This nook on the west side of Chula Vista is a fantastic find. It’s a new establishment, having opened in July 2016. The ambience is exquisite, the walls decorated with Japanese sake bottles. The space is small, only about 11 tables, so expect to wait, but it’s well worth your time. The owner, the young Izakaya Naruto, has set this place up and is as meticulous about the table service as he is about the food.
The website will tell you that Naruto has a modernist feel. Casual for sure, the restaurant takes its food inspiration from Mexico when making its rolls and bowls. Jalapeño, for example, features often. The owner takes so much pride in his restaurant, he’s created the Naruto Bowl: Spicy tuna, crab meat, onion slice, scallion on the top of sushi rice with eel sauce and spicy mayo.
Personally, I’d come for the ramen — and winter is the time for this excellent comfort food. Guess what’s marked “Very Popular” on the ramen menu? The Chula Vista Flavored Ramen. It’s cilantro and jalapeño flavor in chicken broth and Mmmmmm. If you like your soup with a little kick, this is definitely winner:
Naruto also serves Pho-men–a fusion noodle soup. The chicken broth comes with rice noodles, topped with homemade chicken cha-sou scallion, and naruto. What’s chicken cha-sou? It’s a tender grilled chicken with teriyaki taste seeped in. They serve regular Pho-men and also Chula Vista flavored (which, again, has a cilantro and jalapeño flavor).
They also offer your classic sushi rolls: california, philadelphia, spicy tuna, spicy scallops, caterpillar, rainbow and dragon rolls, to name a few. Their creative sushi renditions include the orange lemon, cajun tuna, go-go godzilla and the pizza roll. Popular rolls include the “Abre La Boca Mucho Roll” (tempura roll with crab, cream cheese, avocado, topped with spicy shrimp and covered by eel sauce and spicy mayo) and the “Naruto Roll” (shrimp, crab, avocado, cucumber, taped with spicy scallop and scallion, with lemon aioli.
Another popular sushi dish that shows how much the owner loves his new hometown: Viva! Chula Vista Roll: Yellowtail, spicy crab, cucumber, cilantro topped with shrimp and avocado with spicy ponzu sauce.
Finally, if you’re a Happy Hour fan, this is definitely the place to be. The special from 5pm-7pm and after 9pm includes a small beer (Sapporo, Asahi, Kirin Light) for $2.99 and all house sakes at half price.
Prices overall are extremely reasonable. Ramen and Pho-men bowls go for $8.50. Eight piece classic rolls go from $4.80 to $12.50, depending on the type.
Website & Address: 1216 3rd Ave, Chula Vista, CA 91911