Sushi Shibucho

This will be more than a food post, just as my experience was more than a meal. Food was great but not the highlight of the day. The highlight was definitely the interaction. As some of you know, I have been watching Curb Your Enthusiasm lately and this encounter was straight out of the book. I won’t bore you with a minute-by-minute detail but a broad stroke.

I decided to visit this upon reading http://www.kevineats.com/ review on the restaurant, claiming it to be one of the top sushi restaurants in OC. I thought I’d tried most of the good sushi restaurants in the OC so I decided to stroll over here on a random Thursday night for a meal with Natalie since she had the day off. Last omakase meal I had was with Hei at Kitayama who btw still hasn’t posted his meal yet, lazyass. Anyways so I’ve been craving sushi and decided to try.

Disclaimer: I am a huge fan of sushi/sashimi but by no means an expert. I just love it. Some of these pictures I couldn’t even ID the fish so I needed help from others. In fact, I can’t even be sure all these fish are correct. I’m just going to dump all these photos on here and let you guys figure it out yourself.

To say the neighborhood is ghetto would be a correct statement. There were a few non-Caucasian nor Asian people milling around outside. We quickly scurried inside and sat down. There is an older Japanese couple sitting at the bar, which seats 8, already in front of the old chef, while few seats are available in front of the younger chef. I knew they were father-son and there’s a friendly waitress there. So I sat down at the younger chef and said hi. Hot towel and daikon with hot green tea (perfect temp) later, the chef asked us what we’d like. I told him I’d let him choose and had the biggest smile as I was quite excited.

We started off with tai:

After this dish was served I kindly asked how we should address the younger chef. Chef said, and I quote, “Just call me hey. My name is not important.” Hm interesting. So I sat patiently waiting for the next dish. He was dead serious too so I just kept going along.

Next up maguro:

Im just going to put the rest up in order since I can’t be sure what they are and it’d be fun to let you guys figure out what’s what. Sorry for the blurry pictures

I know for a fact I had the following:
roe
abalone
albacore
salmon
squid
clam
mackerel
spanish mackerel
salt water eel, with and without sauce
tuna
uni
scallop
snow crab
red snapper
snapper
kanpachi

In order of served:

In between these dishes the chef was also preparing a sushi chirashi as well as some rolls (!) for two Japanese ladies that came in earlier. I remember I read they don’t serve rolls so it was interesting to see him roll one up. They must’ve been important. Anyways after this (which I know for a fact is anago (salt water eel) I told the chef that Natalie was really full but I was still pulling full steam ahead! So the chef nodded and I kept going. He decided to serve me the next two dishes.

But wait! Natalie saw the chef took out salmon. She loves salmon and can’t pass it up even though she was full. Welp. Since she wanted the salmon I told her she can ask the chef herself. Alas, I was kind enough to explain to the chef and asked him to kindly spare her a piece of salmon. The salmon wasn’t good at all (which he later told us as well). Our faces were flushed and as someone that never gets embarrassed I was sure my face was red. So I used this chance to ask him what his name was and he said, and I quote, “My name is not important.” Hm. okay. So we kept eating. The salmon was rather tough.

So after the squid (which I’m sure is squid) chef told us he had served us everything and if I’d like anything else.

During this time the other couple that was sitting next to us got a couple of grapes so we asked him what kind of grapes they were. He told us and we asked him about his history and how long they’ve been here. He said the restaurant’s been there for 8 years and they were in Japan prior.  Nice. The grapes are from their own garden which they grew. So we asked about what crops and he kept talking. Somehow, he told us about how his dad made him work in the kitchen since 14. He then said, in the most solemn voice, that sushi is the only thing he knows how to do. oooooooooooooookay. Anyways Natalie being the nice lady she is kindly told him he is very good at it. I swear I could’ve taken that sushi knife on the table and…I won’t go into details.

So after the tuna he kindly gave us some grapes! Awesome! Then afterwards, I, for some dumb reason, asked him if there were any desserts. Yikes. He then told us that he only stores seafood in the freezer and no room for ice cream. Even if there were, he’d eat them all before we’d see them. Fine fine fine fine. We told him thank you very much and he told us he’d tell us his name next time we stop by

This is what went through in my head at the time

El Fin

Sushi Shibucho
590 W 19th St
Costa Mesa, CA 92627
(949) 642-2677

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