Ahi Ahi Sushi Bar & Grill - Foothill Ranch
So even before I even saw it, I pegged Ahi Ahi Sushi Bar & Grill to be a stereotypical suburban sushi joint in a stereotypical suburban strip mall in a stereotypical suburb, which these days means teriyaki bento specials with California rolls, miso soup, a citrusy-dressed iceberg salad, and all that jazz (which may or may not be the easy-listening kind).
This isn't to say that I refuse to eat in such places. I have a fondness for a good bento combo special as much as the next guy. It's just, why go all that way when I have my pick of stereotypical suburban sushi joints inside the stereotypical suburb in which I live?
Well, the reason, like I said, was the 1,000 points on Open Table.
But by golly, Ahi Ahi turned out not to be just a stereotypical suburban sushi joint; it was a GREAT stereotypical suburban sushi joint. They had California-type rolls with actual crab meat that, yes, tasted more of actual crab than the mayo typically used to hide imitation. Moreover, they served a seaweed salad with cucumbers that ate like an actual salad, not a side dish. And they fried lobster nuggets, coated in thin batter hiding the sweet, sweet meat that redeemed a species of crustacean I've always thought was way overrated. They even made their sweet potato fries crunchy by encasing the spears in a bonafide tempura.
And when was the last time a stereotypical suburban joint offered grilled asparagus wrapped in bacon this excellent--a dish I usually have to go to a robatayaki or an izakaya to order. Or the miso-glazed seabass--probably the closest thing to fish pudding as I ever want to eat and the dish that convinced me, once and for all, that I'm coming back, 1,000 Open Table points or not.
Of course, the meal did come with a miso soup and salad. But even the salad surprised me. The iceberg was actually chilled. No, I mean chilled deliberately. When I bit into it, it sent shivers up my spine and made me actually say these words to my lovely dining companion, "This iceberg lettuce is amazing!"
And for dessert: fried bananas with ice cream, which is more of a stereotypical suburban Thai restaurant thing than Japanese, now that I think about it...but who's stereotyping here? Not me!
Ahi Ahi Sushi Bar
45 Auto Center Dr.,
Foothill Ranch, CA 92610
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