Like most people, I’ve frequently dined at sushi restaurants for what amounts to a basic sushi experience, but after dining at Sushi Ii last fall, I realized I could never look at sushi the same way again.
I’m no expert when it comes to sushi. I love a good tuna handroll or cut roll, and various fish atop rice, but I’m also open to trying new things alongside familiar dishes.
One thing I had never done is experience an Omakase menu, until I ventured over to Sushi Ii in the Mariner’s Pointe building at the corner of West Coast Highway and Dover Drive.
Open just over two years, Sushi Ii’s name comes from owner and Master Chef Susumu Ii. His omakase (“I leave it up to you”) menu that I experienced was a combination of culinary artistry and surprising dishes, most of which I had never before sampled.
Now, I’ve been told that Master Chef Susumu Ii has created seasonal additions to his Omakase menus and specialty sake pairings featuring the fine sakes of Dessai.
The seasonal changes in the menu are reflective of Chef Ii’s washoku training in Osaka and decades spent mastering how the ebb and flow of the seasons play into the traditional art of sushi.
According to a press release from Sushi Ii, guests can expect to see seasonal upgrades and additions across Sushi Ii’s three Omakase experiences, which range in price from $150 to $250+ per person. For example, the multi-course Bizen menu includes a starter, seasonal appetizer, sashimi, baked dish, simmered dish, fried dish, nigiri, miso soup, and dessert.
Springtime starters vary daily and can include seasonal items like Monkfish Liver with Narazuke, a traditional Japanese pickled melon with freshly grated wasabi and Mizuna Ohitashi, a delicately boiled vegetable salad dressed with dashi and soy sauce topped with fried tofu skin.
Chef Ii’s meticulous attention to detail shines through the seasonal appetizer course displaying intricate bite-sized items like the umami-rich Unagi Rice wrapped in omelet; Cherry Trout baked with a Japanese pepper leaf which signifies spring; and a coiled Needlefish served with a tangy-sweet plum soy sauce.
Hyper-seasonal seafood include Ainame, a rare fish that can only be found along the rocky shores of the Japanese archipelago; Bonito, caught in spring along the harbors of the Shizuoka; and Manakatsuo, a Japanese butterfish from Kyushu. These spring seafood delicacies appear throughout the menu’s nigiri and cooked courses.
In addition to its new spring menu, Sushi Ii will be offering side-by-side tastings of sakes from Dassai. Available as an add-on to Chef Ii’s illustrious Omakase offerings, the pairing gives guests a glimpse into three of the world’s finest sakes – Dassai’s sparkling nigori, Dassai 23, and Dassai Hayata 23
Sushi Ii is open Tuesday—Sunday for dinner, with reservation times available from 5 to 8 p.m. For more information, please visit https://www.sushi-ii.com.
Reservations are highly recommended. At 1200 square feet, the restaurant seats 24 guests with two tables of four and 16 counter seats, six of which can be entirely enclosed with a partition to create an elite private dining experience.