This place has one of the worst names I could think of. Why is Sushi the modifier and California the noun? I would’ve kept accidentally calling it California Sushi if G didn’t keep harassing me to say it correctly.
The place is on an abandoned side street and halfway underground, making it impossible to notice from any major road. Totally suggests hole-in-the-wall, which, paired with 4 stars on yelp, gained our attention. We went in on a slow Monday night around 8 o’clock, so there was only one guy eating at the bar and three professional-looking diners at another table. The guy in particular talked extremely loudly to the sushi chef about the costs of running a restaurant whilest the chef looked bored and simply answered him in nods. I wish they were drowned out by the guitarist sitting next to the entrance but I honestly can’t remember any music during the meal, so he might have given up trying to entertain such a small crowd. Or I was too hungry to notice. Note to self: remember not to eat sushi when hungry. It is one of those rare foods that do not fill me up at all and I might as well treat it like a luxurious snack or instead of dessert.
We started with some free edamame and C got the veggie tempura, which was exactly how tempura should be – freshly fried and crisp, with immaculate veggies showing through the transparent, crackly batter. I tried a mushroom, but it was a bit greasy for me, perhaps because it was on the very bottom and soaked up the oil. At least, I hope that was the case. This was a huge serving, but at 11 dollars, it’s what you’d expect.
Sorry for the phone pic quality!
Don’t trust the specials posting online though. It said my crazy roll (9) with hamachi/tobiko/tuna/avo/cucumber was a dollar off but it was not on the actual specials board, and neither were many of the others. I apologise for being the least sophisticated sushi eater ever. Everything tasted..as sushi should taste. I don’t enjoy or understand sashimi so all I know about this meal is that I had the rare occasion to eat some animal protein and didn’t like it much. I didn’t think I should/could give up fish last year when I ate it once a week, but now I can’t enjoy it. This is also a guess, but I think the fish shouldn’t have been in tiny chunks in the roll, but in larger pieces. Wow, my lack of sushi knowledge is really hurting this post. The whole experience was kind of unremarkable, though. I’d sooner get some at Berkeley Bowl than come back. I don’t use the ginger/wasabi much, but G is a wasabi gal and she didn’t think it was strong enough.
It was nice of them to include some slices of oranges and grapes at the end. The waitress forgot to charge for the spicy tuna roll, so we made up for it in tips. All in all, ho-hum ambience, acceptable price and portion for sushi, and a reminder that I don’t know anything about sushi except that I can inhale a roll in a few minutes and feel no different.
Like a lot of sushi places, this is what they specialize in and there aren’t many other options. You have the option between one kind of udon and a couple teriyaki bowls, along with traditional appetizers like agedashi tofu, oysters, or natto. But I’d go somewhere else.