It was just my luck to be invited to a lunch hosted by Julie Lim of OC Wine Mart fame. Julie formed a group named OC Joy Luck Foodies Club on Facebook and the numbers have grown exponentially since its inception. Although this wasn’t a Joy Luck event, several members of the club showed up for lunch to see what this newly opened sushi restaurant has to offer.
Julie has been raving about Sushi Noguchi to us and wanted us to try for ourselves. I arrived early and took advantage of the empty restaurant to snap a few photos. I loved its clean, minimalistic decor!
After everyone arrived, we began our omakase meal with Halibut Sashimi (2pc) with chive oil. The delicate fish is swimming in a dressing sprinkled with pink peppercorns. I’ve been loving this trend of using pink peppercorns with sashimi lately and this was no different. The pink peppercorns (not peppercorns at all but are berries from the Baies Rose plant) add a hint of pungent sweetness without the bite.
Our Amuse Bouche arrived after our first course, but that’s quite okay because the sesame green beans, a pumpkin croquette and clam with asparagus teased our palates both in presentation and taste. If you are not having the omakase but wish to order the Amuse a la carte, it is only $5 a pop! Such a bargain!
My mouth literally went into a heavenly hit with the Fresh Albacore Toro sushi. The fish was melt-in-the-mouth with the hints of umami which exploded in my mouth.
But then, Jumbo Scallop Sashimi with Uni hit the table and I think my heart stopped for a bit because these are two of my favorite items together on one plate, and better yet, in one mouthful. I think I would make the drive JUST for this, it was THAT good!
Marinated Tuna sushi only registered as an “okay” for me because I’m not a big fan of maguro, but it was good nevertheless.
I love hamachi but I’ve never had it this way before. Yellowtail Belly sushi with jalapeno was definitely not for those who dislike a strong flavored fish because the belly is always a bit fishier and may be a little too much for some. The jalapeno worked beautifully as it helped cut the aggressive flavor of the fish.
One of my favorite fish is mackerel and Shimaaji (Jack mackerel) sushi was insanely good. The flesh is firm but not tough and had a very distinctive taste unlike the others.
And while on the topic of mackeral, Aji (Spanish mackerel) sushi, another of my favorites, was next. Although both fish are from the mackerel family, you can clearly tell that their flavors are quite different. This is what I love best about eating raw fish — the varying textures and taste of the fish.
We were quite pleased with the next dish completely displayed like a work of art. Live Sweet Shrimp (amaebi) sushi was just that! Live! And it was phenomenal. The plump, sweet shrimp was so delicious, but what was even better was the fried shrimp head filled with all the goodness ordinary amaebi is not able to produce. These shrimp heads are brimming with the tastiest brains and every bit down to the legs are edible!
Blue Crab sushi was absolutely divine. Wrapped in mamenori or soy sheet wrapper, the sushi didn’t need the aioli at all on top because the blue crab was so fresh and flavorful on its own and made for a salivating bite — in fact I’m salivating just writing this up!
Our last item was Toro with Green Onion (negi-toro), every bit delicious except I felt it should’ve come earlier. There were too many outstanding offerings which overshadowed this otherwise welcoming item.
We also sampled dessert, not part of the omakase. For 10 pieces of sushi/sashimi plus an amuse bouche, our omakase came to $50, which, considering what we ate was a steal!
Our desserts included a green tea ice cream crepe which honestly I could take it or leave it. It was a little too heavy after the big meal and on top of that I’m not a crepe person.
The mille cake, on the other hand was fantastic. I couldn’t stop eating it, so you KNOW something was up! The mille cake consisted of layers and layers of thin cake slices sandwiched with the lightest fresh cream. It was airy and absolutely stunning!
I wish Yorba Linda wasn’t as far as it is for me, but I think it won’t be long before I’ll make that drive to have the scallop and uni again. It’s just too good to pass up!
18507 Yorba Linda Blvd
Yorba Linda, CA 92886