Zip Ain’t That Hip

Posted February 7, 2008 in Eats

Zip. Zip. Zip. It’s the word of the day (meaning “home” in Korean) at Zip Fusion Sushi in slightly hideous but rather handy Corona Mall; in fact it’s plastered across the loudly magenta wall I’m facing as I try to answer the question, “Is this the one?” Namely, the sushi joint in the IE that can serve up both the raw stuff and a hip buzz, a simple feat in counties due west but crazy difficult out in these parts. I had come in with high hopes due to scuttlebutt about the décor, house music, and sister restaurants in LA. By the time I’d left Zip I felt like a moderately entertaining blind date, the kind where you decide to be friends, and actually mean it.  

Because, there are aspects of Zip Fusion that almost take it to that next level. The décor is a mishmash of styles that don’t really jibe but are having fun together. The sushi bar is enveloped in blue light, the walls are red, and the main dining room is half stainless steel grills, half yellow, blue, and green florescent squares—the end result being interesting . . . if a tad schizophrenic. Ditto the music, which is like a soundtrack to a bad drunken weekend at a cheesy Euro Trash beach circa 1998, more Spice Girls dub mix than the uber-chill lounge atmosphere I had been led to expect from their own website. And yet, is it that terrible to hear Blamage remixes as you sip a Kirin and wait for a crab roll? I think not. The overall impression is certainly kitschy-cool, and this works . . . and by this point I’ve got a thing for Zip, but it’s platonic all the way.

Two choices on the menu made me reconsider my decision—the crab dumpling appetizers and the Yahoo roll both screamed “Friends with benefits?” The dumplings rest in a plum sauce lagoon, where spicy oil slicks sporadically float by, as if a wasabi-filled Exxon Valdez had come aground on some not so distant shore of the plate. The dumplings juxtapose a concrete bunker-like shell, with delicate, fiery crab that soaks up the sweet of the plum sauce and the heat of the wasabi. It’s a fitting combination of tastes and textures that complement the fluffy chunks of the tender crustacean—definitely girlfriend material.

I’d also date the Yahoo roll big time. Sitting atop the Yahoo is a chunk of fresh, meaty tuna, with a wafer of jalapeño and a small rill of creamy salsa. Inside the roll miniature bits of shrimp, cucumber, and avocado contrast coolly with the volcanic goings on up top. Much like the crab dumpling, the Yahoo roll is another example of Zip’s skill in combining myriad tastes and textures. I also speed-dated the Cajun Asian roll, a scorching tuna number that has all of the tuna quality of the Yahoo, but misses some of its sublimity—just heat, tuna, and rice.

The service was outstanding, the chefs are fun to watch, and the sushi ranged from the serviceable to the spot-on. The look, sound, and feel of Zip Fusion have kaleidoscopic and nostalgic charms, and it’s definitely a place to take the family. Sure Zip ain’t all that hip, but that’s okay—I’ll come back.

I just think we should have an open relationship for a while.

Zip Fusion Sushi, 2560 Tuscany Street, Corona, (951) 272-2177, Lunch Mon.–Fri., 11:30AM–2:30PM, Dinner Mon–Wed 5PM–10:30PM, Thurs.–Sat, 5PM–11:30PM. AE, D, MC, V




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