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I’ve been going to Kiki Sushi for years. I believe that narrow dining patio in Hillcrest was the first place I ate sushi in San Diego. On nights when I want to be alone, I sometimes go to Kiki with a book. When the little one (who’s obsessed with teriyaki chicken and steamed rice) and I are looking for something outside our everyday routine but still familiar and comfortable, we go to Kiki. And when my mom comes to town, we often make a trip to Kiki as well.

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Teriyaki chicken bowl

After all this time, it was only yesterday that I realized the sushi’s not that great. It’s good, yes. Decent, but hardly swoon-inducing. I don’t believe every meal has to be orgasmic. Sometimes you just want to feed yourself and get on with it. Kiki is a few steps above that, but not too many. Let’s call it proletariat sushi. It’s the dependable working class of sushi joints. I can count on it, and it gets the job done. And I can get full without spending too much.

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Sushi sampler

Please understand there is a whole world of low-class sushi far below what you get at Kiki. Cheaper and cheaper, if you know what I mean. I recently went to a “half-price” sushi joint and discovered the secret to the low prices. Half-fish. Seriously. There was hardly any fish in the rolls at all. And at a certain buffet (I know. Buffet?), the fish is tasteless. Kiki’s fish is plenty, and it’s got some good flavor. But, like I said, I’ve had better.

Happy Hour at Kiki Sushi (5:00 – 6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday) is a good time to go and try it out. Discounted sake ($2.99) is great excuse to drink. And you can’t go wrong with Kirin Light and Sapporo ($1.99). Selected rolls are buy-one-get-one-at-half-price.

The dining patio is covered in plastic during the cold months. When it’s warm, though, they roll the plastic back, which makes for good people watching.

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Dining patio

Earlier this week, we stopped by to waste high-traffic time before heading down to Chula Vista. I wasn’t super hungry, so I decided to try the sushi sampler ($11.50) along with my Kirin Light. It was alright. The little one had the teriyaki chicken bowl ($5.99). Downed it.

Total bill: $21.18

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