Santa Cruz Good Times

Nov 28th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Due West of Japan

Dining_ImuraImura Japanese Restaurant serves sushi, shioyaki and some Korean specialties too

If you'd like to improve your sushi-making technique, Chef Jim Song stars in an informational five-minute video on the website of Watsonville's Imura Japanese Restaurant. In it, he makes rolling a compact, symmetrical California Roll appear error-proof. At Imura you will find this perfectly made roll along with other traditional Japanese dishes and locally uncommon culinary gratifications.

Contributing to Imura's uniqueness is its selection of Korean specialties including Galbi marinated short ribs ($17.95), Yukeh Jang ($14.95) with vegetables, vermicelli and flank steak in broth, and Duk Man Doo Gook ($13.95), a soup with Koreak rice cakes and meat dumplings. I chose the Hot Bibim Bab ($15.95), a rice bowl in which is arranged meat and vegetables, topped with a fried egg, and mixed together just before eating.

I had missed the fine print that read "served with Korean condiment," so was elated when a six-item plate of banchan arrived. The small plates of embellishments included sweetened shreds of carrot and white daikon radish, salty cabbage kimchi, sesame-scented, blanched broccoli florets, pickled vegetables, fat strips of seaweed, and chili-flecked bitter yellow squash that succumbed to the teeth with a soft crunch.

The Bibim Bab was served in a heavy black pot and might easily have served three as an entrée.  It had been mixed together in the kitchen, diminishing the presentation value of the dish. I spooned the mixture of soybean sprouts, sautéed greens, threads of toothsome vegetables and diced pieces of smoky grilled chicken into a small bowl and added bits of banchan. I topped it with darkly red Korean chili sauce, a spicy mixture, lightly sour, that hinted of salty fish.

I couldn't resist a couple of the Specialty Rolls. The Firecracker ($9.95) was lightly tempura-battered and deep fried, its top striped with chili sauce and sprinkled with white sesame seeds. Inside, rice and a sheet of nori seaweed held spicy tuna.

The lovely, subtle flavors of Moss Landing ($12.95) I dared not mask with wasabi and soy. Avocado and tempura shrimp were rolled uramaki-style with gleaming white rice on the outside. It was topped with sweet seared scallops, micro-sliced green onions, a drizzle of creamy mayonnaise-like spicy sauce and shimmering orange jewels of tiny tobiko fish roe.

Imura also prepares a full line-up of Japanese favorites such as Nigiri rolls ($3.50 to $7.95), vegetarian rolls ($3.50 to $12.95), Donburi rice bowls ($8.95 to $12.95), lunch salads such as seared Tuna Tataki ($14.95) with tobiko and nori and tempura, broiled fish shioyaki ($11.95 to $16.95), or teriyaki lunches ($9.95 to $12.95).

Lunch Bento boxes ($10.95 to $13) and dinner boxes ($16.95 to $18.95) include your choice of teriyaki plus two Japanese or Korean specialties. Most tables have a call bell if you need something more.

And if you'd like to end on a sweet note you'll find ice cream flavors ($3.50) from traditional green tea to Western chocolate fudge with Oreo cookies.

Imura Japanese Restaurant, 1994 Main St. (at Green Valley Road), Watsonville, 761-8799. Beer and wine. Open Monday through Thursday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Closed Sunday. Visit
Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger


Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share


Santa Cruz Gives

A look at the organizations we’re asking you to support in our new holiday giving campaign


Gratitude—For Each New Morning With its Light

The full moon of Wednesday brings light to Thanksgiving (Thursday) under the Sagittarius Sun and Mercury. Mercury in Sag offers humanity the message (Mercury) of thankfulness and joy (Jupiter). No other sign represents food, music and joy better than Sagittarius (only Pisces, when not in despair). Beginning on Thanksgiving, we can list what we’re grateful for. Then we can continue the list, creating a daily Gratitude Journal. What we are grateful for always increases in our lives. On Thanksgiving Saturn/Neptune square (challenging) is in full effect. This can manifest as traditions not being honored, disappearing, falling away. It can also create a sense of sadness, confusion, of things not working out as planned. It’s best to be as simple as possible. And to focus on gratitude instead. Gratitude is a service to others. It is scientifically and occultly a releasing agent. Releasing us from the past, allowing our future—the new culture and civilization, the new Aquarian laws and principles, the rising light of Aquarius, the Age of Friendship and Equality—to come forth. Gratitude and goodwill create the “thought-form of solution for humanity and the world’s problems.” The hierarchy lays great emphasis upon expressing gratitude. Gratitude illuminates all that is in darkness. Let us be grateful during this season together. Being, for others, the light that illuminates the darkness. A Poem by R.W. Emerson: We are grateful … “For each new morning with its light/For rest and shelter of the night/For health and food/For love and friends/For everything thy goodness sends.” (poem by R.W. Emerson). I am grateful for my family of readers.


The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program


Pluck of the Irish

Mid-century immigrant tale engagingly told in ‘Brooklyn’
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments


Second Street Café

Pies and tarts for all tastes—from traditional to adventurous


How are you preparing for El Niño?

Getting ready to buy some rain gear. Cory Pickering, Santa Cruz, Teaching Assistant


Fortino Winery

Cabernet and superb fruit wine from Fortino Winery


Tap Dance

West End Tap & Kitchen’s impressive menu to expand to Eastside location