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

OB Sushi Sushi hooks Ed Ed Bed Bed

Get cheeky

My chicken katsu, with California roll and ginger-covered tomato on salad
My chicken katsu, with California roll and ginger-covered tomato on salad
Place

OB Sushi Sushi

4967 Newport Avenue, San Diego

"Who’s cooking tonight?”

JP looks at me like I’m supposed to know.

“No, that’s the question I always ask when I come into a restaurant,” he says. “If they don’t want to tell me, my antennae go up. Because I like authenticity. A lot of places dress up well, charge you top dollar, and deliver you mediocrity. I don’t accept that.”

This is happening at OB Sushi Sushi, a place I’ve dropped in to this Monday night. Actually, only came in because I was walking down Newport minding my business when I heard this girl’s voice.

“Hello, sir. You like Japanese food?”

Bunch of menus on stands surround her. Sushi place. Open. Which, being a Monday night around nine, I appreciate. I also appreciate her trying harder than all the other places here. The usual suspects, O.B. Noodle House, the Joint, Hodad’s are all crowded, of course. Others look like tombs. Guess I’m taken with this gal’s enthusiasm. And I haven’t had sushi for a while, and those boards outside are spouting plenty of deals. Why not?

Soup and Sapporo: Miso soup is free and the beer’s only $2

So, now I’m in this large room with creamy yellow walls and a big mural of Japanese gals and guys walking among bamboo trees. There’s a high bar for drinks and a low counter where the sushi chefs are. I sit at the high bar because I don’t think I’m going to be able to...justify my presence where the real sushi fiends sit.

Actually this place is pretty crowded, too. Long table of techie-type students are celebrating something. And the bar is full with what look like mid-level business execs, eating as well as drinking.

The gal, Nhi, turns out to be Vietnamese. She seems to know all about the Japanese food, though, especially the bargains.

JP (“No, I’m not related to JP Morgan”) has just had a proper meal and is ordering unagi — freshwater eel — from among the nigiri, as, uh, dessert.

And he’s leading the bar conversation. Joking about a German friend who wanted to order “cheek of fish” and instead got “chicken and fish.”

“Uh, cheek of fish?” I have to ask. Never heard of this one. I mean cachete de cabeza, cow’s cheek, in a taco, yes, and usually a pretty good piece of meat. But fish cheeks? I didn’t even know fish had cheeks.

“Oh, yes,” JP says. “Tastiest, tenderest part of the fish, if people only knew. But it’s small. Just behind the eye socket. Takes a delicate operation to cut it out. They do it here.”

He points to the appetizer section. Right at the bottom. “Hamachi Kama, $7.95,” it reads.

“Huh,” I say. “‘Hamachi’ is yellowtail, so ‘kama’ must be ‘cheek.’ But would it fill you up?”

“No way,” says JP. “But for the flavor and the tenderness, it’s enough.”

Problem: I’m hungry but have no spare bucks for luxuries. I ask Nhi.

“I think you want the dinner entrées,” she says. She points to the...okay, totally cliché dishes. Chicken teriyaki. Beef or salmon teriyaki. Chicken’s $8.95; beef and salmon, $9.75. Then there’s chicken katsu ($7.95) or chicken katsu don (“with vegetables,” says Nhi) or chicken curry ($8.95). Then they have “Banzai sesame chicken” and “Banzai orange chicken ($8.95).” Also, bulgogi beef broccoli, the Korean grilled dish ($9.95) or double onion beef ($9.95).

“These are best for you because you get salad, miso soup, steamed rice, and California roll, or gyoza or cream cheese wonton with it, same price.”

Freshwater eel

So I figure better to get this than bitsy myself to death on rolls and nigiri and appetizers (though I did kinda want to try Monkey Balls, which are fried stuffed mushrooms, cream cheese and spicy tuna — cost $6.95).

Natch, I go for the cheapest of the cheap, the chicken katsu. A nickel under eight buckeroos.

Sure glad I ordered it, though, because what comes is a big plateful. Breaded deep-fried chicken sliced and set around a bowl of teriyaki, plus a four-chunk California roll, rice, and a salad with a ginger-covered tomato on top.

Also, Nhi says Sapporo beer goes for $2 for a handle glass. Cool. I order one.

Meantime, I squish some wasabi into the teriyaki, add the flakes of ginger, and have at that chicken. It’s good. I mean, nothing remarkable, nothing super-exotic, taste-wise, but it’s doing its job, along with the rice, and at the right price.

“Here: you need to try something interesting,” says JP. Nhi has just brought him his two pieces of freshwater eel, each belted down onto its lump of rice by shiny black seaweed. Unagi, $3.50.

“This is my dessert,” he says. “Because it lived in freshwater, the flesh is slightly sweet. It’s how I like to end my meal.”

He’s an interesting guy. Tells me he has played chess masters, is into web development big-time, has worked for Boeing, Microsoft. And seems to know quite a bit about Japanese cuisine. “Try,” he says. He’s serious. I grab my chopsticks, pick up the flap of fish on its vinegar-rice boat, dip it a little in the teriyaki, and...wow. The man is right. Sweet meat.

“Only thing beats this is cheek of fish,” he says. Turns out cheek is a delicacy everywhere, like, from Japan to China to Turkey to Portugal. Has been since medieval times. It was famous all along the old Silk Route.

“These days, in the west, alas, people usually throw away the whole head of the fish, where all the flavor is,” JP says.

Mental note: Come back. Dare to get a little cheeky.


Prices: Chicken teriyaki, $8.95; beef or salmon teriyaki, $9.75; chicken katsu, $7.95; chicken katsu don (with vegetables), $8.95; chicken curry, $8.95; sesame chicken, $8.95; orange chicken, $8.95; bulgogi beef broccoli, $9.95; double onion beef, $9.95; freshwater eel unagi nigiri, $3.50; Monkey Balls (fried mushrooms, stuffed with cream cheese, spicy tuna), $6.95; cheek of yellowtail (hamachi kama), $7.95

Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. daily (till 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday)

Buses: 35, 923

Nearest bus stop: Newport and Cable

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Seven-fold growth in area near Rose Creek

Will nature-lovers get park in east Pacific Beach?
Next Article

Elizabeth Bishop: peer of Robert Lowell and Sylvia Plath

She wished to be judged on the basis of her talent, not the fact that she was a woman
My chicken katsu, with California roll and ginger-covered tomato on salad
My chicken katsu, with California roll and ginger-covered tomato on salad
Place

OB Sushi Sushi

4967 Newport Avenue, San Diego

"Who’s cooking tonight?”

JP looks at me like I’m supposed to know.

“No, that’s the question I always ask when I come into a restaurant,” he says. “If they don’t want to tell me, my antennae go up. Because I like authenticity. A lot of places dress up well, charge you top dollar, and deliver you mediocrity. I don’t accept that.”

This is happening at OB Sushi Sushi, a place I’ve dropped in to this Monday night. Actually, only came in because I was walking down Newport minding my business when I heard this girl’s voice.

“Hello, sir. You like Japanese food?”

Bunch of menus on stands surround her. Sushi place. Open. Which, being a Monday night around nine, I appreciate. I also appreciate her trying harder than all the other places here. The usual suspects, O.B. Noodle House, the Joint, Hodad’s are all crowded, of course. Others look like tombs. Guess I’m taken with this gal’s enthusiasm. And I haven’t had sushi for a while, and those boards outside are spouting plenty of deals. Why not?

Soup and Sapporo: Miso soup is free and the beer’s only $2

So, now I’m in this large room with creamy yellow walls and a big mural of Japanese gals and guys walking among bamboo trees. There’s a high bar for drinks and a low counter where the sushi chefs are. I sit at the high bar because I don’t think I’m going to be able to...justify my presence where the real sushi fiends sit.

Actually this place is pretty crowded, too. Long table of techie-type students are celebrating something. And the bar is full with what look like mid-level business execs, eating as well as drinking.

The gal, Nhi, turns out to be Vietnamese. She seems to know all about the Japanese food, though, especially the bargains.

JP (“No, I’m not related to JP Morgan”) has just had a proper meal and is ordering unagi — freshwater eel — from among the nigiri, as, uh, dessert.

And he’s leading the bar conversation. Joking about a German friend who wanted to order “cheek of fish” and instead got “chicken and fish.”

“Uh, cheek of fish?” I have to ask. Never heard of this one. I mean cachete de cabeza, cow’s cheek, in a taco, yes, and usually a pretty good piece of meat. But fish cheeks? I didn’t even know fish had cheeks.

“Oh, yes,” JP says. “Tastiest, tenderest part of the fish, if people only knew. But it’s small. Just behind the eye socket. Takes a delicate operation to cut it out. They do it here.”

He points to the appetizer section. Right at the bottom. “Hamachi Kama, $7.95,” it reads.

“Huh,” I say. “‘Hamachi’ is yellowtail, so ‘kama’ must be ‘cheek.’ But would it fill you up?”

“No way,” says JP. “But for the flavor and the tenderness, it’s enough.”

Problem: I’m hungry but have no spare bucks for luxuries. I ask Nhi.

“I think you want the dinner entrées,” she says. She points to the...okay, totally cliché dishes. Chicken teriyaki. Beef or salmon teriyaki. Chicken’s $8.95; beef and salmon, $9.75. Then there’s chicken katsu ($7.95) or chicken katsu don (“with vegetables,” says Nhi) or chicken curry ($8.95). Then they have “Banzai sesame chicken” and “Banzai orange chicken ($8.95).” Also, bulgogi beef broccoli, the Korean grilled dish ($9.95) or double onion beef ($9.95).

“These are best for you because you get salad, miso soup, steamed rice, and California roll, or gyoza or cream cheese wonton with it, same price.”

Freshwater eel

So I figure better to get this than bitsy myself to death on rolls and nigiri and appetizers (though I did kinda want to try Monkey Balls, which are fried stuffed mushrooms, cream cheese and spicy tuna — cost $6.95).

Natch, I go for the cheapest of the cheap, the chicken katsu. A nickel under eight buckeroos.

Sure glad I ordered it, though, because what comes is a big plateful. Breaded deep-fried chicken sliced and set around a bowl of teriyaki, plus a four-chunk California roll, rice, and a salad with a ginger-covered tomato on top.

Also, Nhi says Sapporo beer goes for $2 for a handle glass. Cool. I order one.

Meantime, I squish some wasabi into the teriyaki, add the flakes of ginger, and have at that chicken. It’s good. I mean, nothing remarkable, nothing super-exotic, taste-wise, but it’s doing its job, along with the rice, and at the right price.

“Here: you need to try something interesting,” says JP. Nhi has just brought him his two pieces of freshwater eel, each belted down onto its lump of rice by shiny black seaweed. Unagi, $3.50.

“This is my dessert,” he says. “Because it lived in freshwater, the flesh is slightly sweet. It’s how I like to end my meal.”

He’s an interesting guy. Tells me he has played chess masters, is into web development big-time, has worked for Boeing, Microsoft. And seems to know quite a bit about Japanese cuisine. “Try,” he says. He’s serious. I grab my chopsticks, pick up the flap of fish on its vinegar-rice boat, dip it a little in the teriyaki, and...wow. The man is right. Sweet meat.

“Only thing beats this is cheek of fish,” he says. Turns out cheek is a delicacy everywhere, like, from Japan to China to Turkey to Portugal. Has been since medieval times. It was famous all along the old Silk Route.

“These days, in the west, alas, people usually throw away the whole head of the fish, where all the flavor is,” JP says.

Mental note: Come back. Dare to get a little cheeky.


Prices: Chicken teriyaki, $8.95; beef or salmon teriyaki, $9.75; chicken katsu, $7.95; chicken katsu don (with vegetables), $8.95; chicken curry, $8.95; sesame chicken, $8.95; orange chicken, $8.95; bulgogi beef broccoli, $9.95; double onion beef, $9.95; freshwater eel unagi nigiri, $3.50; Monkey Balls (fried mushrooms, stuffed with cream cheese, spicy tuna), $6.95; cheek of yellowtail (hamachi kama), $7.95

Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. daily (till 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday)

Buses: 35, 923

Nearest bus stop: Newport and Cable

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Elizabeth Bishop: peer of Robert Lowell and Sylvia Plath

She wished to be judged on the basis of her talent, not the fact that she was a woman
Next Article

Eucalyptus transformed San Diego landscape, oleander sends me over the edge

Our rare Engelmann oaks, our most endangered plants, illustrated guide to local palms, a Fall guide to Zoo flora
Comments
1

Taika Sushi a few doors down....WAY better.

June 5, 2015

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Drinks All Around — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
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
Close