Eat This Now: Stuffed Squid at ETCetera Sushi & Izakaya

Despite being located on a one-way street in a plaza full of wedding vendors that all close up shop at sundown, you won’t find ETCetera Sushi & Izakaya without a line outside and a wait list five parties deep. And as well it should. In Costa Mesa, a town not lacking in sushi joints or izakayas, ETCetera is new, but already a respected player. 

I had one of the better salmon skin rolls I’ve ever had there. The agedashi tofu is fried delicately. And when you order poke, it’s presented in an upturned bowl for no other reason than because it looks cool.

The best thing to order, though, is hidden in the so-called “tapas” list. It’s described simply as “stuffed squid” because that’s exactly what it is: a cooked mantle of a calamari, stuffed with imitation crab meat, that’s then cut into coins and drizzled with Sriracha, eel sauce, and mayo—you know—the usual suspects.

But then, you eat it and discover it’s a sushi roll unlike any you’ve encountered in the past. It’s has ten times the flavor, but none of the carbs. And since these squid are actual squid, not cuttlefish, you realize the labor it took to stuff them requires even more meticulous patience than making a turduken.

355 Bristol St, Costa Mesa,(657) 231-6222

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