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Sushi Ota and Gelato Vero reviews (San Diego)

petradish | Feb 6, 200608:28 PM

Visiting the folks recently, had an opportunity to eat at Sushi Ota and old fave Gelato Vero.

Sushi Ota was packed with early diners (6pm) and you def need a reservation as stated by other hounds. Bar seating set aside for one hour under the watchful eye of Shinichi, a very nice fellow.

I had the sashimi omakase and Mr. Creosote picked various items from the menu and specials board (he has particular seafood allergies and there are no substitutions on omakase).

We had:

local uni: Shinichi said it's considered some of the best and we'd have to agree, better than the Santa Barbara sea urchin we get in Los Angeles: first struck by its firmness and then liquid as it melted into cream on the tongue, followed by a gentle ocean mineral sweetness. Gorgeous.

baby abalone: faint briny flavor with crunchy texture like kelp. Requires a bit of chewing, but not as much as you'd think given the muscular nature of the beast.

great amberjack: smooth with a slight milky-astringent feel to the flesh

sweet shrimp: with their lives over seconds before serving, extremely fresh and a guilty giggle to see the angry heads twitching on the plate. Tender, soft, sweet, and nearly warm. Later on the heads were removed from us and returned fried crisp and served with spicy radish sauce.

tuna belly: reminds you of steak from the sea in its boldness, with veins of fatty flavor and melting texture. A tiny bit of tough fibrous string in the middle distrupted the experience somewhat, but tuna belly is tricky business from what I understand.

kumamoto oysters: tiny but plump little bundles served with a spicy sauce and scallions. Perhaps a bit too much heat obscured the goodness of their natural juices. But the texture was delightful and resisted seductively in the mouth. The aroma was great as well.

ankimo (monkfish liver): attractive fluted cut-out shape and on a bed of tasty kelp and soy-based sauce, a pleasant taste but wish it were more fatty, luscious, and over the top good.

octopus sushi: nice sized piece (not too big), moderately tender, sweet/briny flavor, just a whisper of wasabi, rice and nori were just right

uni sushi: decadent, yes, but can't beat more uni; a little too much heat from the wasabi though

Extremely fresh and satisfying experience overall. The brisk to-go orders pumping out of the kitchen made sort of strange bedfellows with the lovely assortment of primo seafood on offer. But they gotta do what they gotta do and I'm just glad to have such a lovely experience so close to my parent's home.

Dessert had to be a Gelato Vero, my old high school hangout. Pistachio (sweet, naturally voluptuous nut flavor), espresso bean (deep, lingering roasted essence), and vanilla bean (clean, bright, just sweet enough). Elegant mouthfeel.

Sushi Ota
4529 Mission Bay Drive

Gelato Vero
3753 India Street


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