12 Jan

IMG_8542.jpegHappy New Year! It has been nonstop here for the past few months between holidays, work, and taking care of the kiddos. For that reason, I was super excited to get out of the house and try a new restaurant. Oku is the latest restaurant from Tina Takaya of Opal. It sits right on Cabrillo Boulevard with beautiful views of the coastline, especially from the upper patio. When I told our waiter about being a Celiac, he had me list the menu items I was interested in so he could check with the kitchen. Many of the items were made gluten-free by substituting tamari for the soy sauce. Our table got a few dishes to share including the shishito peppers, edamame and chinese long beans.IMG_8545.jpegMy favorite of the three would have to be the shishito peppers.

IMG_8549.jpegI asked about the sashimi carpaccio offerings as well. Our waiter let me know that none of the listed sauces were safe. However, they could substitute pure yuzu as an option. I ordered the yellowtail carpaccio in that style and was happy with the taste. I then ordered some nigiri. The wasabi that they use isn’t fresh wasabi (our waiter told us that it is too expensive), so I ordered it without. I don’t tend to trust wasabi pastes as they can have fillers like wheat starch that are not gluten-free. I also asked about the sushi rolls that they offer. Unfortunately, the restaurant soaks their seaweed in soy sauce so those are off limits. I like having another option for Asian cuisine in Santa Barbara. However, I still wish that we could have one restaurant in town that is totally GF friendly, offers sushi and has a gluten-free fryer like Rice in Manhattan Beach or Yuki Yama in Park City.

2 Responses to “Oku”

  1. Ella February 8, 2021 at 10:53 am #

    I just moved to Santa Barbara and I’m a celiac looking for new safe options! I’m reading your blog and I didn’t even know wasabi wasn’t safe!! Woah!! Thank you so much 🙂

  2. glutenfreeinsb February 8, 2021 at 4:04 pm #

    Hi Ella! Welcome to Santa Barbara! Wasabi itself is gluten-free. So if a restaurant is using fresh wasabi, you are in luck. Many restaurants use pre-made wasabi though since it is cheaper. The pre-made wasabis typically have a starch added to them, so you would need to distinguish whether it is made with corn starch or wheat starch or find out what else is in them. Also, I have been quiet on here due to lack of time and motivation to post, but be sure to check out my Instagram for lots of GF local options!

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