Another strong showcase for sushi joins the already-admirable contingent of sushi bars in San Diego that includes two Michelin-starred Japanese restaurants; Masato Fujita, the co-owner of Linda Vista’s new Sushi Ichifuji, has worked at both Michelin-starred local spots, first at Sushi Tadokoro in Old Town and then Soichi Sushi on Adams Avenue.
Fujita now presides over his own 10-seat sushi bar alongside business partner and co-chef Hiroshi Ichikawa, who he met while both were working at downtown’s Taka Sushi. Adjacent to neighborhood fixtures Mien Trung and K Sandwiches, the site was previously home to the Jamaican-themed Sushi Diner, but the new owners have transformed it thoroughly into a peaceful and elegant space.
With two seatings per night, Sushi Ichifuji currently offers an eight-course, $160 omakase menu that includes seasonal appetizers, sashimi, cooked dishes like grilled fish and chawanmushi, and nigiri sushi. Another option for $140 features fewer courses but a bit more nigiri. The restaurant pours from a well-chosen collection of premium sake along with beer, wine, and shochu.
Fujita’s family ran a nearly 100-year-old sushi bar in Osaka and he serves some of the restaurant’s courses on delicate plateware that he brought back from Japan. A 22-year veteran of sushi restaurants, the chef started his career in San Diego at the now-shuttered Surfside Sushi in Pacific Beach, which spawned many of San Diego’s top itamae, and also worked at the acclaimed Akinori Sushi in Hillcrest.
He told Eater that they will change the omakase menu with the seasons, eventually expanding to add some a la carte items and more seating on its front patio.