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Narumi Sushi still offers specials and surprises in Lemon Grove

New outpost of a local’s favorite La Mesa spot is larger, no less winning

A $12 sashimi combo featuring ahi tuna, salmon, and yellowtail
A $12 sashimi combo featuring ahi tuna, salmon, and yellowtail

For several years now, Narumi Sushi, at the Fletcher Hills end of La Mesa, has been a favorite of my family. We’ve gone there for birthdays, when out-of-town relatives visit — any occasion we decide we want to eat together but no one’s willing to get stuck washing dishes.

Place

Narumi Sushi Lemon Grove

6950 Federal Blvd, Lemon Grove

Place

Narumi Sushi

9118 Fletcher Parkway, La Mesa

It’s a sushi spot that sits right at the sweet spot in the curve, where you see a rise in fish quality before you hit accompanying jump in price that goes with premium fish. Five or six years back, the place might still have been called a best kept secret. But word’s been out for a while, enough at least that in recent years, we consistently see Narumi’s small dining room full; often there's a line of customers waiting out front.

Narumi Sushi's new outpost in Lemon Grove

Which is why I’m glad to find a much larger space when I walk into Narumi’s newer outpost at the northwest boundary of Lemon Grove. A sushi restaurant is not new to this location at the southern terminus of College Avenue (6950 Federal Boulevard, Lemon Grove). At least two prior tenants of the freeway adjacent strip mall operated Japanese restaurants. I visited neither, but would bet Narumi finds a bigger audience for the property.

Asahi beer and a seared salmon nigiri happy hour special, $7.50 total

Parking was easy on a Saturday night, and there wasn’t a wait. But I was still in time for my old friend, the Narumi happy hour. Every day from 5 until 7pm, buying a large beer or bottle of sake gets you a 99-cent food item, chosen from a list including fried chicken karaage, and basic sushi rolls from California rolls to shrimp tempura. In my case, when I spent $6.50 on the same 22-ounce bottle of Asahi lager I would have ordered anyway, I scored a pair of delectable, seared salmon nigiri for less than a buck. I could not feel like more of a winner about this.

A larger dining room

We followed up with a $12 mixed sashimi combo that likewise offered memorable value. They might have worked better with a finer cut, but our six pieces of tuna, yellowtail, and salmon showed remarkably good texture and flavor for the price.

Pork katsu curry

This Narumi offers the same long list of special rolls that I’ve sampled over the years, which are pretty on par with So Cal style sushi restaurants. Meaning, plenty of them incorporate the likes of avocado, jalapeño, and/or pico de gallo. They’re mostly winners, especially when you order one of the $15 to $19 sushi roll combos, which lets you try half-portions of up to four different rolls, adding up to a welcome variety.

Salmon Skin hand roll

Narumi’s a solid choice for non-sushi Japanese meals. This latest visit, I got nostalgic and ordered a katsu curry, with a well-flavored sauce dressing the panko fried pork cutlet. My dad’s fond of the stir-fry yakisoba noodles. And if you’re after a combination of cooked protein and sushi, check out a menu of baked rolls, including a baked salmon roll stuffed with crab and grilled eel.

A spicy yellowtail hand roll, and tempura avocado hand roll

In other words, there’s a lot to like at Narumi, and I always seem to find something new to add to the list. For example, I knew I liked the restaurant’s hand rolls, so when we ordered salmon skin and spicy yellowtail hand rolls, there were no surprises. However, on a whim, I added the tempura avocado hand roll, which apparently I have been missing my whole life. It’s just about the perfect So Cal sushi snack. Okay, Narumi, I guess we’ll keep coming back.

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A $12 sashimi combo featuring ahi tuna, salmon, and yellowtail
A $12 sashimi combo featuring ahi tuna, salmon, and yellowtail

For several years now, Narumi Sushi, at the Fletcher Hills end of La Mesa, has been a favorite of my family. We’ve gone there for birthdays, when out-of-town relatives visit — any occasion we decide we want to eat together but no one’s willing to get stuck washing dishes.

Place

Narumi Sushi Lemon Grove

6950 Federal Blvd, Lemon Grove

Place

Narumi Sushi

9118 Fletcher Parkway, La Mesa

It’s a sushi spot that sits right at the sweet spot in the curve, where you see a rise in fish quality before you hit accompanying jump in price that goes with premium fish. Five or six years back, the place might still have been called a best kept secret. But word’s been out for a while, enough at least that in recent years, we consistently see Narumi’s small dining room full; often there's a line of customers waiting out front.

Narumi Sushi's new outpost in Lemon Grove

Which is why I’m glad to find a much larger space when I walk into Narumi’s newer outpost at the northwest boundary of Lemon Grove. A sushi restaurant is not new to this location at the southern terminus of College Avenue (6950 Federal Boulevard, Lemon Grove). At least two prior tenants of the freeway adjacent strip mall operated Japanese restaurants. I visited neither, but would bet Narumi finds a bigger audience for the property.

Asahi beer and a seared salmon nigiri happy hour special, $7.50 total

Parking was easy on a Saturday night, and there wasn’t a wait. But I was still in time for my old friend, the Narumi happy hour. Every day from 5 until 7pm, buying a large beer or bottle of sake gets you a 99-cent food item, chosen from a list including fried chicken karaage, and basic sushi rolls from California rolls to shrimp tempura. In my case, when I spent $6.50 on the same 22-ounce bottle of Asahi lager I would have ordered anyway, I scored a pair of delectable, seared salmon nigiri for less than a buck. I could not feel like more of a winner about this.

A larger dining room

We followed up with a $12 mixed sashimi combo that likewise offered memorable value. They might have worked better with a finer cut, but our six pieces of tuna, yellowtail, and salmon showed remarkably good texture and flavor for the price.

Pork katsu curry

This Narumi offers the same long list of special rolls that I’ve sampled over the years, which are pretty on par with So Cal style sushi restaurants. Meaning, plenty of them incorporate the likes of avocado, jalapeño, and/or pico de gallo. They’re mostly winners, especially when you order one of the $15 to $19 sushi roll combos, which lets you try half-portions of up to four different rolls, adding up to a welcome variety.

Salmon Skin hand roll

Narumi’s a solid choice for non-sushi Japanese meals. This latest visit, I got nostalgic and ordered a katsu curry, with a well-flavored sauce dressing the panko fried pork cutlet. My dad’s fond of the stir-fry yakisoba noodles. And if you’re after a combination of cooked protein and sushi, check out a menu of baked rolls, including a baked salmon roll stuffed with crab and grilled eel.

A spicy yellowtail hand roll, and tempura avocado hand roll

In other words, there’s a lot to like at Narumi, and I always seem to find something new to add to the list. For example, I knew I liked the restaurant’s hand rolls, so when we ordered salmon skin and spicy yellowtail hand rolls, there were no surprises. However, on a whim, I added the tempura avocado hand roll, which apparently I have been missing my whole life. It’s just about the perfect So Cal sushi snack. Okay, Narumi, I guess we’ll keep coming back.

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