It’s been awhile since I’ve posted a dining review, but I didn’t think it was fair to post this so closely to Urasawa. Interestingly enough, this meal took place just 3 days after that incredible evening. This would be the last time the Mooms man and I flew up the I-5 to meet up with Kevin, and Ryan for a farewell Cali Omakase at Orange County’s Sushi Shibucho.
Our amuse of sorts was this marinated bamboo and tofu. I never get excited about tofu but I liked this. Soft and sweet next to the crunchy bamboo it was a nice gateway to the textures and flavors to come.
The tai came in two forms, one bare and one topped with yuzukosho. I’m weary of too much spice overwhelming the fish, but here it was added in the right amount.
Otoro and Maguro were presented next. They both came with a heavier application of wasabi to balance out the richness of the tuna. I felt our Itamamae was a bit heavy handed with the wasabi in general – but I will say I’m sensitive on account of indigestion. The versions of both were pleasant, but not particularly memorable.
This was my first experience with this type of clam. I’m not generally a fan of Hokkigai, but here the sweeter flavor and softer texture won me over.
Everyone agreed that this was a very strong showing of Horse Mackerel, the addition of ginger and scallion did nicely to cut the strong fishy flavor.
No crabstick here, just a wonderfully sweet, snappy piece of snow crab. Quite nice.
Kinki fish was another first for me, I remember it as somewhere between squid and scallop with a lighter flavor.
A thick, melty slice of amberjack. Every cut of fish was very generous, while the rice was kept to a traditional thumb-sized bed. There would be no complaints about ratios from our party.
The darker color meant the sweeter Santa Barbara variety. This was one of the best pieces I’ve had anywhere.
The albacore ended up being my favorite tuna of the night, the additional of grated daikon did nicely to lighten the richness of the fish.
This was actually a first for everyone at the table. KevinEats first encounter with a sushi item? Rare indeed. This was salmon roe that had been marinated in the original sack. It had a much brinier, almost caviar like taste with next to no semblance of sweetness.
This was a pretty standard piece of salmon. Pleasant, but forgettable.
Definitely my favorite of the night, and up there with the best I’ve had. Here the sweet sea-eel was complimented by a touch of salt. Definitely ask for this if you visit.
A second piece of snapper, but this one had been marinated in kelp to accentuate the brinier flavor of the fish.
The squid was the expected snappy texture with a light flavor – another one that was a bit heavy on the wasabi for my liking, but otherwise pleasant.
The spanish mackerel was probably the richest, oiliest pieces I’ve tasted. In case that doesn’t sound appetizing – it was. Everyone agreed, another highlight of the night.
I’m just not the biggest fan of surf clam, but I could recognize that this was a decent piece. Mildly sweet with the traditional chewy texture.
I believe this was my first time having kanpyo.I really liked the sweetness of the gourd, especially when alternating bites with the tangier ume-shiso roll.
This was an sweeter, eggier version of the traditional meal closer. I actually prefer this version of more cake like versions found elsewhere.
and then we really finished off with a sweet marinated cucumber and piece of daikon to aid in digestion. (Factoid courtesy of Ryan.)
Having visited only 3 days after experiencing arguably the best in the States, some may think that my ability to enjoy Shibucho would have been hindered , but that wasn’t the case at all. No, the experience wasn’t even near that of Urasawa, but was a hell of a lot closer than the discrepancy in price. All of this was had for around $60 a head – about a 10th of the price for a seat in front of Hiro-San.
Shibucho is definitely a bargain for the quality of the items, everything was beyond acceptable with a good number of standouts. As always, I had a great time with Ryan, Kevin, and the Mooms-man. For a much better review of this meal, you can check out what Kevin had to say here.