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Restaurants & Bars 4

Wa Sushi

Thi N. | Oct 21, 200406:45 PM

I was taken to Wa Sushi by a regular.

It was pretty goddamn great.

Had a bunch of things - a few cooked dishes, a bunch of creative-type sashimi combos, straight nigiri of the highest quality.

A few of the dishes, like, er, mackeral sashimi (?) with some sort of sweet jellied substance and jalapeno, suffered from blockage problems. Like, I couldn't really taste the fish, beneath the jalapeno and sweetness.

A few of the dishes - most particularly, tuna momentarily seared and topped with truffle oil - were pretty spectacular. Had never expected to like so frou-frou sounding a thing as tuna with truffle oil. But the truffle oil is clear in the right places - I could taste the tuna all the way down, the dense trufflishness sitting warmly but not-to-heavily atop.

Chu-toro was exceptional. Sorry, I really can't describe really great sushi very adequately. Luscious, with that intense tuna tang, expansive, simultaneously pushy and cuddly. One of the two best tuna experiences of my life - the other (from an earlier, wealthier period of my existence) at Kabuto Sushi in San Fran, which considers itself sort of in the tuna elite for the whole U.S.

I was told that this was particularly fine chu-toro by my companion. We ordered more.

Two servings of yellowtail (hamachi) nigiri - one with a single wheel of jalapeno, one with a bit of raw daikon. This hardens my anti-jalapeno resolve. I think it completely blocks the sweeter, quieter flavors. Especially on yellowtail, which contains, in its tangy elements, the dancey-est flavors of sushi. My first piece of yellowtail - with the jalapeno - tasted mostly of the jalapeno. The second piece, with the daikon, was incredible. Could taste so much more. Made me sad for the waste of that first piece.

There was mushroom risotto, which was pleasant, and perfectly fried shrimp head. Very delicate batter, crisp. I love fried shrimp heads.

Final piece looked like a normal uni roll, but beneath the mound of uni, between the uni and the rice - little julienned bits of raw squid. Surprising. Brought out the sort of starchy suaveness in the squid, creamy suaveness of the uni. Very fascinating in the mouth.

There was much more. I can barely remember.

During the course of it, I chatted up one of the chefs. He lived in Torrance. He was impressed that I knew of Otafuku for soba. He said that there were two other soba places as good, neither of which I heard of. He drew me a map. It's currently lost somewhere on my desk. I hope I find it.

Anyway, yeah. Great place. I tend to dig my sushi pure and unadorned, but they made me happy. The cooking is... sort of goofy and friendly. Not the kind of rigorous purity, every-inflection-perfect, but a more expansive, sweeter, more fooling-around sort of thing. Some of the stuff is incredible.

Definitely a step above Tama, and far above Echigo.

Will be trying Shibucho in South OC soon.


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