Sakura Japanese Restaurant has long been my favorite sushi place in the city, although it's too far north for me to get to very often. Luckily, I got there this past weekend, which made me realize how much I’d missed it.
If you’ve never been to Sakura before, you should know one thing—it is tiny. And it gets very busy on weekends. Okay, two things, then—it is tiny and it gets very busy on the weekends. Three things: it is tiny, it gets very busy on the weekends, and they do take reservations. So, if you’re planning to go for dinner on a Friday night, call ahead.
When we decided to stop in late last Friday, we had not called ahead; thankfully, there were just four or five people ahead of us, so we only had to stand around for 15-20 minutes for a table. Not bad. When we finally did take our seats, the server brought us some warm, moist towels to wipe our hands—a ritual I always find relaxing.
Sakura has a full menu (including a lunch section) featuring Japanese dishes such as kabayaki (broiled eel in a special sauce), yakiniku (thinly sliced beef and onions sautéed in soy sauce), and chicken teriyaki on top of their fairly extensive list of sushi rolls and nigiri. For this meal, my friend and I decided to start with an appetizer of spinach gomaae (boiled spinach topped with a sesame dressing). What a great way to start your meal, light and flavorful! Of course, I love spinach and sesame seeds, so I’m an easy mark here. We also each had a bowl of miso soup, which was umami-licious. After we finished our appetizer and our soup, we decided to order sushi, opting for two soft shell crab rolls, one shrimp tempura roll, a Hoosier roll (tuna, avocado, and spicy sauce), and a New York roll (crab and avocado). Yeah, we ordered a couple of rolls too many. But that’s okay because the food was so good that I asked our server to pack the leftovers in a to-go box, took them home, and then had them as a midnight snack! Sakura twice in one day. What could be better?
One final note, the servers here can sometimes seem a little... severe to me. They’re not rude or anything, just not particularly friendly. Maybe it’s a cultural thing, I don’t know. In any case, I never take their occasional brusqueness personally.