Yin and yang and the forces of the five elements come together at Sushi Roku where sushi purists and modern fusion Japanese food lovers can find satisfaction and life energy in the feng shui sanctuary of Sushi Roku in Newport Beach.
Warm wood and ebony glazed raku ceramic tableware accent a calming color palette of muted blues and grays in a pleasing elemental landscape.
Circular booths welcome families and friends desiring more intimate seating.
And then there’s the smiling sushi chefs. Sushi chefs yield razor sharp, large knives ready to slice and dice for your dining pleasure – you want them to be happy to see you.
Begin with a refreshing cocktail like the Sushi Fusion or Mandarin Honey Margarita (13, pictured) and Sushi Roku’s signature “Hanabi” (15, photo above) – buttery tuna on top of sticky rice fried to a golden crisp, and you’ll be off to an excellent start.
Yellowtail with Diced Chiles (17) are carpaccio-thin slices of yellowtail scattered with vibrantly colored chiles, a drizzle of ponzu sauce, and a pouf of grated daikon.
The seafood is pristine and beautifully presented. Take for instance, the Blue Crab Tartare with Uni and Caviar (30) suspended over an ebony bowl of cracked ice punctuated with a brilliant orchid and two crimson spoons. Delicious and a treat for the eyes.
I moved on to the sake tasting which is a fabulous way to familiarize yourself with the different kinds of sake: Junmai (pure sake, meaning no additional starches or sugars are added and no additional alcohol is added either, 30% of the rice kernel is milled away), Honjozo is similar to junmai except that a small amount of additional alcohol is added to lighten up and smooth out the flavor of the sake. This also makes it a bit more fragrant. Like junmai, the rice must have a degree of milling of at least 70%. Ginjo sake is much more light and complex than junmai or honjozo because the rice has been polished further, 40% of the kernel gets milled away. Daiginjo sake is more fragrant and full bodied than ginjo as the rice gets milled even further, somewhere between 50-65% being milled away. These high end sakes are most often served chilled.
Just as you can experience a wine flight or beer flight, Sushi Roku offers a specialty sake tasting and a premium sake tasting. I tried the specialty which had a Ken Sword Daiginjo, Yuki No Bosha Cabin in the Snow Junmai Ginjo, and Schichi Hon Yari Seven Spearsmen Junmai. The fruity and floral flavor profiles are interesting and pair beautifully with seafood and even mild heat from the likes of Shishito peppers generously coated with soy and sesame oil fried garlic.
There are plenty of choices for those who don’t cotton to raw fish. Like these braised Short Ribs seasoned with garlic, ginger and five spice, and served with baby bok choy and mashed potatoes – suitable for those staunch American food foodies.
On the menu are also Robata skewers and rice, noodles, and soup to satisfy those not keen on seafood in the raw.
Do save room for dessert. I was totally infatuated with this Japanese take on S’mores. A zen graham cracker dry garden dotted with marshmallows, dark chocolate and matcha green tea coated white chocolate surrounding a flaming sterno fire. Fun for kids of all ages!
And last but not least, you can chill out and realign your life force (qi) after a long day with Happy Hour, every day from 3:00-6:00 p.m. – special prices on wine, beer, and select appetizers. Notice the Hanabi and Albacore Tataki is on the menu, which means I hope to see you there soon!
Fashion Island, 327 Newport Center Drive, Newport Beach, CA 92660