Let us now praise the local sushi joint, the restaurant genre in which Japanese chefs throw away any pretense of authenticity in the name of pleasing Americans. They're all over Orange County, almost rarely patronized by actual Japanese (who head to Tustin or Costa Mesa for a taste of home), yet always busy because fat-conscious OC still thinks polishing off a hand roll and a cut roll glopped with mayo and teriyaki sauce in one sitting is still healthy.
These neighborhood spots are of varying worth and don't really get customers outside of their neighborhood because everyone has one near where they live. I lost mine years ago, when the chef behind the counter complained that I cussed too much when I talked with friends. But I think I've found a new place in Mika Sushi. It's not a local sushi restaurant, per se: most of its customers come from the nearby CHOC and St. Joseph Hospital, the OCTA, or other office buildings, or they are commuters looking for a quick bite before hopping onto the 5.
But Mika features everything a casual sushi-eater needs: an encyclopedic menu that spans everything from teriyaki bowls to udon to build-your-own bento box combos, plus a jaw-dropping selection of more than 50 sushi rolls. The names alone are worth a visit: explosive (Dynamite, T.N.T.), murderous (both the Tuna Killer and Salmon Killer are just the namesake fish on top of themselves), ethnic (the difference between the Aloha and Hawaiian? The former has fried onions and albacore), descriptive (Hot Night roll has spicy tuna and Sriracha), and just weird (who's Jessica, and why is her roll a simple shrimp crunch roll with toppings alternating between salmon and tuna?). Honestly, the rolls all taste the same after a while, especially because Mika doesn't go light with its various sauces. But they're all good, and simplicity is okay—sometimes, you and your pals don't want to try some esoteric fish composed with the beauty of a ukiyo-e print.
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Mika Sushi, 691 S. Main St., Ste. 140, Orange, (714) 835-5240.