2500 Las Posas Road, suite E
Social media and, in particular, Instagram can open doors to all sorts of new happenings in local communities and right here in Ventura County. For instance, it’s easy to keep up-to-date on Haole, the Labrador retriever who hangs paws regularly at Surfers Point, the silly antics of DJs Rico and Mambo and so on. There are also a significant number of purveyors and consumers of all sorts of food, which led me to Mika Sushi in Camarillo. Scrolling through pictures on Instagram, it was food lust at first sight via two posts that featured 1.two practically perfectly rounded sliced avocado spheres drizzled in eel sauce (dish not named in post) and 2. two gorgeous hunks of Spanish mackerel in ponzu sauce. And those pictures sealed the deal for our first trip.
It was a lazy Sunday afternoon when my two companions and I arrived to Mika, which means jar in Japanese. (Funny enough, Mika is also a Native American word meaning intelligent raccoon.) We took a corner booth in the modest restaurant of a handful of booths, tables and chairs, a half-circle sushi bar in a color scheme of tan and dark brown with light-tan slate tile flooring. When the server arrived, we ordered our drinks — chardonnay and soda water. To that he replied, the restaurant only had Perrier, i.e., no soda on tap, and the wine was in a box. Fine enough, we went with that.
To get things started as we perused the menu, we ordered the baked green mussels and the caterpillar and dragon rolls, plus edamame and miso, all of which came out promptly. The mussels were a well-balanced layered combination of fresh, thick mussel, a light mayonnaise mixture, sesame seeds, masago and green onion, delivered warm to the table. Typically, sushi places can go a bit overboard with this dish, drowning the filter feeder in mayonnaise, but it was executed in such a way that my picky 13-year-old diner enjoyed it just as much as the adults did. The tightly wrapped rolls were executed with definite technique and the flavor and freshness were up to par, but be careful to read the ingredients before you order — both rolls had eel, avocado, cucumber and crab mixture. The difference was the emphasis on eel in the dragon roll and avocado on the caterpillar. Also, the picture on the menu indicated perceivably bigger rolls than what we received. And so, we ordered a couple of additional dishes.
As we were looking over the pictures and descriptions on the menu, I failed to see anything that jogged my memory of what I had seen on Instagram. I opted for a picture of a bowl of mixed colorful sashimi without a name on the appetizers menu. While the server also didn’t know the name, we eventually figured it out — assorted sashimi salad, the item listing was on a different page. Such a dish had never failed to satisfy in the past so I ordered it and it met that expectation and matched the picture. Field greens served as a stage for octopus tentacles, mackerel, ahi tuna, yellow tail, albacore, sweet pickled cucumber, sliced asparagus, red grape tomatoes with peanut vinaigrette drizzled lightly on top. The quality and freshness of the fish surely shined.
For our last order, we chose the spider crab roll, which was a small spider crab deep-fried and rolled with minced crab meat, cucumber and avocado, with a side of ponzu. The similarities of three rolls we had ordered were a bit annoying, but I suppose that’s the way it is at so many sushi restaurants. Again, this roll was a bit small compared to the picture but the execution and flavor were on point. Thankfully, none of the sushi chefs at Mika leaned on heavy sauce to spruce up their dishes.
Our meal was a bit pricey, $60 for three people, that left us all questioning whether we should stop by a grocery store for some snacks. One other issue — of those grand photos I saw on Instagram, none was apparent on the menu and there were no specials that we were made aware of. Because playing on smart phones during meals is really a nuisance to company, I did not take the time to scroll through to find the photos again. Next time, I will just have them readily available and take it to the sushi chefs to make sure we do not miss out. All in all, it’s a nice neighborhood sushi joint and worth visiting if nearby.