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Leftovers: Ikko

Costa Mesa’s finest Japanese fusion from the District:


PHOTO by RICK POON

Ikko hums with the tiniest vibration. It’s there in everything from the low tones of the restaurant’s jazz fusion to the clanging sounds of conversations from its six small tables. And that makes for a definite pulse about the place, a gentle resonance that shakes the chairs and plates before it makes its way into that empty space between your ears.

But almost as quickly as the bass builds it up, all that tension gets released, set free when a saxophone lets out a sporadic squeal and the jazz cools back down. It’s with those sensory shifts that Ikko seems comfortable and content to let diners get distracted while it cooks up a superior spectacle.

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Leftovers: Moscow Deli

Costa Mesa’s hidden Russian hideout for the District:


PHOTO by RICK POON

Moscow Deli’s two tables overlook nothing but cracked asphalt. Stare carefully and you might get a more peripheral glance at the cars speeding down Harbor Boulevard, but it’s a steady black straight ahead. So when you turn back inside, eyes on the Cyrillic in front of you, things can be a little disorienting.

That’s partially due to the fact that Russian food exists in the collective American consciousness about as accurately as the motherland itself, misconstrued into a kind of slovenly cuisine dominated by food fit for only the coldest of winters. Knowing the American mind, there’s probably a vodka joke in there, too.

But any ignorance of Russian food can be tied to the fact that most people haven’t had a true taste. And down in these parts, there aren’t many options for that. In fact, there’s really only Moscow Deli.

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