OC Eats: Santa Ana's Favorite Sushi Bar
Every neighborhood has that friendly spot where everyone goes for a hot meal, cold drink and some neighborly joshing. In Santa Ana, California, a new fusion sushi bar has taken over as the community’s favorite with their own fearless take on traditional sushi and daring flavors. At this “Cheers” of sushi restaurants, everybody knows your name and soon enough you'll surely know theirs. The friendly atmosphere is no doubt a contagion factored by the fact that Ponzu Sushi Bar is founded by five friends.
Nathan, Michael, Sky, Chris and Thai pool their passion for food and expertise to bring quality sushi to Orange County. Incredible and complex flavors are the first thing you’ll notice when eating here for the first time. Each dish is an edible cultural explosion thanks to the influences of the partners and friends.
Chefs Nathan and Sky are decade-long experienced sushi chefs of Thai descent. Chef Michael is a Cordon Bleu graduate with a knack for marrying distinctive tastes. Chris is the experienced restauranteur and Thai is a Vietnamese American banker by day and Ponzu’s jack-of-all-trade by night.
From carpaccio and rolls to nigiri and sashimi, everything was bursting with unrelenting flavors. Below are some of my absolute favorites that you cannot miss.
The yellowtail carpaccio was refreshing and stunning with a beautiful blend of peppery yuzu dressing, mildly sweet citrus juice and a hint of sea salt.
The Nathan Special aka salmon carpaccio is bold with spicy and sweet sauce that’s almost curry-like. You can really taste Chef Nathan’s Thai influence with this flavorful dish.
The Beast is one of the most unique sushi I’ve ever enjoyed. The seared albacore is topped with a creamy garlic sauce and perfectly fried onion strips. Every bite is a party in your mouth. The soft Japanese rice, seared and smoky albacore, garlicky cream and crunchy onions are pleasantly heavy in flavor and not suitable for your conscious dieters. If this was served in a bowl instead of as two pieces of sushi, it would still be devoured in seconds.
Sunrise on 17th
Sunrise on 17th is Chef Sky’s elaborate specialty. These rolls are so complex in flavors I won’t try to describe them — maybe just a little. They’re soft, crunchy, sweet, salty, rich and light with a variety of fish, crab and crunchy wonton. When visiting sushi restaurants, I’m more of a sushi sensei than a rolls lady but somehow I really love these rolls.
Bluefin Tuna with pickled wasabi is delightfully simple and delicious. This is a more traditional Japanese style sushi where the emphasis is on the high quality fish, luxurious rice and peppery wasabi.
Toro sushi is the kind of thing I daydream about when I crave sushi. I often refer to toro as the Kobe beef of fish because they’re rich, tender and buttery with incredible marbling. Needless to say, this is my absolute favorite from Ponzu as it was served exquisitely with the chef’s signature homemade soy sauce. The savory sauce is lightly brushed on and not overwhelming so you will be able to taste every buttery bite of the toro.
So there you have it, a list of stunning sushi to try as soon as possible. A fabulous and friendly fusion feast awaits. When visiting Ponzu Sushi Bar, you’ll love the chefs, enjoy the food and thank me later. You’re welcome!
@YvonLux is a marketing CEO and founder of VANT4GE, LLC who is also a social and beauty influencer, Yvon Lux and @YvonLuxFood. She is also a published blogger and editor for her Apple News channel.
The young female founder has been featured in the Los Angeles Times, Orange County Register, Modern Luxury Magazine, and various other media outlets. Connect with her on Instagram and subscribe to her channel!