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Japan + Philadelphia at Nozomi

Not-so-ancient Japanese secret

The Philadelphia Hand Roll. Throw some soy sauce in there and nosh it like lox and schmear.
The Philadelphia Hand Roll. Throw some soy sauce in there and nosh it like lox and schmear.
Place

Nozomi Sushi & Teriyaki

4637 Convoy Street, San Diego

It’s been more than a couple years since I’ve started submitting Feast! stories, and there are a few wonderful places I haven’t been willing to share with the general public because I don’t want y’all blowing up my spot. A great example is Nozomi Sushi & Teriyaki.

Admittedly, I’ve never tried the teriyaki, because the sushi’s just too good not to order. Nozomi used to offer an all-you-can-eat sushi lunch special that inspired me to great heights of gluttony for 25 bucks, including tip. That special was axed years ago, and I miss it often. But the quality of fish remains high, and I still make a seasonal pilgrimage.

Nozomi Sushi & Teriyaki

These days, the lunch specials are more humane — reduced-price 5-piece rolls and nigiri for under 2 bucks apiece. While I can no longer afford to gorge on 20 pieces of fish as I did in my prime, these prices still allow me to sample a few pieces, determine which I like best that day, and then order a second round of my favorite nigiri to finish the meal. On my most recent trip, the hamachi (yellowtail) and ono (wahoo) were particularly delicate and flavorful, and I capped lunch with three apiece.

I also added a guilty pleasure. Hand rolls are not on the lunch special menu, but there’s one that I’ve come to crave: the Philadelphia.

Using cream cheese in sushi rolls may be a little controversial. A lot of people, gaijin included, consider it an aberration. No, it’s not the most authentic ingredient, and given that Japanese cuisine is one of the only in the world that developed unmolested by global commerce and influence, people are more likely to be upset by Western deviations in sushi than, say, the appearance of chili peppers in a Chinese stir fry.

If I suggest sharing a Philadelphia roll while dining with friends, there’s almost always somebody who shouts me down. But I don’t hear people complain that Italian cuisine adopted the America-indigenous tomato as its own. Or that avocado has become as prevalent in sushi rolls as tempura shrimp.

I’m down with ditching authenticity if it means a little cream cheese with my salmon, itself a late add to the sushi canon — even if I have to go it alone. Which makes this cone of nori hand-rolled around salmon, avocado, and cream cheese just the right size add-on to lunch.

Nozomi can cater to sushi purists every day of the week with a wide variety of excellent fish at reasonable prices. Plus, they don’t judge my cream cheese indulgence or when I overdo it on the uni (sea urchin).

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The Philadelphia Hand Roll. Throw some soy sauce in there and nosh it like lox and schmear.
The Philadelphia Hand Roll. Throw some soy sauce in there and nosh it like lox and schmear.
Place

Nozomi Sushi & Teriyaki

4637 Convoy Street, San Diego

It’s been more than a couple years since I’ve started submitting Feast! stories, and there are a few wonderful places I haven’t been willing to share with the general public because I don’t want y’all blowing up my spot. A great example is Nozomi Sushi & Teriyaki.

Admittedly, I’ve never tried the teriyaki, because the sushi’s just too good not to order. Nozomi used to offer an all-you-can-eat sushi lunch special that inspired me to great heights of gluttony for 25 bucks, including tip. That special was axed years ago, and I miss it often. But the quality of fish remains high, and I still make a seasonal pilgrimage.

Nozomi Sushi & Teriyaki

These days, the lunch specials are more humane — reduced-price 5-piece rolls and nigiri for under 2 bucks apiece. While I can no longer afford to gorge on 20 pieces of fish as I did in my prime, these prices still allow me to sample a few pieces, determine which I like best that day, and then order a second round of my favorite nigiri to finish the meal. On my most recent trip, the hamachi (yellowtail) and ono (wahoo) were particularly delicate and flavorful, and I capped lunch with three apiece.

I also added a guilty pleasure. Hand rolls are not on the lunch special menu, but there’s one that I’ve come to crave: the Philadelphia.

Using cream cheese in sushi rolls may be a little controversial. A lot of people, gaijin included, consider it an aberration. No, it’s not the most authentic ingredient, and given that Japanese cuisine is one of the only in the world that developed unmolested by global commerce and influence, people are more likely to be upset by Western deviations in sushi than, say, the appearance of chili peppers in a Chinese stir fry.

If I suggest sharing a Philadelphia roll while dining with friends, there’s almost always somebody who shouts me down. But I don’t hear people complain that Italian cuisine adopted the America-indigenous tomato as its own. Or that avocado has become as prevalent in sushi rolls as tempura shrimp.

I’m down with ditching authenticity if it means a little cream cheese with my salmon, itself a late add to the sushi canon — even if I have to go it alone. Which makes this cone of nori hand-rolled around salmon, avocado, and cream cheese just the right size add-on to lunch.

Nozomi can cater to sushi purists every day of the week with a wide variety of excellent fish at reasonable prices. Plus, they don’t judge my cream cheese indulgence or when I overdo it on the uni (sea urchin).

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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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