Sushi Roku Newport Beach Opening Monday

A Robata crossroads
A Robata crossroads
Anne Marie Panoringan

What does Sushi Roku have that Fig & Olive, Red O and CUCINA Enoteca don't? A Southwest following. With locations in Vegas, Scottsdale and three others in California, we knew about this brand over a decade ago--- ages before anything red and figgy came along to Orange County. It's no surprise to have them join the upscale ranks at Fashion Island, expanding the wall and ceiling space that was most recently Brasserie Pascal.

Asking someone about their preferred sushi spot can be a heated debate around here, so we aren't touching that with a ten-foot pole. Get your facts and some eye candy to tide you over the weekend. Prepare to dive in next week!

One feature that sets Newport Beach apart from their sister spots is the Katana Robata (aka skewers). A nod to their Robata Bar concept in Santa Monica, consider it the most Paleo-friendly part of the menu. Prepared over an open flame, izakaya-style sticks of sea bass, Kobe black pepper, chicken, bacon-wrapped shrimp and filet foie (not a typo) will be a nice alternative to their chilled selections.

Where you'll find us
Where you'll find us
Anne Marie Panoringan

Check out the decor while you're sipping sake. Eye-catching light installations, artwork from local galleries and rich textures make it the most opulent dining room we've seen in a while. And yes, there's a happy hour that won't break the bank. Tastes include pork kakuni sliders and Albacore sashimi.

Expect a selection of both traditional and creative sushi offerings, with ingredients like black truffle and Italian cheese to make you go hmmmm. Don't knock it 'til you try it, right? Purists can breathe a sigh of relief, as uni, hamachi and toro will always be available. Dinner service only will be served Monday, with lunch beginning the next day. Irasshaimase!

Sushi Roku will be located at 327 Newport Center Dr, Newport Beach, (949) 706-3622; www.sushiroku.com.

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