For us, the omakase to top all omakases at Sushi Noguchi started with a bowl of raw tuna, sliced into crimson bevels and climbing a hill of mountain yam covered in its own mucus. It's crowned with a trembling lobe of uni and a cracked raw quail egg on the side--everything sliding down our throats as though it was lubed.
After that, our itamae constructed a platter of various bits and pieces he said would be good to nibble with our sake flight. He was right. There were livers of giant clam--the size and shape of almonds--cooked in soy and sprinkled with sesame seeds. Next to it, a fat section of crab meat, freed from its shell and looking like a roulade. Next to that, on a shiso leaf, strips of what appeared to be clam shellacked in miso that I ate like a taco.
The "amuse" plate came after, one of the few things that came from the kitchen. On it, there was a single clam with a stewed cherry tomato tucked into it like a bookmark; deep fried scallops nuggets tenderly coated in tempura; and a pair of marinated shrimp over wilted cabbage.
Next came a sashimi plate with cuts so precious and fresh it wriggled. The best of them: bluefin ootoro from Boston, the costliest piece of tuna on the menu, scored with a meticulous diamond pattern. There were other jewels, like a mackerel steak so symmetric and precisely sliced it looked machined, and a creamy salmon cube with its fatty edges barely seared--all of it presented so artfully it could be sculpture.
After that it was down to business. The nigiri. Sublime and sparkling fresh, it went like this:
- Halibut fin so soft its texture melded with the rice.
- A rich and oily Spanish mackerel dabbed with ginger.
- Cooling amberjack sprinkled with salt and a spritz of yuzu.
- A gunkan maki of sweet blue crab meat mixed with crab brain cuffed in a belt of crispy nori.
- A lobe of uni dusted with a pinch of coarse salt.
- The return of the diamond-scored ootoro, as meltingly dreamy as it was in the sashimi plate that came before.
- Scallop and foie gras torched together, fused as one.
- A sexy piece of salty sardine, its silver skin reflecting the light.
- A big mouthful of broiled sea eel brushed with sauce.
Then dessert, the item Sushi Noguchi is known for as much as its sushi: the crepe cake, a wedge from the whole that someone patiently constructed from at least 50 individually-made crepes, stacked in layer after layer, slathered whipped cream in between, and served with drizzles of reduced balsamic vinegar on the plate.
How much did this omakase to top all omakases cost? About $100 per person give or take. And it was worth every cent.
18507 Yorba Linda Blvd.
Yorba Linda, CA 92886
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