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Pure Sushi at Matsuoka on Convoy leads new August restaurant openings

A tray of temari at Pure Sushi restaurant on Convoy Street in San Diego.
A tray of temari, Tokyo-style ball-shaped sushi, is on the menu of Pure Sushi restaurant on Convoy Street in San Diego.
(Pam Kragen/The San Diego Union-Tribune)

Just about every year, the restlessly creative chef Junya Watanabe comes out with a new twist on his native Japanese cuisine at his restaurant headquarters on Convoy Street.

From 2012 to 2016, he was refining his ramen dishes at RakiRaki Ramen. Then he added a Japanese dessert side shop. In 2019, he opened The Yasai, a vegan sushi concept, on the other side of the building. In 2020, he launched late-night ramen takeout service, which was a big hit in during the pandemic. And last spring he introduced his own branded line of karaage (Japanese-style fried chicken) there.

Watanabe’s latest brand expansion is Pure Sushi at Matsuoka, which is Tokyo-style kaiseki (multicourse meal) service created in partnership with sushi chef Hajime Matsuoka. It debuted on Aug. 9 at the Yasai location on Convoy Street, which is still serving its vegan sushi alongside Matsuoka’s creations. Watanabe said he has long wanted to open an authentic Tokyo-style shop but was waiting until he found the right chef.

“For the last 10 years, since opening RakiRaki, I’ve refreshed the menu every few months. And, while doing so, I imagined opening a sushi restaurant I can be proud of that’s akin to what I enjoy when traveling in Tokyo,” he said in a statement. “The best sushi restaurants are found in unassuming places (like) my little corner of Convoy was always the perfect place for Pure Sushi.”

Pure Sushi at Matsuoko serves a kaiseki menu featuring bento boxes filled with sushi rolls and nigiri made with fish flown in daily from Tokyo’s Toyosu market. One specialty is temari (bon-bon-shaped sushi balls), as well as tempura, grilled fruits, appetizers and matcha ice cream.

Pure Sushi at Matsuoka is open for lunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and for dinner from 5 to 9:30 p.m. daily at 4646 Convoy St., Suite 101-B, San Diego. Call (858) 240-1511 or visit matsuokasushi.com/menu/.

Kragen writes about restaurants for the San Diego Union-Tribune. Email her at pam.kragen@sduniontribune.com.


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