Monday, September 19, 2011
Eatery - Kaisen Kaiten (CA) Revisited
Kaisen Kaiten - 3855 S Bristol St, Santa Ana, CA 92704
Pricing - $$ | Dining - Casual | Cuisine - Japanese (Sushi) | Reservations - Unavailable
[My first review of this place can be found here.] I had a craving for sushi one day and figured that since one of my interviews was going to be near the place, I asked Duc if I could take him to a revolving sushi bar for his first time ever. Of course he said yes; who would deny a sushi dinner courtesy of me anyhow? We got there at 4pm to have a late lunch/early dinner on a Monday, and it was empty enough that we could seat ourselves at the bar and take our time with the meal. Though Kaisen Kaiten is a revolving sushi bar, you also can write down your order and put it into a container that is conveyor-belted to the chefs. We got a lot actually.
While waiting for the food, I couldn't resist and grabbed a 99 cent plate of seaweed. I love this crunchy, crisp seaweed because it is covered in a savory sesame oil with plenty of flavor and goodness. For under a dollar, it was a steal!
The first things to come out from our order were the hand rolls. We got two of the specials for the day which meant that hand rolls were only $1.75. I had the negitoro which was just divine while Duc had the spicy tuna. I love how jam-packed the rolls are with fish - it seems like hand rolls are things that sushi places tend to skimp on in terms of fish but these were fantastic.
We naturally ordered the crunchy roll because that is just a non-traditional guilty pleasure every time I go to a sushi place. It was okay here. I've definitely had better but I think what ruined it for me here was that avocado was included which generally overpowers other flavors.
Hamachi sashimi! My goodness - this was the first sashimi we had for dinner and oh my did it melt in our mouths. The fish was cool and so appetizing; it felt like yellowtail heaven on my tastebuds. It gleamed on our plate and on our palates. Delish!
Duc was curious about the baked mayo salmon, and I wanted my other staple - Inari. The inari was pretty good with the rice being cooked just right; a lot of places will have the rice too sticky or dry but this was great. The baked mayo salmon was very interesting because it looked to me like the chef had gone over the top with a lighter since the sides were fresh and raw (the slight burn marks on the plate were also clues). Great technique and great dish! I wouldn't choose it again though only because I prefer my sushi to be completely raw and because there was mayo on it.
The one and only dish we didn't like that night was the amaebi (sweet shrimp) because the texture was just so foreign and gelatinous to us. I had to wash the taste and texture down with a lot of water. However, the unagi (eel) was just fantastic. It was definitely the meatiest eel serving I've had at a sushi place and so rich. Fantastically prepared.
We finished off the meal with green tea ice cream which came with half a wafer. It was a generous amount considering it was only $1.25 and was delightful. What a thoroughly enjoyable sushi experience! For all we ate too, it was barely a dent in my wallet at just a little over $30.