If you can take your focus off of the live shrimp, you can hear Chef Aki talking to a regular about one of his signature items. On my first visit to the recently opened Akinori Sushi, I was lucky enough to sit in front of Chef Aki on a Saturday night..and I do mean lucky, the man already had quite a following from his time at Surfside in pacific beach, and I can only see it growing now that he’s running his own place in Hillcrest. Chef Aki starts with the freshest ingredients. Take these live shrimp for instance, still moving moments before being eaten. The amaebi body is good enough, but my favorite part is was the deep fried head where the salty crunch of the shell lead way to a surprising amount of sweet shrimp meat.
Fans of fried shrimp shell, will likely appreciate fried shad bones as well. Ask if they have any additional lying around from on the stunning sashimi platters.
Akinori sushi will pass the test of even the more discerning sushi palates. Beautiful cuts of toro, chu-toro, and aji were given proper amounts of freshly grated wasabi, while some of the best local San Diego uni I’ve tasted was simply crafted over loosely packed, slightly warm shari to accentuate the natural sweetness of the urchin.
Chef Aki displayed his skill further with his choice of accouterments on other pieces. Uni butter that topped a scallop so delicate it was almost creamy, a sweet umeboshi sauce for the snappy tako (another item that was still moving), and a combination of sea salt and ponzu for rich pieces of anago.
I rarely order rolls and often skip dessert, but I would highly recommend the softshell crab and could never turn town a scoop of green tea ice cream from a generous host.
The food alone warrants a visit, but Chef Aki’s humble demeanor and friendly staff make the trip all the more worthwhile. Chef Aki obviously prides himself not only on his culinary skill, but the experience he provides. If you’re looking for great sushi and an equally great interaction, Akinori Sushi has you covered.