The sushi purist may balk after a glance at Maki-Zushi’s menu: There’s the usual Westernized fare, like chicken teriyaki and 50 kinds of overstuffed crazy rolls. But turn the paper menu over, and you’ll see—in big, bold letters—“HARDCORE SUSHI” followed by a beautiful list of very traditional sushi, with all sorts of rarities. According to Chef Yoshio Sakamoto, most of the other serious sushi restaurants serve only traditional fare. He wanted to open a restaurant that catered to every taste.

For the purist, omakase with Sakamoto-san is sublime. exilekiss was impressed from the very first item: hamachi toro (yellowtail belly), flown in from Tokyo. “As the wave of euphoria from the buttery goodness washed over me, I could tell that this was going to be a special place already. Simply amazing.”

And the rest of the sushi is that good, too, from kanpachi (amberjack) and shima aji (yellowjack) to hon maguro (bluefin tuna) flown from in from Morocco and otori ama-ebi (live sweet shrimp) from Santa Barbara. There’s sayori (needlefish), inada (baby yellowtail), and sazae (turban sea snail). And there are surprises, like fake “rice cracker” snacks made from the bones of Spanish mackerel fried at high temperature. And there’s some all-out decadence, like Kumamoto oysters topped with salmon roe, smelt roe, sea urchin, and quail egg.

Sakamoto-san’s knife work is excellent, says exilekiss, and he understands how to cut for the essence of each fish. This is certainly the best sushi in Orange County, and among the best in all of Southern California.

Maki-Zushi [Orange County]
1641 Edinger Avenue, Tustin

Board Link: Top Class Sushi… in Orange County(!)–Maki Zushi [Review] w/ Pics!

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