When I was in middle school and the Nets were not godawful for the first time in my entire life, my father and I went to a lot of games at the Meadowlands. Tickets were cheap and plentiful, the Byrne was fairly near my house…anyway, I’ve taken this particular trip down nostalgia alley before in this space. But en route to the games, before we discovered the smoke-filled delight that is Carstadt, NJ’s Steve’s Sizzling Steaks, we used to eat at LT’s. If you don’t want to deal with the flash animation on the website, just know that Steve’s current motto is “Serving You and Your Ancestors for Over 70 Years.” It’s a much better restaurant than LT’s was, but has a notably smaller collection of autographed jerseys.

LT’s was, as the acronym suggests, named after Lawrence Taylor, who shared ownership with a bunch of scummy mob-affiliated guys whose affiliations — much more than the place’s totally decent mozzarella sticks — eventually led to it being shut down. It was, briefly, known as McConkey’s, after this mustachioed Giants immortal. I think the place was eventually knocked down and is quite possibly now a Houlihan’s. I keep forgetting where the Houlihan’s is, and it was erected in like 45 minutes.

Anyway, there’s a certain risk inherent in going to eating establishments owned by and named after star athletes. There’s always the chance you’ll wind up someplace corny. Sure, every now and then you get lucky and wind up at a workmanlike establishment like the Minneapolis fish joint owned by food-friendly former UConn star Khalid El-Amin. But the lows are too terrible — too greasy, too cheesy, too memorabilia-intensive and unflatteringly be-muraled — to think about. That’s why it’s a relief to find a place as understated and classy as Seau’s of San Diego. By which I mean: holy shit, can this really be the BEST sushi in San Diego? Can anything be good in a setting like that?

I found out about this via Jeff Johnson’s playoff picks at Vice, which are of course worth reading even leaving aside the restaurant recommendations.