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Great Lunch at Ozumo, Newport

torta basilica | Mar 20, 200512:45 PM

As my husband spends about half a year in Hawaii & Tokyo, I had to drag him kicking & screaming to this new Japanese restaurant - it was my B-day, so he finally relented on his vow to never eat sushi on the mainland again. Original is in San Francisco & they've been getting good reviews since they opened in Fashion Island, but very difficult to get an evening weekend resv.

The recently started serving lunch - we sat at the sushi bar - Abe was our chef - charming with a beautiful smile. Also had choice of restaurant or robata bar seating. Watched another chef, Toshio started preparing entire fish for sushi, including what had to be a $400 or more side of ahi. Fascinating watching him prepare the nori with paper thin slices of whole heavily salted hamachi laid on top & rolled up to sit for 24 hours to prepare it for tomorrow's rolls. Just had hamachi, maguro, ebi & ikura sushi - hamachi was by far the best & I think best indicator of their freshness. Slices a little on the small side, but that would be only complaint - perfect rice, perfect tempurature, lovely presentation. My husband had what he said was excellent miso & a soft shell crab tempura salad, which was delicious, but a little heavy on the tempura. I had udon in daishi broth with tempura & ordered a side of ebi tempura - they were huge & delicious. Loved the udon noodles - perfectly fat & chewy. Top layers of veg tempura great, but got soggy towards the bottom - I would ask them to serve it separately with the shrimp the next time & just dip. Side salad, little coffee jelly dessert included, one $11 sake - came to $67 - not a cheap lunch, but it was very delicious, fresh, authentic, great service & we'll be back. So happy to finally have a sushi bar on the mainland my husband will go to!

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