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Sushi hot spot, sushi night spot

Everything and everyone looks terrific

Miso-glazed black cod, served on a bed of vegetables
Miso-glazed black cod, served on a bed of vegetables

India Street is typically thronged on a Saturday night, its city best restaurant scene luring every manner of date night, birthday celebration, and — is that a bachelorette party? I’m forced to wonder, what is the upscale restaurant seating capacity in Little Italy these days? And is it enough? Half of these restaurants weren’t here two years ago, but they’ve slid right in to attract their share of proverbial butts in seats.

Place

Cloak & Petal

1953 India St, San Diego

Fashionable ones at that. We squeeze in to the last two seats at the sushi bar in the back of Cloak & Petal, where the clientele is decidedly dressed for a night out, gals in cocktail dresses and guys in sleeves rolled up enough to show just the right amount of arm tattoo.

The La Jolla Parkway roll, no soy sauce required

Cloak & Petal took over what had once been envisioned as a full-service taco restaurant fronting a speakeasy, and kept that spot’s most distinguishing feature: an oblong island bar framed by a pair of artificial olive trees. In a somewhat brilliant turn, Cloak & Petal has re-purposed these as cherry blossom trees, and they look as though they were intended for a Japanese eatery from day one.

The pink and white blossoms, piped in music, large format artworks, and cushy seating options lend a loungey vibe. The former speakeasy in back is now home to a sushi bar, and added dining space, which has proven vital. Every table is booked, many of them young adults, soaking up the food, booze, and music, and it’s tough to tell whether they’re just beginning a night out, or if dinner is the night out.

As I sip on the restaurant’s signature cocktails, a delicious house version of a Manhattan made with sesame-infused Japanese whiskey, I peer through the glass shielding the sushi bar to admire the glistening cuts of raw fish lined up and ready to slice. Ordering the belly sashimi plate (bluefin tuna toro, salmon belly, and yellowtail belly) seems like a no-brainer, and a relatively easy 32 bucks to spend.

On the other hand, $125 for eight ounces of dry aged wagyu strip steak is out of our reach. Bear in mind, this is A5 wagyu, making it one of the best, most beautifully marbled steaks on the entire planet, which can retail over a hundred dollars per pound. If could swing it, I most definitely would, and I’d probably embrace the option to add two ounces of uni for an additional $30. Big spenders, stoke your appetites and tell me how it was.

For the rest of us, only the steaks really go for broke. Six ounces of perfectly executed miso glazed black cod melts in your mouth for a relatively harmless $22, and I’d gladly repeat the experience. Upon return, I will also dip more into the nigiri menu, where I mentally note the availability of branzino, but my friend convinces me to go with a sushi roll she recommends, dubbed the La Jolla Parkway roll. No regrets. Spicy tuna and avocado inside, topped with yellowtail and dressed with cilantro, garlic and jalapeño, the maki comes plated on a red habañero hot sauce so good I want to swear off soy sauce and horseradish wasabi forever.

Cloak & Petal revamped its menu and experienced some chef turnover early on, but it seems to have found a fine groove. I found it an outstanding experience when I showed up this night, and it’s quite evident from the music and the crowd that I am late to the party.

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Miso-glazed black cod, served on a bed of vegetables
Miso-glazed black cod, served on a bed of vegetables

India Street is typically thronged on a Saturday night, its city best restaurant scene luring every manner of date night, birthday celebration, and — is that a bachelorette party? I’m forced to wonder, what is the upscale restaurant seating capacity in Little Italy these days? And is it enough? Half of these restaurants weren’t here two years ago, but they’ve slid right in to attract their share of proverbial butts in seats.

Place

Cloak & Petal

1953 India St, San Diego

Fashionable ones at that. We squeeze in to the last two seats at the sushi bar in the back of Cloak & Petal, where the clientele is decidedly dressed for a night out, gals in cocktail dresses and guys in sleeves rolled up enough to show just the right amount of arm tattoo.

The La Jolla Parkway roll, no soy sauce required

Cloak & Petal took over what had once been envisioned as a full-service taco restaurant fronting a speakeasy, and kept that spot’s most distinguishing feature: an oblong island bar framed by a pair of artificial olive trees. In a somewhat brilliant turn, Cloak & Petal has re-purposed these as cherry blossom trees, and they look as though they were intended for a Japanese eatery from day one.

The pink and white blossoms, piped in music, large format artworks, and cushy seating options lend a loungey vibe. The former speakeasy in back is now home to a sushi bar, and added dining space, which has proven vital. Every table is booked, many of them young adults, soaking up the food, booze, and music, and it’s tough to tell whether they’re just beginning a night out, or if dinner is the night out.

As I sip on the restaurant’s signature cocktails, a delicious house version of a Manhattan made with sesame-infused Japanese whiskey, I peer through the glass shielding the sushi bar to admire the glistening cuts of raw fish lined up and ready to slice. Ordering the belly sashimi plate (bluefin tuna toro, salmon belly, and yellowtail belly) seems like a no-brainer, and a relatively easy 32 bucks to spend.

On the other hand, $125 for eight ounces of dry aged wagyu strip steak is out of our reach. Bear in mind, this is A5 wagyu, making it one of the best, most beautifully marbled steaks on the entire planet, which can retail over a hundred dollars per pound. If could swing it, I most definitely would, and I’d probably embrace the option to add two ounces of uni for an additional $30. Big spenders, stoke your appetites and tell me how it was.

For the rest of us, only the steaks really go for broke. Six ounces of perfectly executed miso glazed black cod melts in your mouth for a relatively harmless $22, and I’d gladly repeat the experience. Upon return, I will also dip more into the nigiri menu, where I mentally note the availability of branzino, but my friend convinces me to go with a sushi roll she recommends, dubbed the La Jolla Parkway roll. No regrets. Spicy tuna and avocado inside, topped with yellowtail and dressed with cilantro, garlic and jalapeño, the maki comes plated on a red habañero hot sauce so good I want to swear off soy sauce and horseradish wasabi forever.

Cloak & Petal revamped its menu and experienced some chef turnover early on, but it seems to have found a fine groove. I found it an outstanding experience when I showed up this night, and it’s quite evident from the music and the crowd that I am late to the party.

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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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