13112 Newport Ave, #D
Tustin, CA 92780
Before turning to our discussion of the amazing sushi served at Kai Sushi, I first need to vent a little to set the scene. God save the next person that uses the expression "authentic" in front of me, as in "authentic sushi" or "authentic Italian food." By definition, an authentic dish cannot exist unless you are narrowing it down to a specific restaurant. If you say, "I want authentic BBQ like they make it at the Voodoo BBQ on Drusilla Lane in Baton Rouge," I'll let you slide. But if you say "there is just no place to get authentic Southern BBQ in California," then you're a fool. Even if you
traveled to the South, every restaurant in every region makes different BBQ, so which one is authentic? Even if you limit yourself to, say, Tennessee, the BBQ at Ridgewood is very different from the BBQ at Sticky Fingers which is distinctly different than what you will get at Whitt's. Even within chain restaurants there are differences -- the Avila's Soup at the Santa Ana restaurant is completely different than what is served at their Lake Forest location. Do you get "authentic" Italian food when you are in Italy? By what definition? The northern and southern cuisines are very different.
What does this have to do with Sushi? I have repeatedly heard the refrain that the sushi sold in and around Tustin is not authentic, because in Japan you get "real" sushi, consisting only of fresh fish on a little rice, not the fancy concoctions served up here. If that's your definition of authentic sushi, then you have it made because any sushi place can serve up fresh fish on a little rice (unless you are going to contend that it is physically impossible to have fresh fish in California, in which case I can't help you). Don't give me authentic; give me the best recipe (i.e.,
concoction) you can come up with.
By that criteria, no one can compare to Kai Sushi. Oh fear not; you can get delicious unadorned sushi and sashimi if that is your boring preference, but give me the killer rolls such as Hot Night, House Special and Rainbow. Personally, I prefer to dine on all the rolls written on the board, and finish with a few more basic hand rolls. Fortunately, Kai Sushi offers the option of all you can eat pricing if you tend to go through the entire menu like me. I can leave
Kai completely sated for around $30 instead of the $100 or more I pay at other establishments. And the all you can eat option is also offered at lunch for a lower price.
Come on. Get past your ego. The sushi isn't any better because it is tiny and served with roe in a carved cucumber. Let yourself be ruled by your taste buds and go to Kai Sushi at Irvine and Newport. For its fresh, delectable sushi rolls, courteous servers and all-you-can-eat option, the Editors of Tustin Magazine rate Kai Sushi the Best Sushi In and Around Tustin.
Tustin Magazine Also Recommends:
Full Moon Sushi III
498 E. 1st Street, #1000
Tustin, CA 92780
We are always open to a new sushi restaurant, and once we saw the sign go up on Full Moon Sushi on First Street, we were anxious for the debut.
We visited at 2:00 p.m. midweek, and had the place to ourselves. One gold star to Full Moon Sushi for staying open for those hours between lunch and dinner, unlike so many other sushi bars. The place is very nice inside, with a small sushi counter and some tables. I wanted to see some menus describing the rolls and some lunch special, but no luck. This is a straight on sushi restaurant with no such niceties. If you want to know what is in your roll, ask.
Good fresh sushi is all fine and good, but that provides little basis for comparison from one place to another. At the risk of shocking the purists, I think the rolls are what distinguish one sushi restaurant from another. From that viewpoint, the first couple of rolls we tried were good but unremarkable.
But then we ordered a roll called the albacore dream or something like that, and another called the Hawaiian. I love albacore, so it was no surprise that I found this very good, but the Hawaiian was amazing, covered with huge chunks of tuna (see photo). We both agreed that this might be the single best sushi roll we have ever tasted. For this one roll alone, a trip to Full Moon Sushi III at 1st and Newport will be worth your while.
Other Reviews of Full Moon Sushi:
Yahoo Local (Costa Mesa location)
Urbanspoon (Fountain Valley location)
Sushi Wasabi receives a very strong honorable mention. I'm back to the $100 tab when I go there, but it sure is good.
14460 Newport Ave
Tustin, CA 92780