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Restaurants & Bars 6

Zip Fusion Downtown - a report

Colleen | Jan 28, 200606:08 PM

I saw a lot of negative comments on this board about Zip Fusion, so I was expecting absolutely mediocre sushi when I went there last night.

The problem was, it was 9:30PM and I had a big sushi craving. I live downtown, and most of the places would be closed by the time I made it over there.
I found two exceptions: Wokano, which I've had several times before and am NOT fond of, and Zip Fusion, which I had never even heard of before doing a Chowhound search.

First off, let me start by saying that I normally have sushi at Nozawa, Echigo, and Shibucho in Costa Mesa, so I have a pretty high standard for freshness and I generally stick to the fish, not a lot of crazy rolls and concoctions.

Bottom line: I was very pleasantly surprised by Zip Fusion's sushi, and it was a good value for the price.

A word of caution: Zip Fusion is not Japanese. The owner is Korean and most of the drinks (beer, wine, sake) are Korean as well. However, this was not a bad thing, as we came to find out.

We had a interesting Korean unfiltered cold sake called Suja. It was $12.95 for a 500ml bottle, and I really liked it... it had an interesting sweet flavor that grew on you with each sip. Opaque and slightly pink in color, a bit sweeter than Nigori sake.

We sat at the sushi bar, and our sushi chef was adorable, very friendly, and (like I mentioned above), not Japanese. He was from Mongolia. I guess that's where the "Fusion" in the name comes from - each sushi chef seemed to be from a different country, none from Japan!

I was very hesistant to order sushi, not knowing what I'd get, so we started slowly and worked our way up from there.

We had the following:
Maguro - really fresh and quite good; bright red with just enough firmness to give it a nice snap, but still buttery soft on the mouth
Hamachi - again, very fresh, buttery and melt-in-your-mouth good
Albacore - delicious, really surprisingly good

At this point, my confidence was up, so we started experimenting a little more:
Toro - this was absolutely amazing. It was presented on an oval dish, with a layer of ice at the bottom, covered with a banana leaf, then the toro arranged on top of the leaf, with a little taster of diced toro on top of each piece, decorated with edible gold flakes. I was shocked at how lovely it was! The toro itself was delicious. Fatty and succelent, and not at all stringy, as I've experienced in some of the Japan-town sushi houses.
Ama ebi - it only came with one piece per order, so I let my husband have the sushi (he said it was very sweet and good), and I had the fried head, which was crunchy and delicious.
Uni - I usually only order uni if I have a hunch it will be good, because bad uni is oh-so-bad. This uni was good. Not the best I've ever had, but fresh, sweet, and it totally satisfied the craving. I thought of ordering another, but was feeling full.
Baked lobster roll - This was our last roll. It was really big, and I didn't particularly like it. My husband loved it though. It was a cut lobster roll, topped with a big lump of some type of cooked lobster dish (it was so hot, you could see steam rising from it). The cooked portion had way too many onions for my taste (onions seemed completely out of place in the dish anyways, not to mention so many of them). But like I said, my husband really enjoyed it.

All-in-all, I was very pleased. And our sushi chef was so friendly and nice, that I would go back just to see him. Definitely a good place for late night sushi, since my favorite places all close early.

Transcendent, not even close, but very very decent.

Total tab before tip: $87 for two people
Most of this was alcohol (two $13 bottles of sake), $12 toro, $12 lobster roll, and mostly $4-6 for the sushi.

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