I would give the sushi options in OC two thumbs up. From Nana San to Ohshima to San Shi Go, the sushi is top notch and not crazy expensive (San Shi Go excluded). Now I can add Sushi Noguchi to that list of excellent sushi restaurants. While its a bit of a trek from the part of OC I call home, I am always willing to travel for good eats.
As you can see, Sushi Noguchi isn’t as great of a bargain as Nana San and Ohshima but that has not stopped it from making a name for itself with the local media. We went with Hiro’s Omakase.
Butterfish olive oil, yuzu, green onion, daikon
As I’ve said time and time again, to truly judge a sushi place you must sit at the bar. For a Saturday night, the restaurant was not too busy and the reservations I made for the bar probably were not necessary. We started off with butterfish prepared two ways. One was topped with daikon and onions, while the other was yuzukosho and daikon. Both were delectable. The richness of the olive oil played well against the bright acidity of the yuzu.
Tako sake marinated wasabi stem
The tako was a good balance of chewy tenderness. The marinated wasabi stem was the standout component. Wasabi’s infamous zing that shoots straight to your sinuses was very much tempered here. A bit of sugar and a lot of sake, or something else really alcoholic, rounded things out.
Maguro, Hotate, Kinmedai
Everything was fresh and on point
King Crab miso with crab innards
I don’t know what has happened to me, but I think I am finally getting used to the distinct flavor of shiso. I used to find it offensive, distracting, and off putting. Now I can sort of appreciate the distinct herbaceousness. I could have done without it, as the ginger and onion was flavor enough for the aji, but overall it was still very enjoyable. One of the better ajis I’ve had since Japan probably.
Fresh and clean.
Amaebi with Miso Soup
Kinmedai yuzu kosho, lightly torched
Golden eye snapper is usually served straight up in my experience, but the light scorch here was amazing.
Sea Bream yuzu kosho
Fresh and clean.
Sweet and with that distinctive chewy crunch of giant clam.
Deliciously fried and crispy.
Toro marinated wasabi stem
Excellent toro with that marinated wasabi stem again.
Torched Halibut with Foie Gras
Halibut is usually a pretty ho hum fish, but torching it brought out some more flavor and the foie gras just made it sinful. YUMS!
Torched Halibut Fin yuzu kosho, foie gras oil
Another torched fish, but with some extra kick from the yuzu kosho. I can’t say I noticed the foie gras oil too much.
Negitoro Hand Roll
I was absolutely stuffed by this point. The hand roll was fatty but really delicious.
Sushi Noguchi definitely did not disappoint. The sushi was fresh and high quality. They did a fair number of torched sushis, which made each successive one a little less exciting. However, all were still really delicious. The foie gras topped halibut was certainly one of the omakase’s unique highlights. It’s definitely not as much bang for your buck like Nana San or Ohshima, being around ~$100 per person as opposed to ~$50 per person. I paid double for a less satisfying experience at the famous Sushi Zo. I can say with confidence Sushi Noguchi is worth a visit for any OC sushi lover with decent sized pockets. All in all, two thumbs up!
10 – You NEED to eat here
9 – Awesome
8 – Very good
7 – Good
6 – OK
5 – Average
4 – Not bad
3 – Not good
2 – Terrible
1 – Do NOT eat here