During our Japanese correspondent Yoshios recent trip to San Diego’s Comic-Con, he was struck by an insatiable craving to eat some quality sushi. From what he’d previously heard, while most American sushi restaurants offer western-inspired uramaki ‘inside-out’ rolls such as the California roll, it would be harder to find nigirizushi (the kind with a topping over a block of rice) on the menu. So what’s a hungry guy far from home to do?

After asking several Japanese people living in the area, Yoshio headed over to the highly recommended Sushi Ota. He went in with some reservations about the authenticity of the sushi, being outside of Japan and all, but left after a mind-blowing experience–in fact, he now considers Sushi Ota to be in the top three sushi restaurants he’s ever been to!

I’m originally from the east coast of the States, and although I’ve been back and forth to Asia several times, I’ve never actually made it to the west coast of my own country. One of these days I’ll finally make it out there, but until then I’ll have to live vicariously through the following mouth-watering pictures taken by our Japanese correspondent Yoshio.

This particular restaurant that Yoshio went to is said to be a favorite of baseball legend Ichiro, who supposedly frequents it whenever he’s in town. Based on Yoshio’s reaction to the place, he’ll also be hitting it up again the next time he’s in San Diego!

Upon arriving at the restaurant, Yoshio noticed that the spacious interior was already crowded with people, which is always a good sign. The line of Japanese chefs standing behind the counter while deftly preparing sushi also gave him a good vibe. He sat down and ordered a special set menu of nigirizushi which cost about US$50 per person and made use of only the freshest, carefully selected ingredients of the day.

▼The restaurant looks unassuming from the outside.


▼Yoshio also thought it was amusing that a Seven-Eleven was next door.


After a bit of a wait, the waiter finally arrived with the precious plate of sushi. To Yoshio’s starved eyes, the pieces of sushi seemed to sparkle as if they were culinary gems. He immediately saw that the sushi were well-formed and made use of just the right amount of rice. The plate was so beautiful that it almost felt like he was dining at a posh restaurant in Ginza, Tokyo’s high-class district. Upon taking his first bite, he was stunned into silence at the exquisite taste.





▼The aromatic shrimp head was grilled to perfection.


The uni, or sea urchin, boasted a sweet and delicate flavor, and Yoshio was told that they had been collected locally. In fact, their quality was above anything he’d ever tried in Japan (apparently, sea urchins are a specialty of San Diego).

In addition, the engawa (flounder’s edge/fluke fin) was out of this world. There was no suspicious oil seeping out of it, and it had the appropriate crispy texture with a hint of sweetness. The flavor didn’t immediately dissolve, either–it lingered in his mouth as a pleasant aftertaste. To quote our blissful reporter: “Oh my god! I never knew you could eat such delicious sushi in America!”

Feast your eyes on the remainder of his pictures:










▼It’s not exactly sushi, but why not sample some edamame, too?


▼Yoshio also thought that the hand towels were amazing.


▼When he opened the plastic bag there was an actual wet towel inside–not just a little wipe.



So what’s the bottom line? Yoshio went to Sushi Ota with two others, and at the end of their meal all three of them agreed that Sushi Ota was definitely one of the top three sushi restaurants that they’d ever been to, restaurants included.

If you live too far away to visit Sushi Ota in the near future, take some time to brush up on your sushi etiquette at your local sushi joint instead. Let us know where your favorite sushi spots outside of Japan are, too!

Sushi Ota
4529 Mission Bay Dr, San Diego, CA 92109 USA
Lunch: Tues – Fri (11:30 – 2:00), Dinner: Mon-Fri (5:30 – 10:30) and Sat/Sun (5:00 – 10:30)

Images: RocketNews24
Original article by Yoshio