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An ocean of Konnichiwa Sushi

Options abound at colorful La Mesa Village spot

Sushi roll after roll: there are 44 different specialty rolls on the menu at Konnichiwa Sushi.
Sushi roll after roll: there are 44 different specialty rolls on the menu at Konnichiwa Sushi.

It’s not a huge place by any means. The pandemic sidewalk parklet probably holds as many customers as the dining room, if not more. We’ve grabbed our seats out there, sunglasses on, to bask in the afternoon sunshine. But as I start to look over the menu, I have to switch to my reading glasses. Because it’s loooong. I count 44 option on the specialty rolls alone and 58 rolls overall. If you count hand rolls, it’s 66. However you want to look at it, that’s a lot of reading.

Place

Konnichiwa Sushi

8350 La Mesa Boulevard, La Mesa

It’s been a few years since I’ve visited Konnichiwa Sushi & Bar, in La Mesa Village. I remember it feeling smaller — both the venue and the menu. But the walls are still covered in cartoonish artwork, courtesy of the owners’ street artist son. The comic book vibe is what I remember most.

I certainly don’t recall this much reading, but as I pore over the list of rolls, only a handful feature surprising ingredients — calamari, habanero, sliced orange. Most of them feature tempura shrimp, spicy crab salad, or some combination of the two. More like, every convenable combination of the two. The whole list is a lot to process, and though I know our small group winds up ordering five or six different rolls, I can’t keep track of which ones. Just that, statistically speaking, at Konnichiwa, most pieces will feature eel sauce and/or avocado.

Colorful walls inside a small sushi bar

There’s significantly less confusion about my 15-piece, chef’s choice sashimi combo. Priced at 30 dollars, I reason that two bucks per piece of sashimi already sounds like a pretty good deal. When the narrow platter arrives, it looks like a really good deal. I count 18 slices of fish — a combination of salmon, yellowtail, ahi tuna, and albacore.

A rainbow roll from Konnichiwa Sushi

But it doesn’t end there. Amid a colorful presentation where the usual pickled ginger and wasabi garnishes are joined by julienned carrots, seaweed salad, and an orange carved into a small vase for a decorative flower; there is yet more seafood. The chef saw fit to include some eel, a scoop of spicy tuna, and some of that spicy crab salad.

The menu called it a 15-piece sashimi combo for $30. It actually features 20 pieces of seafood.

It’s not the absolute finest fish you’ll find in a San Diego-area sushi restaurant, but it’s better than quite a few notable budget spots doing business around the county. After all, Konnichiwa is not a budget sushi restaurant, it’s more of a mid-range place that prepares 8-10-piece rolls ranging from $15-20 apiece.

Occasionally, the place is even said to serve local fish, though when I ask, none is available this afternoon,. Which surprises me, because the menu appears to include the entire contents of the ocean, both near and far.

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Sushi roll after roll: there are 44 different specialty rolls on the menu at Konnichiwa Sushi.
Sushi roll after roll: there are 44 different specialty rolls on the menu at Konnichiwa Sushi.

It’s not a huge place by any means. The pandemic sidewalk parklet probably holds as many customers as the dining room, if not more. We’ve grabbed our seats out there, sunglasses on, to bask in the afternoon sunshine. But as I start to look over the menu, I have to switch to my reading glasses. Because it’s loooong. I count 44 option on the specialty rolls alone and 58 rolls overall. If you count hand rolls, it’s 66. However you want to look at it, that’s a lot of reading.

Place

Konnichiwa Sushi

8350 La Mesa Boulevard, La Mesa

It’s been a few years since I’ve visited Konnichiwa Sushi & Bar, in La Mesa Village. I remember it feeling smaller — both the venue and the menu. But the walls are still covered in cartoonish artwork, courtesy of the owners’ street artist son. The comic book vibe is what I remember most.

I certainly don’t recall this much reading, but as I pore over the list of rolls, only a handful feature surprising ingredients — calamari, habanero, sliced orange. Most of them feature tempura shrimp, spicy crab salad, or some combination of the two. More like, every convenable combination of the two. The whole list is a lot to process, and though I know our small group winds up ordering five or six different rolls, I can’t keep track of which ones. Just that, statistically speaking, at Konnichiwa, most pieces will feature eel sauce and/or avocado.

Colorful walls inside a small sushi bar

There’s significantly less confusion about my 15-piece, chef’s choice sashimi combo. Priced at 30 dollars, I reason that two bucks per piece of sashimi already sounds like a pretty good deal. When the narrow platter arrives, it looks like a really good deal. I count 18 slices of fish — a combination of salmon, yellowtail, ahi tuna, and albacore.

A rainbow roll from Konnichiwa Sushi

But it doesn’t end there. Amid a colorful presentation where the usual pickled ginger and wasabi garnishes are joined by julienned carrots, seaweed salad, and an orange carved into a small vase for a decorative flower; there is yet more seafood. The chef saw fit to include some eel, a scoop of spicy tuna, and some of that spicy crab salad.

The menu called it a 15-piece sashimi combo for $30. It actually features 20 pieces of seafood.

It’s not the absolute finest fish you’ll find in a San Diego-area sushi restaurant, but it’s better than quite a few notable budget spots doing business around the county. After all, Konnichiwa is not a budget sushi restaurant, it’s more of a mid-range place that prepares 8-10-piece rolls ranging from $15-20 apiece.

Occasionally, the place is even said to serve local fish, though when I ask, none is available this afternoon,. Which surprises me, because the menu appears to include the entire contents of the ocean, both near and far.

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