Multitudes of sushi, sashimi, and sake selections grace candlelit tables in Sushi Zen Bistro's spacious Triangle Square lounge. Eager diners and Jungian analysts will adore an appetizer of Jalapeño's Dream ($9.95), a piquant fried pepper stuffed with crab, spicy tuna, avocado, and cream cheese, wrapping taste buds in spice and an odd sensation of weightlessness. Choose a robust recipe such as the yaki beef, thinly sliced rib eye marinated in teriyaki sauce ($14.95) or dive into rice-laden sushi and sashimi delicacies. Savory selections include the baby lobster roll (cut roll, $11.95; hand roll, $9.95) with avocado and cucumber wrapped in soy paper, and the baked halibut roll (cut roll, $12.95; hand roll, $7.95) packed with crab, avocado, and asparagus. More particular palates can curb carbs with rice-free rolls ($9.95), soy-paper snuggled and filled with a tasty medley of flavorful ingredients, or keep voracities vegetarian with fish-free options such as the veggie Zen roll (cut roll, $9.95; hand roll, $7.95), loaded with yam tempura, avocado, cucumber, fried jalapeño, and gobo, a Japanese root vegetable. Innovative cocktails ($7.95), red and white wine ($6.95–$9.95), beer ($4.50–$8.95), and more than a dozen varieties of sake ($3–$17.95) complement chopstick choices and make for lavish beginnings to evenings at the movies, dancing dates, or the courting of a comely kraken.
Geisha House, a modern Japanese restaurant and sushi bar, fuses classic dishes and sushi rolls with a contemporary flair in a chic interpretation of a traditional geisha house. The Cowboy roll ($12) lassos fillet of beef, asparagus, scallion and cream cheese, and the surf 'n' turf roll ($22) combines lobster and filet mignon in a sweet sesame-miso sauce. The chef prepares grilled mongolian lamb chop with creamy sesame and cucumber salad ($21), and gently lulls baby japanese eggplant ($11) to sleep with sweet miso and wasabi cream sauce and a hypnotic battle rap. The 10-ounce grilled Kobe rib eye steak ($46) plunges into Asian barbecue dipping sauce and comes flanked by sautéed asparagus life preservers.
Pigging out is not often encouraged, but it's a welcome and apt approach to eating Balboa Barbie-Q's Big Pig sandwich. Starting with hearty heaps of pulled pork and hot links, the sandwich then takes on four slices of bacon and a flood of BBQ sauce. Like all of Balboa Barbie-Q's meats - including ribs, chicken, and brisket - the Big Pig's pork and hot links are slow-smoked daily in a custom-made smoker. From there, the meats fill sandwiches or team up with house-made sides like potato salad and slaw on a platter. And due to the freshly made dishes, the tangy aroma of BBQ sauce wafts throughout Balboa Barbie-Q, encouraging patrons to chow down in bayside eatery's indoor and outdoor dining areas, which offer stunning views of Newport Harbor, the Pacific Ocean, and poker-playing seals.
Crafted from fresh ingredients such as bigeye tuna, albacore, and quail eggs, Shinkou Sushi's hand-rolled delicacies treat palates to hearty bites of authentic Japanese flavor. An extensive menu beckons diners to choose from sashimi supplied in half dozens, hand and cut maki rolls, and more than 10 sushi combos. After choosing their wrap or rice preferences, customers can build their own rolls from ingredients such as hamachi, imitation crab, and radish sprout, or sample more than 15 specials, including a las vegas roll dispensed directly from the restaurant’s slot machine. Visitors seeking nonraw alternatives can savor one of Shinkou Sushi's many appetizers, salads, and rice bowls, all of which can pair with bottles of sake. In addition to biweekly happy hours, Shinkou Sushi grants free delivery of both cuisine and drinks to patrons ordering $25 minimums within a designated 3-mile area.
Sushi Yun's menu opens up to reveal more than 40 specialty rolls along with nigiri and sashimi. Patrons can dine in or take out classic rolls such as the salmon tempura roll or the boston roll, which is flown in daily because it only grows properly in the fields of its namesake city. Guests can sit at the bar and keep watch over spicy-tuna tempura rolls as they are made, head to wooden tables for jovial group dining, or stave off appetites a little longer by participating in karaoke on select nights.