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Not too many sushi bars offer Happy Hour specials. Those that do emphasize the bar part more than the sushi part. Ginzaya, though, is different. It's a real sushi bar. Even better: the Happy Hour discount on the nigiri is substantial. They take 30% off the price before 7 p.m., which is significant for this kind of nigiri. These are serious cuts of fish that are sliced generously with proper technique. It's the kind of sushi whose weight, texture and silkiness feel exactly right in your mouth.
The squid chews like a forever-gum-drop; the salmon is satin smooth and full-flavored; and the amaebi comes with the heads and spindly legs deep fried and all delicious.
For people whose definition of sushi includes Philly cheese, the rolls are also specially priced during the Happy Hour. There's a salmon skin roll that is as good as Shibucho's and a sugary-sweet eel roll with avocado that slides down your throat as though it was covered in lubricant.
And there's also the fact that Ginzaya Sushi's servers are warm and actually seem to care. They manage to dote on everyone despite the packed houses on Friday and Saturday nights. Water jugs are refilled usually without asking. Complimentary appetizer dishes of kimchi are replenished with more on the second go-round, and even a third time if you want it.
If that last part about the kimchi seemed odd to you--yes, the place is owned and operated by Koreans. Specialties are scribbled in Hangul and there's more than one Korean dish on offer. But when when the sushi is discounted and this good, who cares that the customary gretting here is not "Irasshaimase!" but rather "Hwan-yŏng-ham-ni-da!"
4790 Irvine Blvd. Ste 103, Irvine, CA 92620, (714) 505-0008; ginzayarestaurant.com
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