Sushi Ota

I have heard about Sushi Ota for a long time.  I have always had the sense it was THE sushi place in San Diego.  I couldn’t tell you what that is based on or where I got that notion from.  In any case, when I finally made my way down to San Diego for a tennis tournament of sorts I wanted to be sure to hit up this spot.  Lucky for me, Token Bear and Care Bear call San Diego their home so they gladly joined me here even though they’ve dined here before.  Unlucky for me, there were no reservations for the bar.  I was pretty disappointed, but I still wanted to take my chances and see what quality sushi could be had at the tables.

Spicy Tuna Roll
I rarely eat rolls these days when I sushi it up, so it’s actually nice to eat them.

Soft Shell Crab Roll

Care Bear, who does not like to see that the protein she eats actually at one point had a face, legs, or a tail or pretty much anything that makes it a living, moving, breathing animal, slightly hesitated at the idea the soft shell crab roll.  But the best thing about Care Bear is that she’s such a sport about things and down to try new things.  She thought it was pretty good.


Token Bear really liked the albacore but I thought it was the worst of the night.  The texture of the fish was too soft, bordering on mushy.  Two thumbs down.

Chu Toro

I prefer this over O toro, which is just too fatty.

Not bad, but not great.  Mama H.o.P. probably would have been pleased at the extra long piece of sushi.

Token Bear never had scallop before.  This wasn’t bad, but its hard to beat Ohshima’s offering.


I forget the name of this fish.  It was a special for the night.  I know it’s a fish I’ve had before.  It was a clean white fish.


Another fine choice, but I’ve had better.

Sweet Shrimp

Care Bear was leery of the preparation of sweet shrimp, with its whole served fried or in miso soup.  The shrimp itself was nice, but not the prettiest I’ve seen.


Care Bear and Token did not know that the sushi at the bar is higher quality than what is served to the tables.  At Sushi Ota, I can tell you for a fact that if the fish at the bar isn’t at least higher quality in taste, it is definitely higher quality in appearance.  I saw the uni they were serving at the bar.  It wasn’t shapeless orange blobs like this uni here.  Despite being bottom-of-the-barrel on a visual level, the taste was excellent.  It was probably the best sushi of the night.  I don’t usually order Ikura, but Token Bear made a good choice.  It was pretty good.  I think I am acquiring a taste for these little saline sacks.


Clean tasting, but a bit sinewy.

Shrimp Heads

Care Bear kept an arm’s length distance from these bodiless heads swimming in some tangy, ponzu like sauce.  I told Token Bear how to eat the heads, in its entirety making sure not to poke the inside of your mouth of gums with all the pokey parts.  I’m pretty sure Care Bear’s happy glowing smile was stifling the squeamish distaste that writhed inside of her as we crunched down on these guys.

Green Tea Ice Cream Mochi
I will almost never order this anywhere since I can pick it up in the freezer section of my local Asian supermarket.  I will almost never order green tea ice cream because I’ve never been a huge fan of the taste.  Lately, that’s been changing and matcha has grown on me.  And that night, I was REALLY craving ice cream.  I wanted tempura ice cream, but they did not have that.  I settled.


Happy Birthday Care Bear!
Most times I eat to just eat, but sometimes I eat for an occasion.  Yes, I was in San Diego to play tennis, but that didn’t deserve any celebrating at that point.  Just profuse sweating from pressure and anxiety to win, but more on that later.  Care Bear was turning the big **.  Doi, I’m not gonna reveal her age.  Nobody is even supposed to have real names on this thing.  Let’s just say she was turning 20.  Wonderful age that 20.  Look how happy she is!
Obviously I was expecting my mind to be blown at Sushi Ota, but I think I’m gonna have to wait for that experience when I get a seat at the bar.  I’ve eaten at plenty of places that had just so so sushi at the tables but AMAZING sushi at the bar.  My palate for sushi might be a little high browed, so in absolute terms the sushi at Ota was just OK.  The rolls were good though.  The price point is what really kills Ota for me.  It was expensive for the quality.  Care Bear and Token Bear seemed to like it, but I can’t help but feel that the better sushi would be found at the bar.  Ten years ago I think I woulda pretty darn impressed with the sushi here, but I am older, wiser, and snobbier.  Knowing this, please take my recommendation with a grain of salt.  It kinda pains me to give my final rating as such…
10 – You NEED to eat here
9 – Awesome!
8 – Very good
7 – Good
6 – OK
5 – Average (for the table experience)
4 – Not bad (if you factor in price point)
3 – Not good
2 – Terrible
1 – Do NOT go here

Sushi Ota, I’m coming back to eat at the bar next time!

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