San Joaquin Magazine honored Cocoro Japanese Bistro & Sushi with the Best Sushi award in its Best of Joaquin issue this year; the restaurant was also featured in the magazine's "Sushi 101" article. More than 130 Yelpers and 30 Yahoo! Locals give Cocoro an average of four stars.
A childhood spent in Japan as well as Japanese cooking lessons from her mother Sumako helped prepare Maisie Bell for her long career as a sushi chef. In 2009, after a quarter century in the kitchen, Bell opened her eponymous sushi house, where she and her staff prepare made-to-order sushi as well as grilled salmon, beef, and chicken dishes. Cool blues and greens define the interior of the sleekly modern eatery, where patrons tuck into specialty rolls such as Red Dragon, with tempura shrimp and spicy tuna, and the Unknown roll, whose ingredients are awaiting new names from the Witness Protection Program. The kitchen also whips up baked mussels in a spicy cream sauce, beef teriyaki, and traditional japanese curries.
The Las Islitas menu blends the flavors of Mexico with the sea’s most delicious inhabitants. Behind the kitchen door—which is decorated like a ship’s porthole—chefs whip up house specialties such as giant shrimp wrapped in bacon and topped with cheese, as well as oysters on the half shell, and seafood medleys that include delicacies such as crab leg, abalone, and octopus.
Mikado Bistro's foodsmiths craft flaming wokfuls of favorite Chinese and Japanese dishes, along with plating delicate slices of fresh sushi. Diners can kick off consumption with the hearty crunch of fried wontons ($3.95), and edamame's ($2.95) boiled soybeans spring from their ancestral pods into waiting mouths. Chopsticks peck like foraging antique hunters at signature sushi rolls, such as the Golden Phoenix, a pile of slender disks of unagi, cucumber, crab, tuna, and avocado ($14.95) traditionally served as still-flaming ashes. Patrons can dive into two-item bento boxes ($11.95) filled with such goodies as vegetable tempura, chicken teriyaki, or sushi rolls, or scoop up helpings of succulent mu shu pork ($6.95) with chewy pancakes.
Flames erupt into the air within feet of feasting customers seated around Sumo Sushi House's hibachi grill. Chefs corral the fire as they sear filet mignon, lobster, and chicken, pairing each meal with fresh-cooked fried rice. Meanwhile, at the sushi bar, sushi chefs roll fresh, seasonal ingredients into a slew of traditional and unique rolls. These offerings range from California and Alaska rolls to a colorful Lady Gaga roll—packed with yellowtail and spicy tuna—and an American Dream roll, a peppy arrangement of lobster, crab, and shrimp tempura that tastes like a promotion.
To make Groupon customers feel like they're big in Japan, Meiko Sushi is offering a special menu (a $50 value) just for them. After opening with two bowls of house salad and a plate of gyozas, friendly waiters will sing "The Circle of Life" while parading out a lion-king roll (a California roll baked with a fillet of salmon). Once your guard is down and your mouth is open, they'll light the fuse on a firecracker roll (a maki roll of spicy crab meat and cucumber buttered with avocado and Siracha hot sauce) and toss it in. Closing with a golden California roll (a crispy, deep-fried California roll garnished with flying fish roe, scallions, and the sweet house sauce) gives the crackling palate a smooth come-down, particularly when washed down with two shots of cold fruit sake (or if you're under 21, green-tea ice cream). Vegetarians can swap the selected rolls out with more herbivorous vegan rolls, broccoli rolls, and kappa rolls. Finicky fish eaters, meanwhile, can do the same with Philly rolls, spicy tuna rolls, and tempura rolls.