japanese-to-English translation …

OC Review: Kitayama, Newport Beach

Kitayama, Newport Beach (Photos by Brad A. Johnson) The waitress plunks a black lacquer box on the table. She’s dressed in a formal blue kimono with a thick brocade sash elaborately folded around her waist, culminating in a heavy-looking knot in the back. “Appetizer,” she says matter-of-factly, unfolding the box to reveal what looks like …

OC Review: Sushi Murasaki, Santa Ana

Sushi Murasaki (Photos by Brad A. Johnson) Before I stumbled upon Sushi Murasaki, I had been making my rounds among the county’s top-rated sushi restaurants for months, hoping to find a truly memorable omakase. Omakase is that tradition of putting yourself in the hands of the sushi chef, letting him prepare whatever he desires. Omakase …