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Gossiping Gourmet: San Shi Go looking better than before

October 13, 2010|Elle Harrow and Terry Markowitz
  • The Sea Green Sashimi is served at San Shi Go restaurant in Laguna Beach.
The Sea Green Sashimi is served at San Shi Go restaurant… (KENT TREPTOW, HB…)

San Shi Go has been in Laguna for a long time and although the décor was never a draw, their fabulous ocean view provided all the visual satisfaction one needed. However, the restaurant has undergone a recent facelift and the old girl is looking good. Located high atop the Village Fair (on the third floor), featuring reasonably priced Japanese cuisine, the place seems to be buzzing all of the time.

We have always found the cooked food superior to the sushi and our latest visit reconfirmed our opinion. We also recommend ordering a few dishes at a time to enjoy a leisurely meal. Service is very attentive and you won't find yourself waiting.

Starting with simple hamachi sushi, we were underwhelmed by the quality of the fish… not bad but not special either. We moved on to the seaweed salad and were duly impressed. The bright green crunchy wakame was enhanced by the beautifully balanced, sweet and sour dressing and given variety with shredded carrot and sesame seeds. If you've never tasted a seaweed salad, try it — you'll like it!

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We've always found that San Shi Go excels in agé dishes (deep-fried), so we ordered an old favorite, soft-shelled crab. One very large, golden-crusted crustacean arrived with two sauces, a spicy aioli and a light, lemony ponzu sauce. It was as good as we remembered. We alternated dipping between the delicate ponzu and the zippy mayonnaise. The sweet, luscious crab was coated with a crunchy, nearly greaseless batter and most importantly, the fry oil tasted very clean.

We tried two different ahi preparations, the tuna tartar and the spicy tuna roll. The tartar itself was rather bland but it came with a very tasty sweet and salty sauce and a topping of surprisingly good caviar, all presented on a shiso leaf, which is distinctive and delicious, itself. Much more interesting was the spicy tuna roll with the rice composed around a puree of smoky tuna with zesty mayonnaise. Texture came from toothy gobo root, cucumber and radish sprouts.

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