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Review - Sushi Ocean Blue in Agoura

The Wiz | Feb 25, 200811:34 AM

This is a very nice looking restaurant inside. Very well decorated and not overcrowded with too many tables. Our haole waitress was also very nice.

Unfortunately, this was the worst sushi I've had in over twenty years in of eating sushi LA and five in Honolulu before that. The fish was warm. The coldest piece of sushi that I had was the cooked octopus. The edamame was overcooked and gray and the house "premium" sake was below average.

The sushi itself was weird. The sushi rice did not taste authentic, very plain, no nice vinegary sweetness. It was tough and about the same (room) temperature as the fish, which was tough and about the same (room) temperature as the rice. In most sushi-lovers opinion, good sushi has slightly warm, lightly flavored rice under cool fish. The other thing that made it weird was the fact that all the different raw cuts we ordered were put on one plain white round plate with no discrimination or decoration. The citrusy sauce (ponzu?) that is so good on the lighter fish was all over the tuna, and the tuna had no discernible flavor. The cuts themselves were three times the length of the tough little piece of rice, making for uncomfortable handling. I don't mind generous slicing, but this was just odd and inappropriate.

I've heard that there is a movement afoot that would have a "governor's board" comprised mostly of mainland Japanese sushi chefs that would accredit (or in this case, discredit) sushi bars and chefs worldwide. This would be a very welcome thing to me. While I certainly don't mind non-Japanese people opening sushi bars, I think that some standards would benefit us all. Otherwise it just seems like some people, who come from countries with awesome cuisine of their own, particularly Koreans, are cynically trying to cash in on a rightfully expensive and hopefully profitable dining experience. I've certainly had great sushi in restaurants that aren't Japanese owned or managed, Sushi Zawa in Burbank comes to mind, so it's not a big beef of mine unless there is no quality control beyond making sure that the prices are commiserate with the good sushi bars.

By the way, Korean food, which is EXPENSIVE here in SoCal, is the less expensive alternative for lunch or dinner in Hawaii! Now I didn't inquire as to whether or not Ocean Blue is Japanese owned and managed because it really shouldn't matter in this day and age. It just seemed like cheap, cynical imitations of good sushi and sake.

The beer was good, and the view is nice, so if that's enough for you, have at it. One more thing; it was a darkish, rainy day and they close after lunch at 2:30. We got there just after 2, which is plenty of time for comfortable service. At 2:31, the other waitress turned the lights off inside the restaurant. Too bad for them, we eat out a lot and tip very well. I just hope our waitress finds a better job.

We'll stick to Ori Sushi, which has been our favorite since Sato-san sold Takahashi and went back to Japan. Agoura Sushi is really good too, they just seem to appeal to a louder, party-hearty type of crowd in the evenings (no harm having fun!) and we're a quiet little family :). They are talented chefs, though, and the menu is usually innovative.

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