Sushi in Nipomo

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Small surprises abound inside Takenoya, where ice milk tea might contain sweet bites of mango jelly and one of the sushi rolls might arrive wrapped in soybean paper or cucumber rather than traditional seaweed. Those interested in eschewing surprises can build their own bento box, which compartmentalizes their chosen meals of chicken teriyaki, nigiri, or other specialties into neat squares alongside soup, salad, and rice. Savory noodles swirl amid shrimp tempura in the nabeyaki udon, one of several noodle dishes. The menu also includes traditional plates such as pork katsu, japanese curries, and korean short ribs.

The elaborate sushi listings showcase more than 25 signature rolls. The spicy tempura-lobster roll nestles its namesake ingredient against cucumber, avocado, sprouts, and smelt egg, whereas the summer fresh roll cocoons tuna, salmon, and yellowtail inside a cucumber shell. Four types of box sushi are prepared with a pressing box, which molds each bite into a tiny cube.

5934 Calle Real
Goleta,
CA
US

Having mastered several subsets of Chinese cuisine, the chefs at China Pavilion couldn't fit all their entrees onto a single menu. So they created three: one with America's popular staples, one brimming with traditional platters, and one showcasing chef specialties. The first lines up dishes that are now familiar—sweet 'n' sour chicken and mongolian beef—as well as recognizable feasts served in new ways, such as the peking duck wrapped in crepes. More traditional and exotic options abound on the Chinese menu, such as pickled cabbage and pork noodle soup, or spicy king crabmeat sprinkled with basil and served in a clay pot. The chefs’ selections, meanwhile, range from classic to experimental: strips of Angus beef sizzle in oyster sauce, and garlic-pepper salt coats Alaskan halibut in a wok. China Pavilion’s full cocktail bar balances meals with citrusy sips of sour plum martinis, and on weekends, visitors can drop by for a dim-sum brunch that leaves tongues more satisfied than an astronaut wearing Moon Boots.

1202 Chapala St
Santa Barbara,
CA
US

When many people think of Japanese cuisine, visions of multihued sushi rolls often spring to mind. But at Gotetsu, the menu is strikingly absent of the rice and raw-fish morsels. The staff is helmed by owner and native of Japan Yukari Watanabe, who has chosen to highlight some of the most often-overlooked dishes in Japanese cuisine. Among them is yakitori, also called kushiyaki, a dish of grilled chicken and meats on thin wooden skewers.

2098 E Main St
Ventura,
CA
US

As sure as the sun rose each morning, Izuto “Izzy” Otani would stroll down to the beach before work, fishing pole in hand, to begin the day with his favorite pastime. Inspired to make his hobby his life, Izzy left his current business to open the Izzy Otani Fish Market in 1952. Over the years, he and his wife Helen began to prepare Japanese and Mexican dishes for market visitors, beginning the grocery’s slow transformation into a full-fledged restaurant. They’ve been serving hungry customers ever since.

More than 60 years later, Otani’s, recently awarded the Downtown Business of the Year Award by the Oxnard Chamber of Commerce, still serves fish in homemade sauces and recipes made from scratch each day. They spice up fried red snapper in fish tacos, char broil tasty slabs of salmon, and coat oysters and shrimp with a light, crispy tempura shell. They specialize particularly in boneless filets—a true delicacy in the United States, where fish have not yet evolved to shed their primitive skeletons.

610 S A St
Oxnard,
CA
US

Each horseshoe-shaped table at Teppan Steak House features two metal hibachi grills surrounded by chairs, allowing the chefs to entertain guests with their juggling skills while they sear orders of vegetables, lobster, or filet mignon directly in front of their peckish audiences. The chefs play catch with a fresh egg and a spatula, and toss salt and pepper shakers into the air and grab them behind their backs. They also build enough mini fires to properly flambé the food and make any pyromaniacs happy.

As the teppanyaki chefs impress crowds with their showmanship, the sushi chefs adopt a more subdued mindset working behind their bar. From this spot, they deftly assemble 50 different rolls, including a california roll topped with baked scallops and drizzled with eel sauce and spicy mayo. The sushi chefs' flair for the dramatic is apparent in their artful presentations.

1801 E Ventura Blvd.
Oxnard,
CA
US