Diners at Nara Sushi sample not only handmade maki and sashimi, but also fried katsu, crispy tempura, and flavorful Korean noodle dishes. Like an artwork meticulously rendered with eel sauce, each maki roll is both aesthetically pleasing and delicious, with slivers of tender salmon and tuna, creamy avocado, and notes of crunchy tempura and cucumber. Feasts kick off with appetizers of grilled white tuna or battered seafood butteryaki, which nicely set the stage for main dishes of beef and egg bibimbop.
Hive Sushi Lounge does indeed seem to be inspired by the artistry of bees. Though the sushi rolls aren't hexagonal, the chefs put as much thought into them as the insects would put into their royal honeycomb, crafting elegant plates of nigiri, sashimi, and more than 25 specialty rolls. Some of these dishes carry the hive theme even further—the nectar-style sashimi, for example, flavors salmon with orange-infused olive oil, and the queen bee roll wraps spicy yellowtail with yellow soy paper topped with red snapper.
Diners needn't leave all the construction work to the staff, however. Hive offers sushi-making classes six nights a week, teaching students how to make hand-rolls and nigiri at individual stations. If you'd rather sit and eat traditionally, sip a Japanese beer in the dining room, or head to the private Nectar Room. The event space provides parties with a sushi chef, a patio, and a PA system for announcing when someone doesn't know what tobiko is.
Ebisu Sushi serves a menu of raw and flame-kissed fare in a chic setting. Warm up with an appetizer of edamame sautéed in garlic ($4), or wade utensils through a house salad topped with wakame seaweed ($6). Specialty rolls such as the Sixth Avenue, a cucumber wrapper snuggling a quintet of fishes including tuna, yellowtail, and salmon, fetchingly outfit bare palates ($14), and the vegetarian Enigma roll sports tempura fried broccoli, shiitake mushrooms, and a hint of curry and decodes cryptic messages ($9). Diners who prefer terra-firma tastes can sup on selections including the chicken katsu dinner, fried chicken tenderloins coated in crispy panko breadcrumbs, served with steamed rice and vegetables ($12). Festive guests may retire to the lounge in the rear of the restaurant on weekends to enjoy a full array of libations and the sonic stylings of a fully tuned DJ.
The experienced chefs at Wonderful Sushi handcraft a large variety of sashimi combinations, nigiri, and maki rolls, as well as a smattering of hot entrees doused in teriyaki or sesame sauce. The white tuna roll is a customer favorite, filled with spicy tuna, snow crab, and avocado and then topped with tender white tuna and special sauce. There are even some hot sushi rolls available, including the deep-fried tempura california roll. Diners can cheer on the chefs with foam fingers while sitting at the sushi bar, or they can grab a glass of wine, Japanese beer, or sake for a relaxing hour on the outdoor patio.
Kip's Cafe had been in El Cajon for 52 years since 1956 before relocatiing to the current location in Hillcrest. It is one of the few restaurants that one can find good Chinese, Japanese food and sushi, as well as a full bar with excellent selection of wines under one roof. You always can find something you like in here!
Bamboo Lounge defies expectations. Though Japan, Italy, and Mexico are literally dozens of miles apart, the eatery brings their foods together on its eclectic menu. For example, gourmet sushi rolls are served with steaming plates of fettuccine pasta or chicken quesadillas. On Saturdays and Sundays, the kitchen converts to breakfast food, serving omelets and breakfast sandwiches, and their deli serves healthy sandwiches piled with freshly sliced meats and veggies. Bamboo Lounge serves numerous varieties of beer and wine—such as draft Guinness Stout—and also doubles as an art gallery, which features work from local artists such as Stacy D'Aguiar or Kansley Pye.
Named for a Japanese raccoon-dog celebrated in myth for its roguish trickster image, Rocking Tanuki serves feasts of ocean-fresh nigiri and maki, tender katsu cutlets, and umami noodle soups and rice dishes. At the open sushi bar, chefs create inventive rolls such as an albacore and serrano-pepper Pancho Villa or a deep-fried California roll. Diners delicately munch on morsels of tuna and smoked salmon nigiri or show off chopstick skills as they pick up the pieces of tempura, chicken, and beef intermixed with udon and ramen. Deep crimson wallpaper, fluttering paper scrolls, and warm light from glowing paper lanterns unite to create a relaxing ambiance.