I gotta say; as years have passed, the longer I live in San Diego, my reception of what's going on over "the coconut wireless" gets more and more faint. I think most folks use the four lettered word site to get their info these days. But here's one I got a day after posting on San Diego Poke Company. Anyway, he who wants to remain silent told me the poke at this tiny little, mostly take-out shop in the East Village was worth a try for the poke. I was warned off the nigiri and he knew I don't do the rolls thing. Which is how I ended up at Tokyo Deli.
Loved the shop which was sparkling white; the crew all Japanese, there are a few brands of soy sauce and other Japanese items for sale in a small retail area.
The drill is basic order at the counter and get your food. The folks are professional.
The poke bowls can be made on rice, as a salad, or half and half. They start at $9.80 with two toppings gratis and an upcharge extra items or even more for avocado and/or cream cheese.....cream cheese....on a poke bowl. So, no Flamin' Cheetos toppings or any of that stuff here, after all, did you want all kinds of "stuff" or fish, eh?
There's a glass display of items from the menu.....no, it's not plastic food.
Wanting something basic to determine how good the fish was; I went with the rice bowl, with tuna (of course), the sesame soy sounded closest to shoyu poke, with onions and cucumber.
It was delivered to me in a little plastic bowl, with a couple of butter lettuce leaves and shredded purple cabbage. This is not a big eater portion size, but it was enough for me. First things first, the fish was good quality, nice meatiness, no tough or mushy pieces. This wasn't too salty, decent balance in salty-sesame oil, but there was a wasabi kick to the sauce; but it wasn't a gooey-watery mess either. The rice was excellent, cooked perfectly. The onions and cucumbers did the job; pungency with a nice clean palate cleansing. The really nice woman who brought me my bowl also dropped off a cup of water; a nice touch.
Which if course, meant I went back; this time for take-out.
This time I went for the half and half; half rice half salad with tuna, the ponzu sauce, avocado ($1 upcharge), onion, and cucumbers.
There was a nice generous portion of avocado; but this bowl seemed a bit lightweight with all the greens; which by the way, wasn't dressed, and that sauce for the poke really didn't extend to all that kale. Also, the fish just didn't seem as good in quality this time around; low in fat and oil, and quite a bit of "that pink" bled onto the rice. The ponzu was ok, it could have had a bit more zip and I thought the fish needed to be dressed a bit better.
Now the really nice guy who recommended Tokyo Deli also asked me to try the Sushi Burrito......something I usually wouldn't go for. He also instructed me to get a whole one ($10.80) since half really would only do for a small snack. So, I went with the tuna sushi burrito (yeeesh) and since I was going to defy that little voice inside of me going "wtf", I chose the spicy aioli as the sauce. Man, this fish was dark, the texture was still good, but it was just getting to the edge of shelf life for me as I could make out a mild "smell". Still, it wasn't bad.
As before, the rice was prepared well. This was basically an uncut makizushi with poke as a filling, which wasn't too strange to me. It was kind of light on the fish; they piled everything in the middle before rolling, so the ends were tapered, with hardly any fish. The spicy aioli; was more aioli than spicy. At least to me. At least you'll get some greens and a nice portion of avocado. I did get full; but mostly on rice.
So, what do I think? This place is decent and would stretch to good if they can get consistently good fish. The place is clean and spotless and service reserved, thoughtful (remember the cup of water?), professional, with a certain dignified, understated approach that seems so Japanese. I like that. The portions aren't very large, but as a whole ok for me. They also serve Edomae nigiri sushi; which looks a bit better than what you'd get at a Japanese market. Sorry, I don't eat it there other than kappa maki and natto maki, so you'll have to try it yourself. There are also various rice bowls and the inevitable California and Philadelphia rolls on the menu as well.
I'll eat here again.
871 G St
San Diego, CA 92101
11am - 7pm