Matsu’s uni with mustards and nasturtium dashi PHOTO BY LEO CABAL
Chef-owner William Eick’s beloved Japanese pop-up Matsu is now a must-try brick-and-mortar in Oceanside.
Shio koji-marinated duck breast MARINATED DUCK PHOTO BY ERIK BALDWIN
Choose from a refined selection of sakes and spirits PHOTO BY LEO CABAL
The modern Japanese-inspired restaurant. PHOTO BY LEO CABAL
Chef William Eick PHOTO BY LEO CABAL
Discreetly situated on the corner of Wisconsin Avenue and South Tremont Street, just off South Coast Highway, Matsu is Oceanside’s next great Japanese fine-dining experience. Helmed by executive chef-owner William Eick—who began the venture as a pop-up back in 2019—the sleek and intimate restaurant offers its discerning patrons a four-course menu, where guests can choose from three to four options per course, or an eight-course omakase. (Both include optional wine pairings while the omakase can be elevated even further with caviar and wagyu enhancements.) “Matsu is the restaurant that allows me to truly push myself from a creative outlet,” says Eick, who designed and built the majority of the space himself, and has brought his vision to life with his very own dream team—sous-chef David Duarte and general manager Joe Devlin. “I have always been influenced by the Japanese culture, beyond just the cuisine. Matsu allows me to share what that means to me.” The result is a medley of exquisitely plated dishes driven by seasonal, fresh ingredients—think cabbage gyoza teamed with cabbage dashi and caviar or shio koji-marinated duck breast accompanied by sudachi gel, turnips, apples, grilled green onion and duck Matsuyaki sauce. “The menu gets changed slightly just about once a week; a full dish gets changed about every other week; and larger plates change once a month,” says Eick, ensuring the Matsu experience is ever-evolving. A curated selection of wine, beer, sake and cocktails—Eick’s go-to is the rum-forward Kohi—round out the intentional menu. And to make date night even more romantic, request to sit at the two-seat chef’s counter, where you can watch Eick and his crew craft an 11-course culinary experience right before your eyes. The bottom line: Matsu is a must. 626 S. Tremont St., Oceanside, 760.681.6152, eatatmatsu.com.