Sushi Wasabi in Tustin Sold to New Owner As Sushi Master Retires

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Edwin Goei
Katsu Aoyagi in 2008.
There are so many sushi masters in Orange County these days. But for a while, there were really just two venerable artisans whose names were on a short list of the best: Shibutani-san of Sushi Shibucho in Costa Mesa and Katsu-san of Sushi Wasabi in Tustin.

They were part of the old guard, known as much for their sublime omakase as the fact that they refused to make California rolls. On the latter, Katsu-san even put it in writing. On a framed sign above his sushi bar were these words.


We follow the art of traditional sushi practice. Sushi bar is limited to the fresh catch of the day - continually served. No need to place an order. We offer sushi and hand rolls of Japanese tradition. (No California rolls. If self selection is preferred, please be seated at a table.)

SUSHI BAR IS "OMAKASE" STYLE. TRUST ME.


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Celebrity Soul Food Buffet Opens in Lake Forest

Categories: Now Open

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http://www.celebritysoulfoodbuffet.com
Their logo.
You might have never stepped into Dragon Buffet in Lake Forest, but you probably already have a good idea of what it was: a Chinese buffet.

Typically, when a buffet like that closes, it doesn't really close, it just changes hands. A new "Under New Management" might go up, but you can bet you can still count on the sweet and sour chicken being there.

But this time, this Chinese buffet is gone for good. In its place at 24416 Muirlands Blvd. in Lake Forest something new has moved in: a Southern food buffet, which, correct me if I'm wrong, is the first of its kind in OC, let alone Lake Forest.

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Now Open: 1st US Location Of Meet Fresh At Diamond Jamboree!

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Anne Marie Panoringan
Decisions, decisions

Who doesn't want to be at the shiny and new place? It's only been open a week, but Meet Fresh in Irvine isn't hurting for business. In fact, I stood in line for at least 20 minutes opening night before placing an order (and that was a Tuesday) at this Taiwanese chain open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

A co-worker told me she had friends come from as far as San Diego, even San Francisco, to check out the first spot in the United States. You could say they have a following. Although the same co-worker also mentioned that this company was starting to close some of their other outlets.

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La Vida Cantina Opens in Costa Mesa

Categories: Now Open

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http://lavidacantina.com
El logo.
Around April of last year, a Mexican restaurant and cantina by the name of El Corazon opened at The Triangle. It didn't do so well. Despite the flaming cocktails, the place was finally sold off to the owners of Sutra earlier this year.

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Pita Grill Resurrected in Orange

Categories: Now Open

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Edwin Goei
Now open!
Pita Grill, the well-liked Lebanese purveyor of shawarma in Irvine Company's Crossroads shopping center which was suddenly and unceremoniously closed about a year ago after a struggle with its landlord, has reopened...somewhere else.

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Vineyard ROZ, Another Wine Bar, Opens in Downtown Santa Ana

Categories: Now Open

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Vineyard ROZ's Facebook page
Good eats!
Edwin wrote earlier about the Robbins Nest wine bar opening in downtown SanTana. Something must be in the air, because another Vineyard ROZ has just opened--and two more are on the way.

A duo of wine bars with full dining menus in the artsy neighborhood of Santa Ana? I was surprised to see similar businesses pop up within weeks of each other. Factor in C4, and you can start your own vino crawl! Here's a quick and dirty side-by-side comparison for your thirsty reference.

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Robbins Nest Wine Bar Opens in Downtown Santa Ana

Categories: Now Open

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Robbinsnestwinebar.com
Robbins Nest Logo
There's a new restaurant called Robbins Nest in Downtown Santa Ana--a wine bar to be exact, located at 207 West Second Street near Lola Gaspar and inside the Historic Gas Company Building.

There's wines of course, and for the eating, small plates including grilled artichokes, charcuterie, a four-cheese mac and cheese, bake, pizza, sandwiches and full-on entrees such as a "Snap Crackle Halibut" with a crust made of "special herbs and spices" and "Brick Chicken".

The chef is one Jonathan Garner who used to work at Nelson's at Terranea Resort in L.A.

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Blue C Sushi and Minamoto Kitchoan Opens in Fashion Island

Categories: Now Open

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Kitchoan.com
Suikansyuku

As I wrote in an earlier post over a year ago, the closest thing to a sushi bar you could get at Fashion Island was Hana Grill at the food court. Blue C Sushi changes this. Yes, the new restaurant happens to be a revolving sushi joint, where plates of sushi roll by on a conveyor belt; but a sushi bar is a sushi bar, even if it's a moving one.

Blue C hails from the Seattle area, where it already has six locations also situated in shopping malls. The Fashion Island outlet, which opens this week is located upstairs, near Casey's Cupcakes and Native Foods.

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M Cow, New Taiwanese Restaurant, Opens in Irvine

Categories: Now Open

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Photo by the Elmo Monster
The beef noodle at 101 Noodle Express

If there was any doubt that Irvine has more Taiwanese eateries than any other OC city, here's one more drop in the bowl...of niu rou mian, that is.

Yes, the weirdly named M Cow Restaurant serves the beef noodle soup that is more popular than pho here in the Land of Bren.


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Now Open: Oak Grill/Aqua Lounge and A&O Kitchen+Bar in Newport Beach

Categories: Now Open

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Anne Marie Panoringan
Teaser from Oak Grill: Seared Maine diver scallop

I think the list started with Fireside Tavern inside Crowne Plaza. Then, we checked in to Driftwood Kitchen alongside Pacific Edge Hotel. I'm not just talking [yawn] hotel restaurants-- these properties are trying to bring sexy back in the kitchen and dining rooms of properties overdue for change. The current newbies may confuse you a little, seeing as they are both in Newport Beach and possess 'A' and 'O' titles.

Let's go over the basic characteristics of each. That way you don't agree to meet at one and accidentally end up driving to the other.

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