The return of chef Susumu Ii (that’s two i’s) of once existing Kasen Sushi in Fountain Valley finds himself on the second story corner location on Pacific Coast Hwy in Newport Beach. Having just found out Ii’s landing spot, I thought I would give it a whirl, even though only for take out.
There take out menu is very intriguing with a focus on chirashi, pressed sushi and maki sushi with a bento option well. With this being my first impression, I decidedly went for the straight forward chirashi sushi; the other item that piqued my interest was the mackerel rod shaped sushi, aka saba-zushi.
A beautiful assortment of ingredients and some of the most refined sushi-meshi in SoCal. I loved the rice, seasoned with the perfect balance and temperature to highlight the neta. The tamago stood above the rest as it was rich yet with a bit of sweetness. The texture was light and fluffy and served and optimal temperature for maximum satisfaction. I do think there could be some improvement with the ika and unagi, however I’ll chalk it up to opening amidst this odd time for restaurants.
Named on the menu, rod shaped mackerel sushi, bo-zushi utilizes the entire saba filet and formed with a makisu. Beautifully presented and packed for take out, this massive dish is pretty fuckin hefty. The saba was so damn smooth and the balanced sushi rice accentuated the oily flavor of the fish. Temperature was perfect, making the flavor of the fish and rice shine through. And just look at how the rice glistens in the sun kissed driver side seat parking structure dining room. If you find the right spot, which is not hard these days, you can enjoy your car dining with a view of Newport Harbor. If you look hard, you can see @J_L and @ipsedixit racing yachts against Donald Bren. It doesn’t reach the heights of Hayato, but still really damn good and readily available.
And these beauties are essential for post car dining, stinky saba fingers be damned.
Too early to tell without a proper omakase, but it appears this new restaurant could be an instant hit for Orange County.