GENEVIEVE KAMINSKI WRITES – Recently I took a birthday trip to San Diego. I tried new coffee shops, went to Balboa Park, and visited the zoo. I have never been a fan of San Diego due to the lack of entertainment and excessive quiet for this city kid.

For my birthday I searched Yelp to find the best sushi I could. The only catch was that the restaurants had to have the live shrimp heads. The past two years I have been exploring many new foods and restaurants. For my birthday I knew I needed to try something new, and it had to be something crazy. I decided on the shrimp head because I have seen them so many times in sushi restaurants but was skeptical about the taste.

After thirty minutes of searching, I found the perfect match: Sushi Ota, located in the middle of a 7-Eleven and a Planned Parenthood. The fish looked fresh, the aesthetic was calming, and most importantly they had the sweet shrimp heads. Yelp was my best friend in this moment because it showed me everything I needed to see.

Except…when I went to place my order, the shrimp heads were gone. I proceeded with caution, thinking my birthday might be ruined but then I discovered kamasu and needlefish and ordered them. They arrived, white with a slight pink hue. The kamasu was thick sliced, soft, savory and had a small hint of sweetness. The order came with wasabi under the fish which was a nice surprise.

After cleansing my palate with ginger came the needlefish. It was a white fish with a silver line down the middle from the scales, cut thick, smooth with a taste more on the sweeter side and almost as good as the kamsu.

Continuing the dinner, I ordered the salmon, tuna, toro, uni, and some handrolls – the basics, of course. Every single piece was cut thick and to perfection. This had to be the freshest fish I have ever indulged in.

This restaurant is great for intimate gatherings with friends and families. It is located in a quiet, sleepy strip mall off of Mission Bay Drive. The staff was very welcoming and their suggestions for fish and rolls to try were greatly appreciated. For the quality of fish, the prices are reasonable but can be expensive when you order all of the sushi on the menu-which I did, for my birthday.

It was a good time…even without the fish heads. Now I can go back and still have something new to try.

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