H2O Sushi & Izakaya - Costa Mesa, CA

Formerly known as Triangle Square (I didn't even know about the name change), The Triangle is a mystery to me and I rarely make it a point to come to the area. However, the new developments in the past few years have started to bring people to the destination. I'm not saying H2O is the premier spot to be, but other new establishments like Tavern + Bowl, La Vida Cantina and Saddle Ranch (just to name a few) seem to add color and life to the spot.

Anyway, I digress. I've had my eye on this place since it opened, but I was skeptical because of location and the crowd they will be catering to. Let's just say, I didn't expect much other than overpriced fare for California rolls. Well, well...here's a quick menu list for your viewing pleasure. There's a larger menu with kitchen items, but we didn't order very much from that.

mealswithjamie-h20-izakaya-sushi-costa-mesa-california-nigiri-menu.jpg

 Since we had came in late on a Sunday night, a lot of our first choices were out for the day, such as live scallop, live uni, live sweet shrimp and salmon collar. So while we started selecting other options, we started with Shishito Peppers and some yakitori. The shishito peppers were tossed in a garlic sauce and topped with bonita flakes, the ones that seem like they're alive. I love watching them wave around and it always puts a smile on my face.

mealswithjamie-h20-izakaya-sushi-costa-mesa-california-peppers.jpg

The pricing on some of the yakitori menu items are quite pricey for what I'm used to, so I kept it very minimal. I only chose to go with grilled shishamo (fish with smelt roe) and cartilage. The shishamo was awesome! The belly was full of roe, but I wished it was a little crispier. The cartilage though, a slight disappointment. I love cartilage because of it's crunchy texture, but these were more of a chew with a bit of fat since they were the end caps of the joints instead of the usual chest piece.

mealswithjamie-h20-izakaya-sushi-costa-mesa-california-shishamo-cartilage.jpg

After our server had checked with the kitchen for the first round of choices, we lucked out with a yellowtail collar. They were out of salmon, which is what I had expected. The yellowtail was moist and full of meat. Definitely worth the extra cost in comparison to the salmon ($4 difference).

mealswithjamie-h20-izakaya-sushi-costa-mesa-california-yellowtail-collar.jpg

The rest of our sushi order. My brother and I stuck with our usual fare since all the unusual stuff on the menu was already gone. So much for trying to try something new. At the top is the triple crispy rice with spicy tuna, spicy salmon and spicy albacore. Based on the description, I thought they were all mixed together, but it was presented as three separate crispy rice mounds. The lotus root chip was a nice touch.

mealswithjamie-h20-izakaya-sushi-costa-mesa-california-nigiri-dinner.jpg

We also got Scottish salmon, Japanese scallop and yellowtail belly. It was nice to have yuzu koshu on the hotate, but a spritz of lemon helped bring out its sweetness. I had an extra lemon wedge from the yakitori, so I generously put that lemon on. SO GOOD.

mealswithjamie-h20-izakaya-sushi-costa-mesa-california-salmon-hotate.jpg

My brother got yellowtail sashimi, so I asked him to compare the regular and belly pieces. The difference? Taste. Texture was pretty similar, but you can tell the difference in taste, in which he compared to as milky. I'm not really sure how to even elaborate on that, so I'll just leave it to your imagination.

mealswithjamie-h20-izakaya-sushi-costa-mesa-california-yellowtail-sashimi.jpg

We also got our usual favorites: unagi and uni.

mealswithjamie-h20-izakaya-sushi-costa-mesa-california-uni-sea-urchin.jpg
mealswithjamie-h20-izakaya-sushi-costa-mesa-california-unagi-eel.jpg

Surprise, surprise! H2O Sushi & Izakaya wasn't completely white washed as I had feared. It actually had exceptional food and as the name suggests, it IS an izakaya + sushi establishment. I will have to return for the live sushi since that's what intrigued me most. I'll most likely skip on the yakitori menu, although I'm curious what kobe beef tongue is like (hope you can taste the difference).

H2O Sushi & Izakaya
1870 Harbor Blvd, Suite 100
Costa Mesa, CA 92627
www.h2osushiizakaya.com