Naka sushi
Food & Drink

Naka Sushi’s New Location Does Not Disappoint

Beloved sushi restaurant reopens in the Begonia Plaza with a bang

A selection of nigiri at Naka Sushi. PHOTO: COURTESY OF NAKA SUSHI

Ty McConney and Masao and Keiko Nakagawa, the owners of Naka Sushi, shut their 41st Avenue location at the end of last March, and the transition to their new location in the Begonia Plaza up the street took more than six months longer than expected. The longing on my sushi-obsessed friends’ faces became almost painful to watch as the eagerly awaited reopening dragged on.

Since Naka finally reopened in December, sushi fans new and old have been clamoring to get a seat at the sleek new location—and now that I’ve had a chance to visit, I understand why.

While I would normally order a roll, several longtime customers recommended I opt for sashimi and nigiri at Naka in order to appreciate the chef’s adept techniques. On their advice, my table started with the hamachi sashimi appetizer, a selection of fresh, raw yellow-tail tuna. While I was first hesitant at the $22.50 price tag, the quantities were far more generous than I expected, and the silky texture of the rich, pale pink fish was divine, seeming to melt on my tongue.

Plate after plate of nigiri that followed allowed us to appreciate a range of textures and the chef’s undeniable skill—the effervescent popping of deeply golden tobiko; luscious, slightly oily salmon and light, clean halibut. But to our surprise, the dish that made our jaws drop was the unlikely unagi. When it arrived at the table, it wasn’t the first thing I reached for, simply because I’ve had such unpleasant experiences with freshwater eel before that I assumed I didn’t like it. But the guest that ordered it insisted that I give this one a try. Another skeptical friend and I put a small bite to our mouths and our eyes locked in astonishment. The flesh was unbelievably tender, the texture of soft-cooked egg, and gently smoky—so unlike the chewy, over-grilled product I was familiar with. To say we were floored would be an understatement.

We did also enjoy a couple of Naka house rolls, stuffed to bursting with three or four varieties of impeccably flavorful fish, but the rumors were true—the nigiri stole the show.


1200 41st Ave., Capitola, 479-9620.

Contributor at |

Lily Stoicheff is a freelance writer living in Santa Cruz, California, where she mostly spends her time exploring food culture and telling its stories. A fermentation and craft beer enthusiast and amateur mushroom hunter, her house is overflowing with jars of things that look gross but she swears are delicious.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Are you an earthling? Prove it with logic: *

To Top