Naka's is across the street from the more popular Pink Godzilla sushi bar, but the food at Naka's is far better -- huge nigiri pieces and rolls with authentically Japanese combinations of fish and vegetables, in large American sizes. Not much in the way of cream cheese and macadamia nut rolls here!
Naka creates the edible works of art, and his wife is the hostess, waitress, and sometimes busboy too. They put a lot of heart and soul into the food. They also offer other Japanese specialities like bento boxes, teriyaki and tempura, all of which are a cut above the other sushi bars in Santa Cruz.
You do have to get past the atmosphere -- the interior decor is funky bordering on dumpy. (But clean!) However, Naka has a loyal following among the locals who know good sushi -- it's really all about the food there. My husband and I have been regulars for 15 years now, and have turned several of our friends and family into Naka fans, too.