#42. Omakase at Sushi Shibucho

shibuchofish.jpg
Photo: Edwin Goei
Our Best of Orange County is coming out in just a couple of months; in the meantime, here are 100 dishes that we think make dining in OC the happy experience it is.

It took a long time for me to do omakase ("chef's choice" sushi) for the first time. I was, like a lot of people, nervous about sitting in front of a sushi chef (I didn't even know his title was "itamae"). I was afraid that if I got served something I hated, I'd embarrass myself or, worse, the chef.

I wish I'd gone to sit in front of Shibutani-san at Sushi Shibucho in Costa Mesa a great deal earlier than I did. He's a real people person, proud of his craft and damn good at it. He sources excellent fish, and he sells it at what in Los Angeles would seem like bargain-basement prices. You can ask questions, and he'll answer; his restaurant is small enough for him to give you personalized service.

The picture on this entry, taken by Edwin for his own personal blog, is the first course you'll be served if you sit at the tables, where you'll be served by Shibutani-san's wife. It's fish cheeks. "Ewwwww," you may think, "I'm not eating face." Yes; yes, you are, and it will change your feelings about eating cheeks for the rest of your life, so tender is it. Omakase at the tables is a fixed price (I think it's $35-$40) for a fixed number of courses. Prices and courses vary should you reserve a spot at the sushi bar; this is where the great stuff comes out, and the more you go, the more Shibutani-san can tailor your meal to your own tastes. There's nothing like the feeling of leaving a restaurant completely happy.

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

Here are the previous contenders:

#100. Jerk Carnitas Torta at The Crosby
#99. Nem Nuong Cuon at Brodard
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#97. Flying Saucer at Alberto's
#96. Frozen Custard at Marc Burger's in Macy's Signature Kitchen
#95. Collard Greens at Johnny Reb's
#94. Strawberry Shortcake from Job's Daughters
#93. Cuban Sandwich at DeSimone's Deli
#92. Lamb with Preserved Cabbage at Mas Islamic Chinese
#91. Baked Rice at Luc Dinh Ky
#90. Beans on Toast at The Olde Ship
#89. Midnight Al Pastor Burrito or Taco at Taqueria Tapatia
#88. Budino di Cioccolato, Pizzeria Ortica
#87. Beef Teriyaki Bowl, Teriyami
#86. Salmon Onigiri at Cream Pan
#85. Beef Fat Fries at SideDoor
#84. Silken Tofu & Thousand Year Old Egg at Asian Tapas
#83. Cambodian Beef Jerky at Sophy's
#82. Com Tam at Com Tam Tran Quy Cap
#81. Chipotle-Piloncillo Goat Cheese at SOL Cocina
#80. Nem Nuong Cuon at Au Lac Restaurant
#79. Blackened Mushroom & Tofu Burger at Taco Loco
#78. Fried Veggie Fish Fillet at Dong Phuong Tofu
#77. Tofu Vegetable Salad at BCD Tofu House
#76. Che Ba Mau at Thach Che Hien Khanh
#75. Barracuda Sushi at Ohshima
#74. Whole Lamb with Kabsa at Olive Tree
#73. 5 a.m. Chitterlings at Tri-Village
#72. Spinach Empanadas at El Gaucho #2
#71. Croissants at Molinos Bakery
#70. Beso de Monja at El Rincón del Sabor
#69. Fatteh at Kareem's
#68. Korean Beef Rib Sandwich at Kaffa
#67. Rice Flour Pupusas at Pupusería San Sivar
#66. The Hash Browns at Pop's Cafe
#65. Seven Courses of Beef at Thien An
#64. Baby Back Ribs at Blake's Place
#63. Fish and Chips at The Chippy
#62. Roasted Beef Marrow Bones at Brasserie Pascal
#61. The Lunch Buffet at Tandoor Cuisine of India
#60. Eggs, Charcuterie and Bread at Uyen Thy Bistro
#59. Wang Mandoo at Myung In
#58. Gobi Paratha at Traditions
#57. Kibbeh at Zait & Zaatar
#56. Chicago Dog at Portillo's
#55. Persian Buffet at Irvine's Wholesome Choice
#54. Anything at night at Joe's Italian Ice
#53. Salteñas at Rollie's Bakery
#52. Iskender Kabob at Doner G
#51. Secret Beer-Battered Fish Burrito at the OG Taco Adobe
#50. Bun Rieu at Kim Huong
#49. Truffle Fries at Andrei's
#48. Monday Night Pizza Special at Pizza Shack
#47. Corn Dog at Disneyland's The Little Red Wagon
#46. Linguini with Clams at Franco's Pasta Cucina
#45. Chamoyada at Natural
#44. Meatloaf at Memphis
#43. Paletas at Delicias de México

Location Info

Sushi Shibucho

590 W. 19th St., Costa Mesa, CA

Category: Restaurant


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