Ginzaya - Irvine
There's a lot to love about Ginzaya Sushi. First, it has a Happy Hour, which, save for the ones that double as actual bars with the thump-thumpy music, not a lot of sushi bars offer.
Even better: the discount on the nigiri is substantial. They take 30% off the price before 7 p.m., which is significant for this kind of nigiri. These are serious cuts of fish that are sliced generously with proper technique. It's the kind of sushi whose weight, texture and silkiness feel exactly right in your mouth. You just know.
The squid chews like a forever-gum-drop; the salmon is satin smooth and full-flavored; and the amaebi comes with the heads and spindly legs deep fried and all delicious.
For people whose definition of sushi includes Philly cheese, the rolls are also specially priced during the Happy Hour. There's a salmon skin roll that is as good as Shibucho's and an eel roll with avocado that even the most ardent snob will admit to liking.
Another thing to love: Ginzaya Sushi servers also seem to actually give a damn. They're not on auto-pilot or just sticking around till they clock out. They'll offer to refill your kimchi dish, and will give you even more on the second go-round.
And if that last part about the kimchi seemed odd to you, it brings me to other reason to love Ginzaya--no one seems to care that they're not Japanese.
Yes, the place is owned and operated by Koreans. The specials are scribbled in Hangul. And there is more than one Korean dish on offer here. But if the Asian customers are as happy as the predominantly white ones, what does it matter that the greeting here is not "Irasshaimase!" but rather "Hwan-yŏng-ham-ni-da!"
4790 Irvine Blvd.
Irvine, CA 92620
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