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This is sushi for the besotted-low lights, good DJs, across the street from a couple of bars. The menu is straightforward: spider rolls, tuna, California, the regular offerings of a dive catering to the masses. Where Zen excels is its happy-hour half-off specials, as its blinking marquee on its window facing Newport Boulevard reminds you 24 hours a day. Most of their rolls qualify, and all of them are top-grade fish: the tuna glistens and melts like the proverbial stick of butter, the mackerel's fishy essence lingers on the tongue, the soft-shell crab crunches.
Years ago, the Weekly’s then-calendar editor consistently relayed messages to me from Sushi Zen in Costa Mesa. They left e-mails and voice messages for her, asking when would I review their place. The only things I hate in food writing more than... More »
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