I will have to be frank. Food in LA is better than OC. Argue with me all you want, but I stand by that statement. LA is just bigger with more variety. This is not to say that you can’t find good food in OC. There are some great eats here and there. Of course, Vietnamese food is far superior here than anywhere else. Sushi is just solid, but not amazing. Taiko in Irvine used to be my usual hot spot, but as of late the sushi is incredibly low quality and inferior. Although, I have heard that the sushi bar is pretty impressive quality for the price. Even Mama H.o.P. is a fan! Anyways, Sushi Wasabi in Tustin had great reviews so I figured it was time to check it off my “to try” list. They make a big point of emphasizing the “no California rolls, only fresh sushi” policy. Smooth Obturator, Triple T, Triple F, and I came here for the omakase.
I will be brief in my descriptions because, honestly, I can’t think of much to say when it comes to sushi.
Solid. Swimming in ponzu, but I enjoyed it.
Red Fin Tuna (front)
The members of my dining party aren’t big fans of tuna. Not because it tastes bad, but mostly because it tastes like nothing. This tuna was no different.
Usually toro has a rich butteriness that distinguishes it from any other fish. This version had a pretty subtle richness. It was still enjoyable, but not impressive.
Red Snapper (New Zealand)
This was the beginning of a series of sushi where one piece would have a bit of shiso and the other would not. It was interesting to see how the addition of shiso would change the flavor profile of the fish and either enhance or ruin the fish. The flesh was tender and enhanced by the ponzu, but not the shiso.
Blue Crab Handroll
They were pretty generous with the crab. It was pretty darn good too, but not as good as Sugarfish. A tad over-mayo-ed for my taste but still delicious.
I’ve never been a fan of baked or dynamite anything. This had pretty interesting flavors for being baked. Usually all I taste is cheese, cream, or mayo in these dishes. This had hints of ponzu and a generous helping of onions. Smooth Obturator was gagging with all those onions, but I enjoyed it. The scallops looked small, like bay scallops and were not particularly special.
Yellowtail backside (front)
Everyone seemed to like the backside better than the stomach side. Both were delicious, fresh, and with that perfect yellowtail taste. The backside was probably a bit richer tasting so I think that is why everyone liked it.
Yellowtail stomach side (back)
Kumamoto Oyster (Seattle)
This was by far my FAVORITE dish of the night. I’m no fan of oysters. I never order them, and I hardly eat them. On occasion I will be impressed by an oyster, but it’s rare. These oysters did have a brininess, but without the ocean flavor that I dislike. I think the ponzu served to cut out some of that strong ocean taste. All that was left was this sweet, meaty oyster. They were so refreshing. I was in love. I wanted 3 more!
I could not tell what that thin sliver was on top of the salmon. In any case, the salmon was pretty solid.
I didn’t like the scallop at Sugarfish as much as I liked it here. It was cleaner tasting and less slimy. The shiso actually added something interesting. The squeeze of lime was also a nice addition.
Spicy Tuna Handroll
We were pretty stuffed by this point. Smooth Obturator was just waiting for his uni but we stopped after this handroll. I’ve had better spicy tuna, but this was pretty good. It just needed a bit more salt or soy. Something to enhance the spiciness and tuna flavor.
Shaved Ice strawberry, mango
Instead of making a separate entry for Guppy House, I’ve decided to just stick it in this one. Guppy House is a wildly popular cafe in Orange County. Originally located in Cerritos, a recent branch has opened up in Irvine. It’s a hotspot for all the Asian high school and UCI kids. The place is pretty small and always packed. The menu is pretty extensive for all the regular cafe eats: noodles, rice, popcorn chicken, butter toast, and of course, shaved ice. They are known for the fresh fruit served with the shaved ice year round. I’ve been pretty impressed with the quality of fruit even out of season. The mangoes were a tad bit disappointing that night. Some were sour and fibrous while others sweeter. The strawberries were pretty good. Overall, it was good, but probably wrong for the rainy cold night.
Sushi Wasabi was pretty solid sushi for the OC. Sugarfish is incredibly superior, but I would certainly come back to Sushi Wasabi if I were in the area. The oysters alone are enough to get me coming back for more. The place wasn’t crazy expensive either. It probably came out to ~$60 per person for omakase and everyone was STUFFED. And of course, the shaved ice at Guppy House was a yummy dessert to end the evening.
14460 Newport Ave
Tustin, CA 92780