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What a difference a couple of weeks make.

Last time I was in here the place was clanging with carpentry and metal work. Last night, with three massive glass doors swung out onto Fifth Avenue and C Street, this corner was suddenly cool with the opening of Ogawashi (“Fifth and C” in Korean), at 1100 Fifth Avenue (619-358-9170).

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The patio isn’t quite ready yet. But inside, with its blue bar and separate sushi bar and décor by Paul Basile, who did Art and Commerce, these guys are off to a serious start.

I came in about six. Sat up to the bar, and straight up, Christina and Tony came to see what I wanted.

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’Course what I wanted was Happy Hour.

The basic deal was that you got a little pitcher of sake with any drink you bought, and a bowl of edamame and miso soup were going for $1 each. I got one of each, plus a Sapporo 16oz draft for $5.

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Actually I got two Sapporo. So that meant two free jiggers of hot sake. Amazing how powerful they felt. Okay, it doesn’t take much with me. Whatever, I sure felt it start to rock my boat.

Of course this is still in the soft opening phase. My luck was that Don King the executive chef...

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...was giving away samples of his craft.

OMG.

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Tuna special, with 24-carat gold

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Scallop special

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Beef sashimi

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Yellowtail

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Yellowtail close-up

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Albacore

It’s a crime to eat these things. They really are art…

Mr. Yi the owner says that their lunchtimes have been packed. Which I’m relieved to hear, because some businesses struggle in this part of downtown.

I guess that’s partly because Ogawashi and its doors look so cool, and partly because they have a $10 “lunch box” special which sounds like a total deal.

It includes things like chicken, steak, or salmon teriyaki, kalbi (short ribs), sashimi, and nigiri, plus miso soup, rice, salad, mixed tempura, and California roll.

“We were crowded from the first day,” says Mr. Yi.

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Mr. Yi

So hey, gotta try that lunch box. In the meantime Mr. Kim’s beautiful samples had me wondering if I was here or down the other end of this avenue.

At Nobu.

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