Ebisu Sushi serves a menu of raw and flame-kissed fare in a chic setting. Warm up with an appetizer of edamame sautéed in garlic ($4), or wade utensils through a house salad topped with wakame seaweed ($6). Specialty rolls such as the Sixth Avenue, a cucumber wrapper snuggling a quintet of fishes including tuna, yellowtail, and salmon, fetchingly outfit bare palates ($14), and the vegetarian Enigma roll sports tempura fried broccoli, shiitake mushrooms, and a hint of curry and decodes cryptic messages ($9). Diners who prefer terra-firma tastes can sup on selections including the chicken katsu dinner, fried chicken tenderloins coated in crispy panko breadcrumbs, served with steamed rice and vegetables ($12). Festive guests may retire to the lounge in the rear of the restaurant on weekends to enjoy a full array of libations and the sonic stylings of a fully tuned DJ.
Hive Sushi Lounge does indeed seem to be inspired by the artistry of bees. Though the sushi rolls aren't hexagonal, the chefs put as much thought into them as the insects would put into their royal honeycomb, crafting elegant plates of nigiri, sashimi, and more than 25 specialty rolls. Some of these dishes carry the hive theme even further—the nectar-style sashimi, for example, flavors salmon with orange-infused olive oil, and the queen bee roll wraps spicy yellowtail with yellow soy paper topped with red snapper.
Diners needn't leave all the construction work to the staff, however. Hive offers sushi-making classes six nights a week, teaching students how to make hand-rolls and nigiri at individual stations. If you'd rather sit and eat traditionally, sip a Japanese beer in the dining room, or head to the private Nectar Room. The event space provides parties with a sushi chef, a patio, and a PA system for announcing when someone doesn't know what tobiko is.
Subtly set into the street-level space of a Bankers Hill office building, Hane Sushi’s tall, smoked-glass windows shadow the spectacle within. Since opening in 2009, the elegant establishment is known for having the freshest fish and masterful sushi chefs. Many compare the sushi quality to that found in Japan, but Hane holds its own within San Diego. Whether studying the precise and delicate cuts from the safety of the understated bar, or enjoying a more relaxed experience with friends at one of the booths or tables, diners can select from the choicest cuts of sashimi, luxurious sushi rolls, a variety of miso soups and several appetizers. Sake tops the libations menu, along with Asian beer brands, and cocktails are served nightly from the full bar. Reservations are highly suggested for the small space. And while the neighborhood is pinched for parking during weekdays, it’s much easier to find after 6pm.
Raku unites authentic Japanese cuisine with the Spanish tradition of shareable tapas, crafting traditional eastern ingredients such as quail eggs, octopus, and seaweed into artistic, bite-sized presentations. Chefs specialize in robata, skewers of spiced meats grilled over specialty binchotan charcoal, which burns at up to 1,000 degrees to lock in flavor and provide an effective threat for mouthy paper lanterns. The bilingual staff can take orders in both English and Japanese, and complement bites with pours of imported Japanese beers and sakes.
At Tony's Sushi, guests feast on delicate plates of Japanese cuisine, ranging from sashimi and nigiri to steaming servings of chicken katsu curry and udon soup. The chefs concoct inventive rolls, such as the tempura shrimp Manager roll and the fried calamari and spicy tuna Alaska roll, to complement an array of classics. They stray from the conventional with oven-baked rolls, which they stuff with yellowtail, salmon, or crab and dare to omit adding the traditional requirement for oven-baked cuisine—pie crust.