My list trip into SD I had the good fortune to eat at what are probably the two best sushi bars on Convoy (and maybe in all of SD)--Sakura and Katzra. I have already posted about each of them in the past, but I thought a brief note looking at them side by side might be helpful for SD sushi lovers. In both cases the fish was impeccable. Specials (Spanish mackeral--Aji) were the same, though Sakura presented the dish as sushi, and Katzra served it as sashimi mixed with horseradish.
The main differences are in emphasis and clientele. Sakura tries to maintain a true Japanese feel. While the menu is in English, specials are usually written in Japanese (though the sushiya is helpful at letting you know what he has). On the other hand, Katzra caters primarily to English speaking customers. All of the available sushi choices are posted on a board. Sakura has a wider range of cooked dishes. I had a wonderful deep fried whole sole with a ponzu sauce and a luscious creamy pumpkin soup. Katzra did serve me a nice Tai head, and the deep-fried head and bones of the aji, but if you wanted much cooked food, you would have to choose items from the adjoining Korean restaurant (Convoy Tofu House, which is probably the best tofu house on Convoy). Sakura tends to focus on traditional Japanese style sushi and sashimi. Another dish that I had there was shiokara, a home made specialty described on the menu as "salted squid guts." The sushi chef absolutely refuses to do such things as California rolls. The folks at Katzra are more open to California rolls and other "western" sushis. In fact I saw maguro wrapped like nori around a bit of rice topped with mayonaise and scallop chunks. Nonetheless, Katzra did have very good ankimo, monkfish liver, so it can serve very authentic Japanese items as well. Similarly, while Katzra has good sake, Sakura has a wider range of sakes, including a 3 sake sampler for those who can't make up there minds.
Overall, to say that one is better than the other isn't really fair to either. Both are very good, and San Diegans are fortunate to have two sushi bars as good as they both are. I just wish I could eat at both of them more often.
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