Ogawashi is a sushi restaurant that opened in downtown San Diego a few months ago. Normally I don’t pay much attention to ones that open in downtown as they tend to be overpriced, loud and primarily offer sushi roll driven menus.
Ogawashi mainly caught my attention because Roddy of Rodzilla Reviews was helping promote the restaurant and I trust his taste in sushi. In addition to offering many rolls, featuring handcrafted cocktails, Ogawashi also has a sushi bar which offers omakase meals.
My first visit was a quick lunch visit with CC of Pink Candles at Ridgemont High so that we could exchange some holiday presents. Like many places in downtown, Ogawashi offers a special lunch menu as well as a 10% discount on all rolls during lunch.
While Ogawashi is located in downtown, it’s a little bit outside of the busiest section and almost seems out of place with the surrounding convenience and clothing stores. I actually walked right past it at first even though once I spotted it, I’m not sure how I missed it with its large sign and absolutely humongous door. Inside, there is a general seating area, a bar dedicated to drinks, a sushi bar, and an upstairs reserved for private parties. The general dining area is also equipped with purple fluorescent lights which really messed with my photos but people seem to like them.
After much perusing, CC and I decided to split two rolls and share an appetizer.
I love eating Japanese seaweed salad even though it does seem to glow green. This was a good amount for the price.
Spicy Tuna Crispy Rice Roll
I spotted the crispy rice roll on the menu and immediately wanted to order it. Small chunks of rice are deep fried, creating a crunchy exterior, and a compact, dense and chewy interior. The rice is then topped with whatever topping chosen, in this case, spicy tuna. I’ve had these crispy rice rolls before and always want to order it. DH has never enjoyed it, but CC really liked it, so I’m glad I could share it with someone who likes this.
It reminds me a lot of the fried rice I used to eat as a kid and love, which is cooked in a manner so that some of the rice is left to cook a little longer than necessary on the bottom of the pan, letting the rice crisp up and become crunchy and chewy. It’s a similar effect with Japanese kettle cooked rice or the Korean stone pot cooked rice (bibimbap).
Ogawashi’s version had thicker rice balls than other versions I’ve had but I actually preferred it. Sometimes the rice layer is too thin at other sushi places and as a result, it becomes too hard after the frying process.
Hanabi Roll (shrimp tempura, spicy tuna, spicy salmon, crab, avocado, baked with spicy mayonnaise and topped with eel sauce)
This was pretty standard. Lots of different things going on, with a heavy spicy mayonnaise which sort of masks any of the fish flavors. I liked it but it didn’t really stand out for me.
Overall, I thought the menu was pretty reasonably priced and we had a good time from my initial trip. Like many places downtown, it is catering to a younger crowd. I had been planning on taking DH here for lunch on one of his days off and sample some of the sashimi, but as luck would have it, we got an even better opportunity when Roddy arranged for us to experience the omakase at the sushi bar. Stay tuned for part 2, our omakase dinner.
You can view Ogawashi’s lunch and dinner menus here.
You can read CC’s account of our meal here, with a lot more pictures of the interior too.
1100 5th Avenue
San Diego, CA 92101