Tuesday, August 7, 2012

ROC - Nana San

There are many sushi restaurants in Orange County. Fortunately, there are a significant portion of them that serves authentic preparations of sushi. If I need to have sushi elsewhere other than my go-to place Ikko, I come to Nana San. Nana San literally translates to "Seven Three" as the restaurant's next to the 73 freeway.

Ikko preseasons the majority of their sushi, the atmosphere's more intimate, and they absolutely don't served Americanized rolls. Nana San does have that saucer for soy sauce for you to dip most of their sushi in, the atmosphere's much more casual, and they have American rolls for a good portion of their clientele who aren't exposed to traditional, authentic sushi due to their fears of it being fishy. Granted, most people in the US aren't familiar with traditional sushi and etiquette (dipping into the soy sauce fish side down (I understand it's very difficult for some people who aren't used to chopsticks), not mixing the wasabi into the soy sauce as the sushi chef already added wasabi between the rice and the fish, and not rubbing chopsticks together). I do eat California rolls from time to time for its nostalgia but then quickly opt for its traditional counterpart soon after. It's like a 40 year old man smoking a joint to reminisce the days of his youth but then immediately going for a single-malt scotch... or blow as he realizes that he's too old to be getting high like a teenager. Be that as it may, I hope that the Americanized sushi serves as a transitional medium in order to get people into the joys of eating real, traditional sushi and also into sushi etiquette as well.

However aside from the rolls, Nana San serves plenty of authentic sushi and items on the menu; they do an amazing job in that regard. There are times where they serve stuff traditionally served in in Japan where at times Ikko does not offer such as bonito for the majority of the year and Shirako which is Cod Sperm Sac that Anthony Bourdain raves on "No Reservations" (by the way, it's actually very delicious as ponzu is added to it). It's also known as "Cod Milt" in order for customers to not imagine themselves as the star of a bukkake flick. But then again, the double standard is that we eat eggs which happen to be gametes of the female.

Back to Nana San. I,  of course, opted to sit at the sushi bar. Unlike Ikko where a list is provided for you to select all of your sushi at once, you tell the sushi chef what you would like one or two orders at a time and serves you them before ordering more (Yes, they do a great job in remembering what you had plus this is very common at most sushi bars in Japan).  I order a large Sapporo beer for my meal and off with the sushi experience.

I first ordered the Ankimo (Monkfish Liver) appetizer with daikon, scallions, and ponzu. I actually prefer their Ankimo prepared traditionally over Ikko's which is served with a mousse and other stuff that didn't work with it. Unfortunately, I had forgotten to take a photo of it.

The first sushi I've received was European Sea Bass (Suzuki) with an acidic seaweed-like topping. It was very delicious as it was seared on the outside.

Next was Sayori (Half Beak) as I was curious after first hearing this from the movie "Jiro Dreams of Sushi". It tasted meaty and fishy like Mackerel.

 Next was Aji (Spanish Mackerel) topped with ginger, scallions and ponzu. One think I like about Nana San was their usage of ponzu with Aji and white fishes.

I ordered Hirame next in it's plain preparation as is. I had expected it topped with ponzu and scallions but they probably made it plain because I didn't want it with their other preparation with jalapenos. Once again, I forgot to take a photo of it.

Next was Chu-Toro (Medium Fatty Tuna). I originally requested O-Toro (very Fatty Tuna) but they only had Chu-Toro. This was really delicious that I actually prefer it here than Ikko.

Kanpachi (Amberjack) was next topped with fermented yuzu and yuzu juice where soy sauce wasn't necessary. I remembered mid way which is why there was only one piece in the photo.

Next was Katsuo (Bonito) which is unique for Nana San as they have it most of the time. It was topped with scallions, ginger and ponzu. This was very delicious.

Next was the Tai (Japanese Red Snapper) topped with Yuzu juice. This tasted very clean and refreshing.

I then ordered the Amaebi. However, I had wanted the live shrimp/prawns but they were all sold out. They did give me the non-live prawns instead. Nonetheless, it still tasted pretty fresh. I also requested to have their heads fried instead of put into a miso soup.

Next came Uni (Sea Urchin Roe). It came in a Gunkan (battleship roll - seaweed wrapped horizontally) preparation. This of course was good but I felt it was watery in texture. I prefer Ikko's Uni much more.

My final sushi was Ikura (Salmon Roe). It was standard with me having to dip it in soy sauce.

Overall, my meal at Nana San was good. The restaurant gets crowded over Fridays and Saturdays. They're closed on Sundays. The following is their Yelp link with their address, phone number and hours: http://www.yelp.com/biz/nana-san-newport-beach. If you want a casual place to dine while enjoying authentic preparations of sushi, or if you want to have also the option of rolls as well, especially for a dining companion who's not yet comfortable with sushi; head over to Nana San!

Nana San on Urbanspoon

No comments:

Post a Comment