.Oyuki Sushi, Atypical Oasis

Surf City gets a Peruvian-Japanese flavor injection

Downtown has added a category of cuisine with new Oyuki Sushi (1010 Pacific Ave., Suite F, Santa Cruz) which would be great news on its own.

But there are more tasty subplots where that came from.

Oyuki specializes in Nikkei-style food—essentially Peruvian ingredients with Japanese technique—via items like salmon nigiri with house chimichurri or special sushi rolls finished with Peruvian sauces like acevichado, a lightly spicy ceviche marinade made from leche de tigre.

Full-on Peruvian dishes present more welcome additions, including albacore ceviche, chicken ají, causas (smashed potato-seafood towers), lomo saltado (a signature Peruvian sirloin-onion stir fry, with fries), papa a la huacaina (potato in an aji amarillo-and-cheese sauce), and choros a la chalaca (steamed mussels with corn, cilantro, onion, tomato and traditional spices), with regionally-born drinks chicha morada and Inca Kola to pair with them.

A solid roster of fusion sushi helps, with eye-catchers like the Fuji special with shrimp tempura, salmon, cucumber, avocado and the house Fuji sauce made with Andes Mountains inspiration.

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Vegan sushi presents another bonus, with a dozen rolls like the Machu Picchu with carrot-based vegan “salmon,” avocado, spinach, cucumber and seasoned mushrooms.

So does the cozy and clean setting—with the alpaca wall hanging made of alpaca fur—and the approachable vibe of husband-and-wife team Carla Estrada and chef Maynor Lopez, both veterans of the hospitality industry with a range of Latin American heritage, Peruvian included. oyukisushi.com

RISING FLAVOR
Gifted pastry guru—and local popup darling—Enzo Pelliccia has thrown open the doors on his own spot with Emozioni Pasticceria (2814 Porter St., Suite B) in Soquel. His major draws include Napolitano pizzas, savory flatbreads and top-shelf sweets like millefoglie

Andersonwith pistachio cream, chocolate “bombs” and authentic Italian lemon cream sponge cakes. It’s now open 9am-5pm Tuesday-Friday, and
until 2pm Saturday-Sunday, instagram.com/emozionipasticceria

ON THE WATER
Made my overdue maiden voyage to reader favorite Riva’s Fish House (31 Municipal Wharf) and came away pleased with the easy vibe, engaging service, worthy cioppino and quality crab cake sandwich. My eternal search for quality—and ideally oceanside—happy hours finds a home here too, 3-6pm weekdays, with $1 off draft beers, $4 domestics and $5 well drinks, rivafishhouse.com. Speaking of the Wharf, Riva’s sister spot Makai Santa Cruz (49a Municipal Wharf) does one of the best fried chicken sandwiches in town with the Hawaiian Mochiko marinated in gojuchang; and Humble Sea’s wharfside beer garden (45 Municipal Wharf) is back noon-sunset Friday-Sunday with craft drafts, BYO food, prime views and merch, humblesea.com

FLAVOR BURSTS
Santa Cruz VegFest gets cruciferous 10am-6pm Saturday, April 6, with 80 vendors and thousands of attendees channeling plant-based, cruelty-free, animal friendly and environmentally-sustainable lifestyles at the Boardwalk’s Cocoanut Grove ballroom ($5, free/12 and under), vegfestsantacruz.org…Santa Cruz Community Farmers’ Markets popular Sunday Live Oak Market (at East Cliff Village Shopping Center) was given the boot by Swenson Builders last week, who then decided they would have an additional 30 days on their lease to find a new home, santacruzfarmersmarket.org…Cruz Kitchen and Taps (145 Laurel St, Santa Cruz) does an uncommon salad worth flagging called “Da Baby,” with smoked whitefish, avocado, sweet onions, wakame, sesame seeds, lime, ginger, chili paste and soy sauce, cruzkitchenandtaps.com…

May the fork be with you.

1 COMMENT

  1. The issue with LiveOak farmers’ market and Swenson property owner is offensive. B.Swenson properties need to be called OUT for being bad neighbors; their decision is, to say the least, misguided.
    Sad state of affairs, right?!?

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