Fullerton’s Sushi Joint can be seen invitingly on the corner of Harbor Blvd and Ash Ave. Though the large sign sits overlooking downtown traffic, the Sushi Joint can be easily missed. A quick turn onto Ash leads to a back parking lot, where the restaurant, resembling that of a charming hut, stands waiting for entry.
In Japan, to become an Itamae of sushi requires much training. For the Itamae, a chef specializing in Japanese cooking for large kitchens and restaurants, it could take years to find themselves behind the counter at a sushi establishment.
Relatively empty for a later Saturday afternoon, the few guests seated seem satisfied by their time spent with the Sushi Joint experience. A young man sits alone with earbuds in, watching an episode of The Office on his phone, guzzling down a beer, and snacking on edamame. On the opposite side of the bar, a young mom and dad teach their daughter the proper way to use chopsticks.
Though the headcount is minimal for a Saturday afternoon, to-go orders are plenty. Uber drivers are picking up orders by the minute, and the occasional student comes to take their food home before an afternoon of studying.
John Otis, a frequent customer who visits Fullerton from Los Angeles, enjoys his time away from work in his favorite sushi restaurant. “I try to make it at least once a week. I have a client around the corner, and this is my go-to spot for lunch meetings. The atmosphere and the knick-knacks give the place a great vibe. Oh, and the prices aren’t too bad either.”
At Sushi Joint, the very friendly staff and Itamae have a culinary precision that is tough to find in the now popular world of conveyer belt schtick. Here, the chefs stand behind the sushi counter, cutting and serving the fresh fish to their happy guests.
Otis said, “The chefs seem to really know what they’re doing. They are always so friendly. The Super Rainbow Roll is probably what I order most frequently.”
The sushi comes to the table in an artful fashion, presented to the customer in a beautiful row, colorful with tuna, salmon, and a touch of masago. The Sushi Joint sashimi is presented in a less glamorous fashion. A simple mound of cut fish on a plate without any of the usual accouterments.
The Sushi Joint Sashimi, an item on the menu, is 15 pieces of chef’s choice cut fish, at a reasonable price of $24.90. The price being what it is, for 15 pieces and the chef’s choice, you’re getting exactly what you’re paying for. The dish is decent and passable, but nothing compared to the wonderful rolls they produce on the regular.
The pleasant atmosphere and great service make the Sushi Joint a great location for a quick lunch or an enjoyable choice for a weekend date night.