Sushilicious - Irvine
I got one for you: What do you get if you smooshed a Japanese restaurant into an Apple store, put it in a bag, added a factory-scene from How It's Made, sprinkled a dash of Yogurtland and shook it all up?
You get Sushilicious in Irvine, which in its pastel-colored sleekness, becomes the first kaiten joint in O.C. to actually have a personality to match the silly-fun experience of revolving sushi.
Its owner, Daniel Woo (who I assume has a background in marketing) knows exactly what he's doing. He recognizes precisely who his customers are: people who drool at the next Steve Jobs iProduct, line up at Yogurtland, follow trendy food trucks, and Yelp-gush or blog on their latest restaurant discovery. People like you. People like me.
Before it was even open, the restaurant was Twittered-up and Facebooked. Actually, it's networked in even more ways than that: Instead of paper pads or calculators, each server has an iPod Touch that's connected to a WiFi-enabled Point of Sale system.
Yeah, there's an app for that.
These newfangled features and doodads makes it easy to forget that it used to be Gen Kai, a more traditional sushi restaurant. Gen Kai who? See? My ADD-addled attention span is already at their mercy.
If I Tweeted during my meal (and I was twenty years younger), this might be what it'd sound like:
OMG, there's also one named "WMD"! And "Napoleon Dynamite"? No tater tots in it, though.
ROFL, there's a "Twilight" roll! @RPattzFanGirls: be still your beating hearts.
All kidding aside: Somebody obviously set the creative meter on high. The "Sushicalifragilisticexpialidocious" is a two-way mouthful--a soy-paper roll topped with battered rock shrimp covered in a Sriracha-laced mayo sauce. It does its best impersonation of honey glazed walnut shrimp, even if the connection to Mary Poppins remains dubious.
The "Medusa" is what they call their spider roll, because, well, I guess soft-shell crab legs do sorta look like snakes. I have, however, already forgotten what that slightly rubbery shrimp roll I ate in the picture above was called; but you can bet it was something cutesy, which is probably why I took it.
And that's the draw of the place. You will not arrive at any sushi epiphanies. Leave your omakase snobbery at the door. The place knows that it caters to the sushi n00bs not sushi l33ts. The point is to laugh a little, eat a lot, not take things too seriously.
In any case, for conveyor belt fodder, the food is remarkably fresh and well-prepared. If you're still wary of where your plate's been or who it's been seeing before it gets to you, you can order it from the chefs themselves who are within speaking distance of wherever you sit.
Prices start at $1.50 for the basic plates; top out at $4 for premium ones. Bento boxes and side dishes round out the menu offerings. One such item is a panko-covered, deep-fried sweet potato corokke as sweet as Thanksgiving. Their gyozas are softly pliant pork pockets with nicely crisped bottoms, ready-to-be-dipped and gobbled...right after you take a picture and send your Tweet about it, of course.
Me? I'm old school. I blog.
15435 Jeffrey Road
Suite #119, Irvine, CA 92618
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