The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

Vegetarian’s guide to local Sushi

Sushi is one of the oldest methods of preparing food. It began in Japan as a technique of preserving fish by placing it between two pieces of vinegared rice, and has evolved into a carefully crafted culinary artform.

Sushi remains a popular, healthy and unique dining experience. Even those who don’t eat fish can enjoy a variety of good vegetarian alternatives such as avocado, cucumber, and asparagus rolls. But with more than 30 sushi restaurants in Santa Barbara and Goleta, it can be difficult to find the perfect roll to please your palette.

Kyoto Japanese restaurant is one of the older, and more respected sushi establishments in town. With its authentic Japanese setting, first-class service, and high quality ingredients, Kyoto is sure to impress most sushi-goers.

The vegetable tempura ($4.95) makes for a great appetizer. Tempura is a Japanese dish of seafood or vegetables dipped in a light batter then deep-fried. The assortment of vegetables includes mushrooms, zucchini, eggplant, yams, carrots, long beans, and banana squash. This dish does not taste greasy and does not leave a heavy feeling in the stomach.

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The genroku sushi combo ($12.50) is the perfect vegetarian choice. It consists of four six-piece rolls-a vegetable roll, avocado roll, cucumber roll, and kanpyo roll. It is served with a small garden salad tossed in a creamy oriental dressing, and miso soup. Miso is an important starter when eating sushi because it relaxes and expands the stomach.

The roll, prepared by a Japanese sushi-chef, was served quickly. It was rolled tightly and every vegetable tasted crisp and fresh. After dinner green tea ice cream was served for dessert, which was complemented well by two slices of orange.

The bill for an appetizer, a four-piece combo, soup and salad, dessert, and a soda, was less than $20. With their moderate prices, quality ingredients, and excellent service, Kyoto remains one of the finest sushi restaurants in Santa Barbara.

Sushiya Express in Isla Vista opened its doors a few months ago making it the newcomer in the world of South Coast sushi. A television on the wall and its youthful atmosphere added to the casual ambience. The vegetable tempura ($3.95) is slightly greasier than that of Kyoto, but is very flavorful and offers a variety of vegetables.

This restaurant does not offer vegetarian combos, so each roll must be ordered individually.

The avocado, cucumber, and vegetable rolls are all less than $4 and surprisingly good for an IV restaurant with a fast-food feel. The avocado and cucumbers were fresh, the rolls were coated with an abundance of sesame seeds, and the flavor was exquisite. Sushiya Express is an excellent place to satisfy a sushi-fix in IV.

The newly remodeled Something’s Fishy is well known for its exciting hibachi chefs, who prepare and cook the meal right at the table. Apparently, it is not known for its sushi.

The vegetables did not taste fresh, the rolls fell apart, the service is less than adequate, and the menu is overpriced. The mushroom miso soup had the most flavors, but if the goal is sushi rolls look past Something’s Fishy, as it was mediocre at best.

These are just a few of the many diverse sushi restaurants in Santa Barbara. The next edition of The Channels will include a non-vegetarian sushi review of Arigato, Maeda, and Tsunami. In the meantime check out www.santabarbara.com/dining/default.asp for an in-depth guide to everything sushi in Santa Barbara.

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