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Master Chef Susumu Ii opens Sushi Ii in Newport Beach


In mid-February, Sushi Ii quietly opened its doors in Newport Beach. Located on the second story of Mariner’s Pointe, Master Chef Susumu Ii presents a Japanese dining experience steeped in tradition, craftsmanship, and time-honored technique with his eponymous Sushi Ii.

The restaurant is one of Orange County’s newest eateries, but Sushi Ii is the culmination of decades that Chef Ii has spent meticulously dedicating to mastering the traditional art of sushi. Distinguishing Sushi Ii from other authentic sushi restaurants is Chef Ii’s spirit of shokunin - the relentless dedication and pursuit of perfection in one’s craft. 

Rooted in centuries of tradition, the menu at Sushi Ii pays homage to the fading art of Kansai-style pressed sushi, with omakase and a la carte options reflecting Chef Ii’s training in Osaka. His precision and meticulous attention to detail is evident as each piece of sushi is uniquely cut and crafted to enhance the flavor and texture of the fish. Each omakase course is named after a distinct type of Japanese pottery, highlighting varieties like Bizen and Karatsu. 

With over 100 types of Japanese ceramics in his collection, Chef Ii shares his deep appreciation for this ancient art form with his diners by presenting each course with a different dish from his collection. Much like the seasonality of fresh fish, Chef Ii rotates his ceramics to reflect the changing of the seasons. Diners may even be treated to a dish or two presented with kintsugi - a once broken dish with cracks repaired with gold by Chef Ii himself. Chef Ii utilizes this art form to honor the dish’s history by emphasizing and beautifying its break.

At age 18, Chef Ii began apprenticing and learning from Osaka’s prominent traditional Japanese and sushi restaurants. In 1985, he moved to the United States and began working under Sakea Shibutani at Shibucho in Los Angeles. In 1990, with significant experience under his belt, he opened Kasen in Fountain Valley with his wife, Keiko Ii. After a near-30 year run, the couple closed Kasen and began conceptualizing their next endeavor. Today, they proudly present their namesake restaurant, Sushi Ii. The duo has tapped Natsuko Travioli, a restaurant industry veteran with 20 years of experience, to serve as the restaurant’s general manager. 

While dining rooms are closed, the restaurant is still offering its authentic sushi for takeout during lunch and dinner.

Open Tuesday- Saturday for lunch from noon - 2 p.m.; and for dinner from 5:30 p.m. - 10 p.m., and Sunday for pre-ordered takeout.

Sushi Ii is located at Mariner’s Pointe at 100 West Coast Hwy, Newport Beach. 949.287.6268.

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