Because their art has a small and edible canvas, sushi chefs must specialize in precision. They pick tiny yet often intense ingredients, packaging them neatly together for the best visual and flavorful presentation. At Tabu Sushi Bar & Grill, the challenge of their task is doubled—they wield spicy add-ons whose heat must balance the crispness of the seafood. The spicy lobster roll, for example, tops its mix of lobster, cucumber, and avocado with a drizzle of Sriracha sauce. There's also the sushi burrito, one of several fusion appetizers that wraps shrimp tempura and crab in soy paper, primed for dipping in house salsa.
Stuffed jalapeños, sushi tostadas, and rolls with habanero sauce bespeak the restaurant's fascination with the southwest. Still, there are classic Japanese dishes to be had. Entrees of chicken katsu and miso-glazed Chilean sea bass make for filling dinners, whereas bento box and teriyaki bowl lunch specials satisfy afternoon cravings. Hand rolls package eel and salmon skin inside seaweed shaped like a cone hat, which the staff imports directly from mermaid parties.
A Japanese-owned-and-operated dining destination, Hyuga Sushi combines time-honored sushi techniques with the freshest seafood available to create both classic and creative Japanese fare. The sushi menu includes a full net of specialty rolls such as the Samurai ($9.50), a hunger-slaying combination of fresh crab, avocado, cucumber, and yamagobo topped with mackerel and ginger, or the Felix ($12.50), a fun-loving concoction of crab, avocado, and shrimp tempura, topped with smoked salmon and spicy mayo, kept in line by the more reclusive Oscar roll. A selection of skillfully sliced sushi-bar entrees ($12.95–$20.95) further sates unbaked yens, and the equally tempting lunch and dinner menus offer a variety of nonsushi dishes ($6.50–$14.50). Hyuga's intermingling of tradition and modernity is further exemplified in its décor, which marries traditional Japanese design with iconic American photographs, including a young Marlon Brando long before he developed his voracious appetite for tempura-battered furniture.
Whether you’re in the mood for Japanese specialties or Korean barbecue, Aria Sushi & BBQ offers flavors from both regions on its expansive menu. Taste soft tofu soup, spicy ramen noodles, bulgogi, bibimbap and other Korean specialties. Alternatively, Aria’s chefs can create specialty rolls for a tempting sushi dinner. Fresh rolls range from the Sumo, in which tuna and spicy crab are draped with white tuna, to the Spider Rainbow, whose soft-shell crab and four-fish blend refract into 56 shades of light.
The delicate subtlety of Fuji Yama Sushi & Thai Cuisine's exotic selection of sushi rolls, nigiri, and sashimi serve as a cool yin to the yang of a hearty selection of flavorful Thai fare. Immerse tongues in a full-fledged savory saturnalia of entrees, such as the curry duck, whose crispy exterior and curry kimono flank veggies and jasmine rice ($18.95), or the whole red snapper topped in chili sauce, peppers, and onions ($24.95). The eatery's sushi menu houses more than 50 specialty rolls created by skilled uncooks, including the Sexy Man roll, a savory medley of tuna and avocado topped with tempura eel, roe, and sexy-man sauce ($12.95), and the massive King Kong roll, which contains more sea creatures than Poseidon's guest house ($16.95). All sushi comes with a choice of a seaweed-, rice-, or soy-paper exoskeleton, and the adventurous nigri selection showcases such options as quail egg ($1.25/two pieces) and conch ($4.75/two pieces).
Sport Sushi showcases seafood and rice in myriad combinations under the glow of six mounted flat-screen TVs that broadcast sports games. Spicy yellowtail hand rolls, stacks of nigiri, and salmon rolls fill the menu, which also boasts specialties including tiradito, a dish that pairs thinly sliced raw fish with spicy citric olive oil, and cabo tataki sashimi, seared tuna with spicy garlic and cilantro ponzu sauce. Parties can settle down at tables or perch themselves at the sushi bar where they can watch the chef’s agile hands through glass panels or simply stare lovingly at their own reflections.
Garnet Avenue in Pacific Beach boasts a carnival of eating and drinking establishments, but locals in the know gravitate to PB Mika Sushi for fresh fish with a casual, friendly ambiance. For nearly a decade, amiable owner Asako Fujio has helmed this authentic sushi joint that seats 44 patrons. Fresh fish at supremely reasonable prices is the theme here, and it’s a good one. Diners enjoy yellowtail sashimi, oysters, octopus, uni and a variety of rolls, but simple and decadent. The Caterpillar Roll features eel, cucumber, crab and avocado with eel sauce, while the chef’s special Ryan Roll is a tantalizing beauty – spicy tuna, cucumber, albacore, avocado and ponzu sauce. The casual feel comes in the form of sake bombs, sports on flatscreens and savvy sushi masters enlivening the scene with their fun, upturned banter.