The sushi experience was just that,
an incredible experience. Sam honored my dining
companion and me by being our personal sushi
chef for the evening. We began with one of his
specials the Del Mar roll. An exquisite
combination of spicy tuna, spicy eel tail, and
salmon topped with scallops and shaved Bonita,
it was delectable.
We watched as Sam took a
large chefs knife to a cucumber
and turned it into in a spiral which would
later become the outer casing of our next
treat, the Paradise roll. Yellowtail tuna,
salmon, eel tail, carrot, crabmeat, encased
in soy paper, then completed with the
cucumber. Everything tasted crisp and
The most important
thing is that the fish is fresh,
says Sam. No matter how good of
a sushi chef you are, the sushi wont
taste good unless everything is fresh.
About 90 percent of the fish
Sam uses comes from Japan. Everyday an
employee picks up the fish at the docks
in Los Angeles from a special broker.
The fish is more expensive, but Sam wants
He gets scallops from the north of Japan,
tuna from the deep, cold waters off Asia.
He says, I use no local fish.About
90 percent of the fish Sam uses comes
Everyday an employee picks up the
fish at the docks in Los Angeles from a special
broker. The fish is more expensive, but Sam
wants quality first. He gets scallops from the
north of Japan, tuna from the deep, cold waters
off Asia. He says, I use no local fish.
This quality is reflected in the
price, certainly in the special rolls. And you
will taste it. The value is definitely found
in the fresh, superior fare.
The JF special, named after Sams
daughter, Jennifer, is the next delightful roll
we are presented. It is a combination of asparagus
tempura, shrimp tempura, salmon and avocado,
topped with baked scallops in a sweet sesame
sauce. Words can hardly describe the rich, full
One of the simplest pieces
we had was a spicy, lobster hand roll.
I would recommend this to anyone who likes
a bit of zest to wake up their taste buds.
This eating extravaganza continued for
about two hours, and just when we thought
it was over, Sam completed the meal with
a kind of dessert sushi he calls the Volcano.
If you are a fan of the sitcom, Friends,
and its character named Janice, then,
Oh My God! Im not going
to describe it further; youll have
to order this for yourself. I didnt
see it one the menu, so you will have
to ask for it.
Although Sam has been a practiced
sushi chef in the US for only ten years, he
comes from a family of such chefs. His parents
owned a sushi restaurant in Taiwan. I
saw it everyday; I learned by watching.
Sam came to States in 1972 and settled in the
San Diego area. He worked as a cook at various
kitchens, including the Lawrence Welk Resort
and the Lakeside Country Club. He opened his
first Japanese Café six years ago.
He now owns three, located in Del Mar, Oceanside
and Vista. The latter has only been open two
months, but the place is packed. The three sushi
chefs had not taken a break all night. Perhaps
Sams reputation for fine sushi precedes
Hours: Monday Thursday
11:30 am 9 pm; Friday - Sunday 11:30
am 10 p.m.
Payment accepted: Credit cards, cash.
Pricing: High-end sushi goes up to $12.95 for
special rolls; Traditional Japanese entrees
average $12 15.00.
Other: Very courteous staff. Very clean environment.
35 Main Street
Vista Village Center