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.
Riptide places diners in an exciting eating environment complete with teppanyaki shows and a menu of freshly prepared sushi and Japanese dishes. Watch as teppanyaki chefs master flame, knife, and grill while preparing dishes such as red snapper, a 10 oz. fillet ripped right from the wild, dressed up in fresh herbs and served with baby broccoli ($22.50). Indulge your stomach's request for delicates by selecting from a lengthy sushi menu, which includes more than 15 specialty rolls—wind your mouth around the lobster roll, an assembly of avocado, cucumber, crab meat, and lobster topped by a scrumptious cream sauce ($15). Keep your chewers in shape with shrimp- and crab-stuffed wontons ($10.95), fire-roasted artichoke ($9.95), and kung pao calamari ($9.95), or customize your culinary experience by opting for Riptide's combo, which offers guests their choice of a main course, a sushi roll, and a side dish ($12.95 for lunch; $19.95 for dinner).
Chef and owner Hisashi Araki fuses authentic Japanese cuisine with European influences, combining flavors of Japan, France, Italy, and Germany in his reinterpretation of sushi. The chef's Araki sashimi platter stages a performance of six specialty cold dishes that change to match the freshest daily market selections. Slices of yellowtail carpaccio entertain diners with notes of cilantro, serrano chili, and lively games of pin the tail with the chopsticks, and the scallops sashimi coats tender bivalves with a spicy yuzu sauce. Cuts of the tai japanese sea bream luxuriate under layers of dry miso and chives, drizzled with a hint of truffle oil. Guests can pair elegant slivers with a flight of five homemade sakes infused with fruit to tickle palates better than bites from a knuckle sandwich.
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.
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.