Walter Mencken 10:05 a.m., April 30
Proletariat Sushi in Hillcrest
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.
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.
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.
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