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Himitsu vs. Sushi Ota: Who has the best sushi in San Diego?
We all know (or we do now) that Sushi Ota has the reputation of being the best sushi in San Diego. And it does not disappoint. The fish is fresh, perfectly seasoned and just plain old mouthgasmic. Yes, mouthgasmic is my new word. Go ahead, keep reading. I think you'll agree that we should induct this word into the dictionary.
"What is Sushi Ota known for" you ask? UNI. That's right. Delicious golden pillows of melt-in-your-mouth sweet goodness. I'm drooling as I re-live my uni eating experiences.
Himitsu was opened recently in La Jolla by a former sushi chef from Sushi Ota, Chef Mitsu. Alongside Chef Mitsu works his brother, Chef Matsu, creating the wonderfully simple, yet elegant pieces of fresh fish that we ate all night. Well, until our 8 PM bedtime started creeping up.
Which brings me to the seared A5 Wagyu beef and uni sushi we had at Himitsu. THAT was the best thing I ever put in my mouth. BEST THING. The uni complemented the seared wagyu to perfection. Neither overpowered the other, but instead worked in a harmonious melody together. Poet am I not.
Which brings us to the question: Who does it better?
Sushi Ota or Himitsu?
Let us see....
Sushi Ota opened in 1990 and has been a San Diego favorite for many years. Located in a small strip mall right off Mission Bay Drive, the outside is quite unassuming. Inside, there is far more space than there appears to be from the outside - it's deceptive.
First we ordered the monkfish liver, grilled kama (yellowtail collar), and a small side of fried rice.
The monkfish liver was amazing. It was so fresh and delicious it quickly became one of our favorite dishes of the evening. And yellowtail collar is always a tasty way to get your taste buds ready to go (as if we ever really need that).
We then moved on to the first go-round of sashimi. Ordering the uni, salmon belly, sweet shrimp (amaebi), scallop, o toro and egg, we were in total heaven. Everything was perfect. The salmon belly is always one of my favorites, beautifully fatty and delicious. But nothing beats out the uni. It was perfect. And the o toro...I mean what can I say, it melted in my mouth and left me wanting more. Which we ultimately ordered.
Of course we couldn't just be done after that. We went on to try the Spanish mackerel, the giant clam, halibut, and of course more salmon belly, o toro and uni.
And we had it. That's all we could eat.
We spent the rest of the evening marveling about how wonderful our meal had been. Then went to bed at 8 PM to rest our weary food eating bodies.
Himitsu opened it's doors earlier this year and has been a new hot spot ever since. A tiny little place in the heart of La Jolla (near the Cove), the sushi bar serves 8 so make your reservations early to get a spot at the bar!
Chef Mitsu does an amazing job with all the dishes he has created. The fish is some of the freshest I've tasted and the tapas menu includes some real slam dunks.
We started with the miso black cod, which was one of the best pieces of cooked fish I have ever had. We also ordered the seared scallops which were served with this delicious corn puree. The scallops were cooked to perfection, and the corn puree was good enough to lick off the plate. Which we almost did. There was definitely some discussion about it. Serious discussion.
And then it was on to the sushi. We has heard the soft shelled crab roll here was good, so we started with that, and man was it tasty. Although it's not soft shelled crab season, the flavor of the crab was fresh and delicious.
On to the toro! All were good, but the o toro was obviously the favorite here, with it's fatty deliciousness. And then the salmon belly. Oh salmon belly, how are you so good? Fat. That's how. Delicious fat. And we can't forget the uni. That deliciously sweet San Diego uni.
We went on to order the scallop (hotate), which was perfect, served with a touch of lemon and sea salt sprinkled on top. I could have eaten 20 more pieces, it was that good.
Then we asked Chef Matsu (he was our wonderful sushi chef) to surprise us. He made us what I now consider the best thing I've ever eaten. Seared A5 wagyu sushi topped with uni. It was perfection. You saw the picture earlier. Tell me that is not something you want to have. Over and over again. It's possible I swished it around in my mouth for far longer than what is acceptable to just keep the flavors going. But alas, I had to swallow eventually. So we just ordered more...
And then we tried the perch, halibut, Spanish mackerel and Japanese sardine. The sardine was surprisingly amazing!
And then some more uni, and some more uni, and maybe just a touch more uni and we were done.
Is there such a thing as too much uni???
Which place has the best sushi in San Diego?
It's almost impossible to say. Each offers a slightly different, but almost equally amazing experience. The menu at Sushi Ota is much more extensive than Himitsu, but that in no way hindered our experience. Himitsu did not have the monkfish liver I so adore, but Sushi Ota did not have the to-die-for A5 wagyu uni sushi.
The uni and salmon belly served at both places was amazing. I honestly couldn't tell the difference.
I really love the scallop and Japanese sardine at Himitsu, while I must say the seared o toro at Sushi Ota won my heart.
The service at both was impeccable.
If you tied me down and forced me to choose which one has the best sushi in San Diego, I would choose Himitsu. I enjoyed the personal service, the location (you can take a nice stroll around the Cove after dinner), and of course the food. While the menu selection was not as extensive, I was extremely happy with their offerings.
Plus, who doesn't want to support a new blooming business?
Who do you think has the best sushi in San Diego? What's your favorite thing to order at a sushi restaurant? Have you tried either of these places before? What's your favorite?
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