Sushi Ten, Chino Hills, CA (2008) Review

Chino Hills residents living in the southern half of the 71 freeway finally have a decent joint to get their sushi fix at. Sushi Ten is conveniently located just off the Soquel Canyon exit, meaning you won’t have to trek to the Spectrum or through the hills just to have a satisfying Japanese meal any more. And we’re talking liberal portions, with tasty specialty rolls and friendly service—all the hallmarks of satisfaction when it comes to sushi.

To fittingly sum-up the sense one gets walking into Sushi Ten, the word “quaint” comes to mind. The dimensions are intimately small, but still with plenty of seating and a sushi bar squeezed in. Even though you won’t hear any piped-in music to backdrop the atmosphere, and there’s hardly much in the way of décor, the restaurant still boasts a youthful hip vibe because of its lively wait-staff. Everyone speaks Japanese and they won’t hesitate to engage with short phrases, if only to add authenticity to the service. Most importantly, Sushi Ten wait-staff really go out of their way to welcome guests and make everyone feel at home.

Though the restaurant is still young (opened on April 1), Sushi Ten’s menu is pretty standard, offering miso soup, dumplings and other first course choices one might expect. If, for instance, you are with a sushi lover but you yourself are anything but, you can also opt for regular entrées, such as teriyaki beef or chicken and a selection of tempuras. What’s great is that the menu is diverse enough to accommodate most preferences.

The sushi rolls are the main attraction, but, depending on when you go, they can be hit or miss. Standard choices like Rainbow and Caterpillar rolls are available, but Sushi Ten has also created a robust list of specialty options (such as the Mr. Brian Roll and Senorita Rolls) that are as unique as they are delicious. One brilliant touch is how thin the rolls are cut—not only can more guests be served, but it’s rare that a given diner will be crying crocodile tears just to fit a morsel into his or her mouth. Word to the wise, patrons will have to be a bit patient, because the restaurant is still finding its groove. It can also get pretty busy due to its newness (still lots of intrigue surrounding it) and convenient location. All of this to say that it’s not uncommon for the rolls to come in varying states of construction, ranging from solid to crumbly; but this is a minor complaint so long as they are manageable with chopsticks — which they are.

Though Sushi Ten does serve beer, wine, and sake, it doesn’t have a full bar—so cocktail drinkers might be disappointed. Dessert is mostly limited to ice cream; however, the banana tempura covered in powdered sugar and chocolate drizzle is the perfect way to end the meal with a Japanese edge.

Sushi Ten satisfies on almost every level, and is an easy recommendation. While the restaurant has a few kinks to iron out, it’s really just mere trifles, nothing glaringly wrong here. Give it a couple of months, and Sushi Ten will find its stride and be a favorite haunt for sushi lovers both near and far.

Sushi Ten, 15463 Fairfield Ranch Rd, Ste. E, Chino Hills, (909) 597-1980. Open for lunch, Tues.–Sun., 11:30AM–2:30PM; Dinner Tues.-Thurs. and Sunday, 5:00PM–9:30PM; Fri–Sat., 5PM–10PM. Average Price for Two, $40. AE, D, MC, V