I’d heard that O Fine opened up in Irvine and after waiting for them to settle in for a few weeks, I decided to make my way there to see if I can finally stop leaving Irvine in order to get some decent sushi.
The restaurant is very trendy and chic, and you feel like you’re somewhere “aquatic” with all its blue hues and clear ‘glass’ feel.
I’ve sat at the sushi bar as well as the tables and as far as food goes, there is not much difference where you sit except when you’re in the mood for sushi only and that’s when I think you need to sit at the sushi bar for optimum attention from the sushi chef.
A great way to start is Spicy Tuna Cracker ($9.50). Crispy seaweed sesame crackers are the vehicle which hold the bits of marinated ahi tuna. Avocado and ikura sit artfully on top with a drizzle of mayo dressing. I love the mixture of textures each bite brings and I suggest sharing this as it is quite a big portion.
When it comes to sushi, my favorite is buttery uni or sea urchin ($7.99/2 pieces). Its creamy texture always brings me so much pleasure and I curse that it is so high in cholesterol.
Squid ($4.50/2 pieces) or ika sushi, another cholesterol rich item is nice and chewy without being rubbery. The addition of shiso leaf adds an uplifting herbaceous aroma to the mild tasting squid.
I order mackerel ($4.50/2 pieces) which will help counter the other two as it is high in omega-3 but can be a little strong for the uninitiated — yeah right, like that would work! But seriously, I order it because I love this pungent oily fish which is lightly pickled in vinegar.
I’m allergic to oysters but I took a picture of it — quail egg, oyster, sake and lots of hot sauce if you like it that way. This is much larger in proportion than other oyster shooters I’ve seen. Served in a martini glass rather than a shooter you can just imagine how much sake is in it.
Apart from sushi, I also like my mackerel grilled (saba shioyaki). I select this as one of the items for my two choice lunch combo ($10.95).
The fish is a good-sized piece and served the traditional way, with just a touch of salt, grated daikon (radish) and a lemon wedge as accompaniments to offset its fishiness. The only problem with eating this is you end up with a fishy after taste in your mouth for the rest of the day, but that doesn’t really bother me!
My second item choice of yakiniku beef is unfortunately inedible. I tried to pick out pieces of beef which looked less grisly and chewy but every piece was tough and hard to swallow. I ended up eating around it, picking out the mushrooms and onions. Luckily, the savory sauce was tasty and I used it to flavor my brown rice.
If you are eating alone, chirashi bowl ($13.95) is an ideal choice. A bowl of seasoned sushi rice and sashimi slices make for a healthy and low-fat meal.
I am just happy there is a decent Japanese place just around the corner from me, but then again, good uni is so much more accessible and that might wreak havoc on my cholesterol.
The restaurant has only been open a few months and I find myself back here again and again. Maybe it is due to its proximity to my home, but maybe, it is because I can finally say “Irvine has some decent sushi”.
O Fine Japanese Cuisine
6731 Quail Hill Pkwy
Irvine, CA 92603