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Kitayama in Newport Beach

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Kitayama in Newport Beach

Julian Hsu | Aug 20, 2004 11:22 AM

Just wanted to suggest this restaurant for those looking for sushi/Japanese food in Orange County. I was introduced to the place by a visiting friend from Japan, who claimed it was the "best sushi in Orange County."

Well, it's not. But it was decent- maybe not quite as good as Shibucho (And certainly not as good as Wasabi), but it had a large menu beyond sushi and a beautiful location. Reasonably priced too. We sat in a room with tall ceilings that looked out to a Zen garden on one end, and maybe an 8 foot tall waterfall on the other. My 2 year old liked pointing out the stylized animals in the murals on the ceiling. Maybe a good date place?

The sushi was fairly fresh, and the uni (sea urchin)and toro (fatty tuna) were particularly good. We also had decent hirame (halibut?), ama-ebi (sweet/raw shrimp- never understood why people call it "sweet" when it's really more raw than anything), ikka (squid), and mirugai (giant clam), as well as some rolls- rainbow, spider, spicy tuna, etc. These were alright too.

However, I thought the chawan-mushi was very tasty, with lots of flavor and a velvety consistency. The teriyaki chicken was also good, a strong grilled taste with not too overpowering a sauce and ~not~ overcooked (mmm, juicy), which is unusual in my hard-luck experience with that dish. And they had a really appetizing crab salad that makes a nice appetizer with a citrusy dressing.

Julian

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