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Best of 2000: Best Sushi

Sushi Ota
4529 Mission Bay Drive,
Pacific Beach
(858) 270-5670

Begin with the shrimp and vegetable tempura. Both the shape of the items -- a long, symmetrical oval of carrot -- and the close, clinging quality of the still-hot batter hint at the precision of the kitchen. After that, a surrender of the will: whatever $40 worth of sashimi will bring. First out, two small pieces of cooked salmon, sweet and fatty, sitting in a little pool of broth, tiny strips of ginger and lime mixing with the taste of shallots -- cool and delightful. Then the platter: two long strips of salmon resting on scent-lending lime wedges, four squares of tuna, four strips of mackerel. (If you are the sort who judges a sushi restaurant by either its tuna or its salmon, you may enjoy the debate as to which is superior.) On one side, a hollowed-out lemon rind holding two chewy, briny giant clams, and on top of them, two rich, buttery sea urchins. In the center, their noses pointed toward the ceiling, two large shrimp heads, their just-removed, still-pulsing tails a few inches away. The shrimp meat is gelatinous and delicate in flavor. Shortly after the empty platter is removed, the shrimp heads make a second appearance -- cooked now, and yielding intense sweetness.

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Sushi Ota
4529 Mission Bay Drive,
Pacific Beach
(858) 270-5670

Begin with the shrimp and vegetable tempura. Both the shape of the items -- a long, symmetrical oval of carrot -- and the close, clinging quality of the still-hot batter hint at the precision of the kitchen. After that, a surrender of the will: whatever $40 worth of sashimi will bring. First out, two small pieces of cooked salmon, sweet and fatty, sitting in a little pool of broth, tiny strips of ginger and lime mixing with the taste of shallots -- cool and delightful. Then the platter: two long strips of salmon resting on scent-lending lime wedges, four squares of tuna, four strips of mackerel. (If you are the sort who judges a sushi restaurant by either its tuna or its salmon, you may enjoy the debate as to which is superior.) On one side, a hollowed-out lemon rind holding two chewy, briny giant clams, and on top of them, two rich, buttery sea urchins. In the center, their noses pointed toward the ceiling, two large shrimp heads, their just-removed, still-pulsing tails a few inches away. The shrimp meat is gelatinous and delicate in flavor. Shortly after the empty platter is removed, the shrimp heads make a second appearance -- cooked now, and yielding intense sweetness.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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