Ajito TOGO Sushi & Japanese Bento is a teeny tiny, itsy witsy little restaurant tucked away in the parking lot shared with Fully Loaded Juice. I have never noticed it in all of the 16 years I have lived in Encinitas. They are only open M-F from 10:30-3:00. Closed all weekends? How can a restaurant on the 101 survive closed on weekends? They must kill it during the week. They must be THAT good.
I LOVE sushi. Let me rephrase that. Death row. Last meal. Last bite of anything this worldly place has to offer. For me, it’s going to be sushi. When I was dating my now hubby, and he told me he didn’t eat sushi, it was almost a deal breaker. Not into horses, I could handle. An atheist you say? Hmmm, ok. BUT YOU DON’T LIKE SUSHI? WHAT KIND OF FREAK ARE YOU?? I had to take him to my then favorite place, PB Sushi, to show him the error of his ways. Luckily, he learned.
Ajito has a small area to sit out front, inside or on their back patio which is very cute.
We came hungry, but the woman working there, let me add, the only person working there, was quite busy with a previous order and couldn’t give us the time of day. We waited and waited, but could not get her attention.
We looked around at our scarce options. There were a few TOGO items in the cooler, but not much.
Then we saw some cooked items on the counter. It’s summer. It’s hot. How long were these items on the counter going to sit there, unrefrigerated? Sure, I’ve seen this in third world countries where everything is just out on a counter. But we are in modern day Encinitas! We have refrigeration at our fingertips, and it’s a beautiful thing! When it comes to food sanitation, I am a bit nutzo, I admit. But how can they keep pork dumplings, chicken and fish, even cooked, on a hot counter? It’s icky!
When the woman working there finally looked our way I asked if she could make us some sushi since it was slim pickins’ in the cooler. “Rainbow Roll” she replied. “Anything else?” we stupidly asked. “Just rainbow roll.”. Ok, we will take one rainbow roll and a pre-packaged tuna roll from the cooler while we wait. Did I mention how hungry we were? We took our TOGO tuna roll to a nice table outside.
It was very wimpy. It was mostly just a loosely rolled ball of rice with a tiny bit of tasteless tuna in the middle. Nothing special, not even very good. There’s a reason why I don’t order pre-packaged sushi. It’s this. We waited and waited and finally got our rainbow roll.
Not only did this roll look better, it tasted very good. It’s certainly not going to win any aesthetic awards. Look how unevenly it is cut and how the size of the pieces differ. When you are sharing one roll, you want each piece to be the same size so there is no conflict. We actually got into a chopstick war over the piece on the left. I lost. I got the sad sushi.
Bottom line: Ajito Sushi & Japanese Bento is an inexpensive take-out joint. The bento boxes looked good, but I hesitate to take anything off a hot counter on a hot day. The pre-packaged roll we ordered was not worthy, but the one freshly made was good. If cheap sushi is the only way you can eat sushi, then this is better than the grocery store option. But I’m a sushi snob and would rather hold out for the good stuff. We left Ajito disappointed and hungry. Good thing Hapifish is coming down the road soon to redeem this sushi experience!