Sushi Bar, Montecito, 6/27/22

exterior – 1295 Coast Village Rd., Santa Barbara, CA., 93108

Sushi By Scratch is part of the historic Montecito Inn and the concept of Chef Phillip Frankland Lee.  It is the only Michelin-starred restaurant in the area and serves an Omakase 17 courses to 10 diners three times in the evening.  It is part of the Scratch Restaurant group with different concepts in cities like Los Angeles, Miami and Austin. This dining experience starts 15 minutes prior in the hotel’s lobby with a welcome cocktail. (Parking is via hotel valet or they will direct you to the self-park lot).  With the meal you can order your own beverage or buy one of their pairing packages – house, sake, or wine – all $110.  We took the House pairing which served a combination of sake, cocktails and beer.   In hindsight, even though the pairings were well matched,  I would recommend getting your own bottle of something as the pairings felt over-priced.  Seating was comfortable and the 3 chefs preparing your bites were conversational and friendly.  The 16 items featured are on the wall in front and #17 is dessert.  Numbers by each entry are the price of each if there is time and you want another piece at the end of the meal.  The sushi is all outstanding and it is a fun experience that I recommend. Continue reading

Shoyo, Dallas, 4/26/22

exterior – 1916 Greenville Ave, Dallas, TX 75206

Shoyo, opened in fall 2021 on lower Greenville Ave.  It is a 12 seat Omakase restaurant, meaning the chef choses your menu.  Chef/owner Jimmy Park worked with Sous Chef William Yoon behind the counter to provide our meal, Chef Shin Kondo was missing ( instead there was a soft-spoken chef not authorized to make sushi).  Together they have more than 50 years of restaurant experience.  Reservations for the following month are released on the first of the month and go quickly.  There are 2 seatings, Tues through Sat, at 5:45 and 8:15, with dinner lasting about 2 hours. There is parking behind the building or as you can find it on the street.  There is a small waiting area until you are escorted to your seat the counter.   While getting settled you can order sake, wine or beer to go with the meal if you chose.  They have halves as well as full sized bottles of sake.  There is also a list of extra courses you can order toward the end of the meal. Continue reading

Sushi Ota, San Diego, 3/24/21

exterior

Sushi Ota Restaurant is in a nondescript strip shopping center in San Diego.   They have some indoor tables that are well separated with wood partitions and have also built an outdoor dining area that has plastic roofing and some sides.  At the entry is the large sushi counter that due to Covid has no seating but fresh seafood is in the counter.  The large menu has many options for ordering – lunch specials, the traditional check list or there are 3 plates of sushi combinations.  The combination “C” contains the local sea urchin for which Chef Ota is known, and that was the one we chose.  With the combination plates you also get miso soup and ice cream. Service was well masked, efficient and friendly and tables were distanced and thoroughly cleaned between customers.  The menu offers a good number of beers, wine and saki. Continue reading