Thursday, May 22, 2008

Tasty Sushi in Orange County, California

Let's face it-sushi or sashimi can be either the most delicious thing you have ever put in your mouth or horrible. People either love the idea of eating out of the sea raw fish or shutter and grimace at the thought.


As a fan of this cuisine, I have tried several places within Orange County, California. Let's face it you stay where you are most comfortable and for me, the "OC" has been home for all but the first 5 years of my life. My entire family-even the newly teenaged niece and nephew have an affinity for the freshest and best of japanese "good eats".
These were some of our favorites:

O-nami's Seafood Buffet located in the Laguna Hills Mall. It is a buffet, but the restaurant has an attentive wait staff, so you never have a table full of dirty, empty dishes hanging around. Drinks are forever being re-filled without looking around. At any given time there are over 40 types of sushi being freshly prepared right in front of you. They also have an extensive hot food section, salad section and even a dessert bar. This enables everyone-non raw fish lovers included-to go home more than satisfied. Thankfully the mall is there for before and after exercising!
You and I Sushi in Laguna Hills. While not a buffet, this small strip mall family-run venue has a version of it by giving you one hour and a check off menu. We all have but one thing to say however, while the food has always been quite good, the service here is quite spotty. One visit had them second guessing us by serving us some of our favorites before we even got into our chairs, while another time we had nary a bite after the one hour limit, at which point they served everything on our personalized menu to our table within 15 minutes!
Osaka's Japanese Restaurant in Laguna Niguel. This is quite the hopping place! Beside offering a sushi bar with a very helpful master of the art, there is also a teppan area. We've done both. The food is excellent, great for celebrating a special occasion-especially the teppan side where the show is deftly performed by very talented chefs. Because it's located right outside the popular Nellie Gail area, you have a very upscale crowd populating this restaurant.
California Beach Sushi in Newport Beach has been around since 1985. It's a rather typical glitzy spot for this part of the county.
I Love Sushi Japanese Restaurant in Costa Mesa has been around and considered to be one of the county's most beloved institutions for this cuisine. Nothing too fancy, but just plain good.
Osu's in Westminster is another stalwart of the county's-I remember my father loving their miso soup and sushi back when I was in college-in the mid-'70's. It's a bit dark for my taste, but the decor and the good food, as well as the service, has never waned.
Again, sushi and sashimi is a love it or hate it type of cuisine, but the great thing about all of the above mentioned is that they all serve the traditional cooked Japanese fare as well.
Carine Nadel is on The Reader's Advisory Panel of Woman's Day magazine and has had numerous articles and recipes published both on various websites and print publications. To read more of her work, log onto: