Ranch & Coast Magazine

April 2023

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Page 51 of 91

Even the most avid sushi fans can find themselves at a bit of a loss at restaurants where the chefs are as much a centerpiece as the dishes they create. In such venues, aural and visual stimuli are often toned down or eliminated altogether, making for a dining experience that, while unique and steeped in tradition, leaves something to be desired. It would seem the team behind Temaki took this into consideration when designing their downtown Encinitas sushi bar, because it's anything but boring. at's made instantly and undeniably clear by the chorus of music, laughter, and conversation flowing from its interiors out to Coast Highway. Inside, traditionally minimalist sushi bar environs (light woods, eggshell walls, potted flora) are rendered SoCal-mod with the addition of mounted surfboards, wicker, and vibrant, neon-highlighted graffiti art. is is no sedate shrine to the art of sushi. It's a lively, convivial, downright fun place to enjoy quality cuisine as it was meant to be enjoyed. Executive Chef JoJo Ruiz (who also helms Clique Hospitality's Serēa, Lionfish, and Joya Kitchen and has been named a James Beard Smart Catch Leader for his efforts to maintain healthy, sustainable seafood sources) wants to allow diners to enjoy temaki ( Japanese for "hand rolls") within seconds of their creation, while the rice is warm and the pristine seafood he so carefully and responsibly procured is cold. at palate-piquing temperature interplay comes through most poignantly in a shrimp hand roll, which is part of three- ($15), four- ($19), and five-roll ($24) sets. e latter also includes rolls packed with scallop, spicy tuna, luscious salmon, and yellowtail brightened by sweet-tart yuzu mayo. Dipping sauces — ponzu, eel, spicy mayo, and more — can be added on for an additional charge. Individual temaki options include toro (tuna belly), blue and king crab, Maine lobster, and a playful creation dubbed Dre's Pop N' Rock. Named for the restaurant owner's Pop Rocks-loving son, it features the explosive confection blended with shrimp and soft mango to create a sweet, texturally adventurous oddity that's attained must-try status. A fan favorite of Temaki's cut rolls is the Super Ninja Bunny. Stuffed with blue crab, toro, and bubu arare (rice pearls) then topped with garlicky brown butter aioli, salty caviar, and truffle oil, this study in compacted luxury is delivered on a gold platter in the outturned hands of a masked, murdered-out hare-y hitman. Meanwhile, e Kook is a house take on a California roll, West Coast Philly presents flavors of a lox-topped everything bagel, and e Buddha is a vegetarian option filled with tempura sweet potato, tofu, and hon-shimeji mushrooms. << ranchandcoast.com 52 APRIL 2023 RANCH & COAST MAGAZINE

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