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Best Japanese/Sushi restaurant: Consistent raw-fish revelations 

Angel Fish

Its strip-mall setting in ubersuburban Harbor Bay Landing makes Angel Fish an implausible place for sushi epiphanies, but the restaurant's diligent selection of seafood sparks flashes of revelation. At a recent session bellied up to the cast-concrete sushi bar — tinted an earthy red, the color of cooked octopus tentacles — we nibbled our way through a series of wasabi-spiked delights. Seared dark-fleshed bonito (katsuo nigiri) had a scrumptious duality of texture. It was delicate and dry around the cooked edge, soft and gelatinous at its raw center. Pale albacore tuna (shiro maguro) was luscious, while Hawaiian white tuna was downright silky, sapid with the protein deliciousness called umami in Japan. But the evening's real showstopper came via Japanese uni, sea urchin roe. California uni is flabby and can seem bland. Its peach-
colored Japanese cousin had a resinous sweetness that conjured maple syrup and made us all but forget we were perched at the edge of a strip-mall parking lot.
(Sorry, no information is currently available for other years in this same award category.)


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