Give my teenage son his druthers and he’d eat sushi for dinner every night. So it’s no surprise that it’s his first pick for a special occasion meal. As the kids are growing and we try to incorporate more one-on-one quality time as parents, my husband and I recently instituted “Father/Son, Father/Daughter and Mother/Son, Mother/Daughter dinners” that we’re hoping to coordinate with some regularity. So for our first official Mother/Son foray, I had the perfect spot lined up: Sushi Roku in Newport Beach.
Positioned on California’s golden coast, Sushi Roku combines a mature take on both traditional and contemporary fare. Incorporating only the freshest ingredients with non-traditional accoutrements and influences (more on that in a minute).
The ambiance at this popular Fashion Island eatery even made this old mom seem “hip,” noshing on pretty spectacularly flavored and artfully presented dishes in an atmosphere defined by a vibrant, upbeat energy.
The menu showcases a variety of specialty appetizers, signature rolls, decadent Robata skewers and entrees to please any palate whether you are a seafood aficionado or a dedicated meat lover. Dishes here display diverse influences from Latin America and Europe, elements like jalapenos and olive oil deliciously enhancing innovative cold and hot starters such as hamachi serrano and fried calamari with charred jalapeno glaze. The beef ribeye wrapped asparagus is an absolute mouthwatering must and my son raved about the Katana roll made with spicy tuna and shrimp tempura topped with tuna and yellowtail.
Full disclosure: I’m half Japanese and fancy myself somewhat of a sushi/sashimi connoisseur. My family claims I can be a little particular when it comes to the freshness of seafood … that may be the case, but there were certainly no complaints on this night – every dish was divine from the nigiri sushi (my fave). To my son’s delight, dessert was an over-the-top sweet spectacle called the Circus Birthday Cake which arrived with a chocolate/cheesecake fully encased in pink cotton candy illuminated by a cake sparkler that was more 4th of July than a traditional birthday candle.
Exotic isn’t the right word for such an intriguing combination of flavors as offered at Sushi Roku, but “artistic” hits the right notes (pun intended). Don’t sleep on the bold, awe-inspiring style, ambiance, and best-in-class customer service. Tastemakers (and Average Janes as well!) call Sushi Roku home and it’s not hard to see why.