Kappo Sui in the OC

H.o.P., also known as my family, is how my sister likes to refer to us.  Every time H.o.P. gets together, we do what we do best… eat. =)  So this particular weekend was unlikely to be different than any other time when we are together.  I’m usually in the mood for Japanese when I’m home, so we yelped and found Kappo Sui in Costa Mesa.  Supposedly, it’s a very authentically Japanese restaurant where different menus are given to non-natives.  From the moment we entered, it was quite obvious who the restaurant was catering to when all the specials on the chalkboard were completely written in Japanese and a fair number of the tables had people engaged in exuberant Japanese chatter.  We started off with a few things from the English menu, but then we asked the waitress to translate the specials for us.

The sushi was pretty typical for the most part. It was good, but nothing out of this world, but I do remember the fatty tuna roll being pretty tasty as far as tuna rolls go.  The roll tasted richer and fattier, so it was definitely toro as opposed to maguro.

The Octopus Salad was delicious. The octopus was just chewy enough without being tough to chew which is often hard to find with squid and octopus.  I can’t recall exactly what the dressing was on the squid and salad, but I distinctly remember sneaking a couple extra pieces in because it tasted so yummy.

Truthfully, I’ve never been a huge fan of Agedashi Tofu, not that I dislike it.  I just find the taste and consistency to be kind of bland and mushy, so even though I would never order it, I’ll still end up eating it when it arrives at the table.  Unfortunately, this version wasn’t any better.  The seaweed, green onions and wasabi on top was probably intended to add a little more taste and kick to it, but it didn’t do enough to make me love the dish.

My siblings would resoundingly echo how this dish is totally something I would order, Creamy Shrimp Croquette. I can’t deny this to be true, because it topped my list of dishes to order.  Although it doesn’t look so good, it was actually pretty interesting. The creamy shrimp filling was not too heavy which was good in balancing out the deep-fried crunchiness of the outer batter.  I really liked this dish!

Almost every Japanese restaurant (and even some non-Japanese ones) always has some miso-flavored white fish of some sort on the menu.  Although presentation left little to be desired, the fish itself was pretty good but typical tasting of most miso-flavored fishes. Rich, oily and tasty.

I don’t often eat fried yellowtail, but this tasted really good. It wasn’t dry and still had a lot of good flavor. It was quite crispy on the outside which I assume meant that it was deep-fried, but then there was a slightly smokey flavor to it as well, so I don’ t know if it also spent some time on the barby. Either way, a pretty good dish.

The Ambercheek was something new that I’ve never had.  Like most sashimi, it’s hard to really describe raw fish, but I remember it being very good.

The grilled prawns were generally okay.  Although the taste of the prawns were sweet, it was overshadowed by the fact that the prawns were slightly overcooked. As a result, it was a little dry.  Surprisingly, I found the shrimp heads to be quite tasty and flavorful. I’m not sure what possessed me to suck the brains, because I usually don’t.  However, in this case, it ended up being the most flavorful part of the prawn.

We saw the table next to us eating these noodles.  We were so intrigued that we ordered this and some hot udon noodle soup to end the meal.  For the life of me, I can’t remember what these noodles were called. As it was, I had a hard time understanding the waitress as she awkwardly repeated the name of the noodles a couple of times for me.  Nevertheless, it was good. The noodles were cooked al dente and served cold.  After dipping the noodles in the soy sauce-based broth, it is considered socially acceptable in Japanese culture to slurp your noodles.  I’ve actually never eaten noodles like this before, but I really liked the dish.

Overall, the food here was above average. A few of the dishes were unique and memorable, and even though the sushi was somewhat average, I still felt very satisfied with the meal as a whole.  I’m sure it would have been easier on us had we had a native Japanese person with us who could read the menu and order for us, but we fared pretty well and managed to enjoy a really good dinner.

Kappo Sui
20070 Santa Ana Ave
Costa Mesa, CA 92707

PAFO Ratings for Kappo Sui:
Price 3 stars
Ambiance 3 stars
Food 3½ stars
Overall rating 3½ stars

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