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Beach Gourmet: Kaido: Ninja Sushi!:

Kaido Sushi restaurant is a Japanese (no, really?) restaurant, and sushi bar located on Santa Monica Boulevard at Yale, in one of those somewhat innocuous corner mini-malls which always appear to offer very little, but so often offer a great deal. After a handful of friends and I visited this past Sunday, I must confess that there is a great deal of good to be had there, that is good as in food, of course.

Arriving at around 7:30 p.m. we entered this mood-lit eatery to be greeted by one of the staff members, replete in his all black “ninja’ style adornments, including head wrap, but sans sword, thankfully! This smiling server marshaled (martial?) our party of five to a table for four, that he deftly accommodated with some sleight of hand fungi shui, allowing our happily loquacious group to sit and peruse the menus in comfort.

The choices at Kaido are somewhat more copious than your average sushi bar, encompassing all of the usual suspects, as well as a selection of salads, a cluster of Teriyaki plates and some set dinners to boot. We chose to order individually and thus shared a morsel or two of all of the orders.

Our waiter (this time an American ninja) arrived after a few minutes and took our drink orders (just diet cokes all round on this occasion, well – it was a Sunday) and after a few more minutes returned to take our food requests, pen in hand, smile on face, and in a karate stance (only imagined), this is what he wrote on his pad: One Grilled Salmon salad (grilled salmon, mixed greens, cucumber, tomato, and Kaido special dressing, $8.50), one Seafood Salad (salmon, shrimp, whitefish, and some “seasonal” fish, $10), one tofu salad (tofu, cucumber, deacon radish, onions, sprouts and gobo, $6.50), one Sashimi Appetizer (three pieces of salmon, three pieces of tuna, and two pieces of albacore, $13), two Crunchy Rolls (two tempura shrimp, crab, cucumber with a crunchy outside, $12), a portion of Gyoza (steamed dumpling, six pieces for $6), and off the “specials” list one Spicy Tuna Crisp (sticky rice rolls with spicy tuna, and avocado, $12).

Service was brisk and precise, with our server delivering the well-presented plates with precision and accuracy, the whole affair dressing our table within ten minutes or so. It is quite obvious that Kaido take pride in the preparation of their food, as the ingredients were fresh, and the recipes imaginative. The salads were crisp, with the tofu pieces in the tofu ssalad being millimeter precise, and the greens crisp and fresh with a light and slightly sweet soy dressing complimenting the dish. The sashimi appetizer displayed fish of superlative tenderness and flavor, and just adding a touch of wasabi once in awhile completed a splendid sashimi experience. The dumplings were fresh and moist, and like all of Kaido’s offerings included quite the most intriguing of sauces. Kaido has a unique approach to sauces, and this was exemplified by the delicate sample that adorned the Spicy Tuna Crisp. With a texture and color that was reminiscent of thousand island, but a taste that was impactful but light, it was a palate’s dream, enlivening the taste buds with sparkles of joy and happiness for sure.

The evening at Kaido was a delight and after my first ever experience at this jolly Japanese café, I have to say that it now sits in the top five of my list of Santa Monica’s best Asian restaurants, and at prices that are truly a bargain, that really is quite an achievement!

Bon appetit!

Kaido

2834 Santa Monica Boulevard

310.828.7582

Lunch- Monday to Friday

11:30 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Dinner – Monday – Thursday

5:30 p.m. – 10 p.m.

Friday and Saturday

5 p.m. – 12 a.m.

(Served only Sushi & Apptizers after 10.p.m.)

Sunday

5 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.

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