During this period of holiday excess, I had to share a tip that you will thank me for once you commit to eating ligher and healthier in the New Year. This may come as a total surprise, but IMHO some of the best sushi you’ll find in Orange County is in Yorba Linda, you read that right, Yorba Linda – way up in north OC. Excellent for sushi lovers in Anaheim, Fullerton, Placentia, Brea, Anaheim Hills, Villa Park, Orange etc. or for those who don’t mind a trek to satisfy your sushi craving, but unfortunate for me, since I live in downtown Huntington Beach and have a habit of frequenting restaurants that are within walking distance or less than a 15 minute drive away…but that’s my loss.
I’m not a sushi expert, in fact, my first trip to Sushi Noguchi was full of firsts, besides driving to Yorba Linda for fresh seafood: first time ordering omakase (chef’s choice), first time trying uni (sea urchin) and giant clam. I consider myself a fairly adventurous eater but, being a textural person, had never found these sea creatures appealing. Relying on Sushi Noguchi’s positive reviews and high marks for freshness and quality, I decided it was about time. Plus, I was dining with my friend and restaurant reviewer, Anita Lau aka Mad Hungry Woman – you can check out Anita’s review and another from Dave Lieberman of OC Weekly to validate my bold claim.
After watching David Gelb’s documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi and hearing tales of my daughter’s time in Japan, I was reminded of Hiro’s intense perfection and quiet execution of his modern omakase and have an overwhelming desire to make a trip back to Sushi Noguchi before this year ends.
Since moving to Southern California from the Midwest, many moons ago, and being introduced to sushi and the art of sushi making, I’ve admired it as a culinary art form, even if my experience at the time was heavy on pop-culture hot spots like California Beach Rock n’ Roll Sushi in Hermosa Beach, just down the street from the Comedy & Magic Club, back in the *gulp* 80’s (really dating myself here!). Counting several of the sushi chefs among my friends, I learned of the rigorous training they underwent and witnessed the long hours they endured behind the sushi bar, wielding the sharpest of knives and preparing precision slices of exotic fish and seafood with amazing speed while ebullient diners plyed them with sake into the late hours.
Those days have lapsed into a desire for a quieter aesthetic with a preference for quality over Happy Hour discounts and a taste for more elegant and traditional sushi preparations versus Americanized rolls. I still enjoy rolls but am not really fond of cream cheese and fake crabmeat that seems to be a component in the majority of popular rolls. If you’re in this stage of your sushi socialization than you’ll be happier with the many hip sushi bars that dot the Orange County and LA dining scene, but if you’ve moved beyond that – you’ll be pleased with the bright sunlit space, spare ebony and bamboo decor of Sushi Noguchi and, of course, the sublime (low calorie, low fat, gluten free, heart healthy) sushi experience it offers.*
18507 Yorba Linda Blvd.
Yorba Linda, CA 92886
Lunch: Tues-Friday 11:30-2:00
Dinner:Tues-Thurs. & Sunday 5:00-9:30
Friday and Saturday 5:00-10:00
* Omikase will cost about $50 person with tax and tip (no alcohol). They have a full a la carte menu including cooked items.