July 10, 2007

Ikko Japanese Restaurant [Costa Mesa]

Though I've been for dinner a few times (1), today was my first venture into lunch. I have always been intrigued by Ikko's lunch menu, which isn't your standard bento box affair. There was no miso soup or chicken terriyaki in sight. We tried the lunch special, which was a special roll and a chicken meatball and baked mochi soup with daikon radish. The soup was a little on the salty side, but the special roll was a light and sweet combination of tamago, eel, and shrimp.

The same sushi chefs were there for lunch, though sushi specials are featured primarily in the evening. We built our meal primarily on sushi and ventured outside of our comfort zones by blindly ordering. My first encounter with pen shell was on the tasting menu at Cyrus and if that was good, the sushi was mind blowing. The pen shell belongs to the same family as scallops and is expectedly sweet. What is unexpected is the range of flavor, which your mouth explores as the pen shell slowly melts away. Don't miss it.

From left to right: Taraigai (pen shell), Aji (Spanish mackerel), Hamachi (yellowtail)

We were dazzled by the progression and freshness of our sushi, which was dressed with restraint to bring out the natural qualities of the fish. I will vouch for Ikko once more and this time designate it as a C'est Poptastique! pick.

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