Omakase at Sushi Ota, San Diego
August 18, 2011 2 Comments
For a special meal befitting of a special birthday, my family and I went to the best sushi restaurant in San Diego. As it turns out, Sushi Ota and I share birthdays. 2011 marks the restaurant’s and my 21st year. (Though admittedly, Ota has been intimate with the sake long before this milestone birthday.)
After over two decades, Sushi Ota still maintains its strict commitments to quality, hospitality, and honesty, serving food that fresh, delightful, and reasonably priced. We went for lunch on Tuesday (the freshest day for seafood, according to Bourdain) and I spent the rest of the week reminiscing.
Attention to detail is another joyful element to dining at Sushi Ota. Every couple of years, for as long as I can remember, Chef Ota has upgraded and renovated the interior of the restaurant. The ambience is always tasteful, contemporary with traditional sensibility, and comforting in its straightforward simplicity.
Watching him work at the sushi bar is interesting and fun. Every moment is precise and necessary. Nothing is uselessly expended or lost.
I had only previously been to an omakase lunch here once before, so I was excited to see some of the new presentations. I love the spiky texture of these urchins!
Toro, uni, sweet shrimp, and fresh wasabi. Incredibly smooth and fresh. The shrimp was so fresh that it was still twitching! Kind of crazy and wild, but wonderful.
The urchin shell… totally emptied of tasty, golden, uni.
King crab leg, cuttlefish (I think? I can’t remember, unfortunately…), and mixed vegetables with soy. In the upper right corner, you can see a bit of the sardine cracker. I think the beautiful, perforated texture, crunchy mouthfeel, and slight oceanic flavor are absolutely addicting. And isn’t the flower in the center beautiful? I got it because I was the birthday girl.
The half-alive shrimp in an earlier course came back to us fried. Yum!
I had to admire the pretty flower while anticipating the next course…
… which was this phenomenal piece of salmon with scallions and sesame seeds. Buttery smooth, the piece practically dissolved.
Quickly followed by more uni…
And the perfect pieces of fish continued. Soft, pink, fatty…
Snowy, smooth, delicate…
A delectable duo. Cut with such care and consideration of color, composition, and quality.
The remnants of my miso soup that I too eagerly consumed without documenting a single drop.
Thinly sliced cucumber, soy infused mushrooms, squid. Everything was small, treasured, and to the point.
Handrolls. Tissue-thin scallions, crisp seaweed, fresh fish. Raw and tasty.
Beautiful things just kept coming. Mmm…
Pieces of tuna so red that it confused my camera…
This course involved some blowtorching, sea salt, and lemon zest (amongst other alchemic processes) and it was phenomenal. Mirogai (in the back) is definitely a favorite of mine.
And finally, ice cream. Preserved plum ice cream. I loved the sunny color and the sweetness that was tinged with a bit of salty. Refreshing and special.
Sushi Ota is the best in San Diego. Go.
4529 Mission Bay Drive
San Diego, CA 92109