So, good friends of ours, Lauren's godparents, invited our family to join them for a birthday dinner at a local Japanese steakhouse, Sakura. I've always wanted to go to one of these but until last night never had the opportunity. The girls are finicky eaters so prospects looked pretty slim. But we immediately accepted the invitation and took along a supply of ketchup and Doritos since the online menu showed a distinct lack of chicken fingers.

It looked pretty grim at first as Olivia balked a little about even entering the place but as soon as she saw things being set on fire, brightened up a bit. There was a big sign advertising their sushi bar (I abhor sushi) so that had me taken aback a little but I was hoping to see an actual table fire so that got me in the place. We sat around a table that was centered around a grill where the cook would be stationed to prepare our food. We had to share our table with two other patrons as the restaurant filled seats per station not per family. The two other guests were middle-aged women, one of whom spent the entire meal on her cell phone and the other who appeared to be a half-addled stroke victim. Conversation was limited to say the least.

A Japanese fellow took our dinner order and I was disturbed to learn that they did not serve coffee! I had to settle for hot green tea. It was definitely green but not so much hot. I know it's customary for tea to be served in Japanese restaurants but if they have Coke to offer perhaps they could afford a Mr. Coffee. This is America after all and there's a WalMart right around the corner. They did have chicken liver as an appetizer which was interesting and shrimp flambé (fire!). The entrees were limited but interesting nonetheless. I ordered the filet mignon with scallops. When the chef asked me how I wished my steak prepared, I responded 'pink', allowing each restaurant to determine what that means to them.

Speaking of our chef, it has to be some indication of our immigration status when half the cooks in the restaurant appeared to be from Guatemala. No offense intended as he prepared our food just fine. He was happy to twirl the culinary implements for our entertainment and did that stacked onion volcano thing. He placed my steak on the grill and allowed it to brown before taking it and chopping it into bite sized pieces. It made me think that when he asked me how I wanted it prepared, it was a joke that went over my head at the time. I did not think to cut into one of those little cubes to check the color and couldn't if I had wanted since they provided no knives - just chopsticks and a fork. The freshly prepared fried rice and dipping sauces with the scallops were superb. They almost (almost) made me forget about the lack of coffee. I was thoroughly stuffed. Olivia made do with a New York strip steak (also chop sockeyed into little pieces) doused in smuggled ketchup and equally smuggled Doritos. Lauren tried bites of new foods like shrimp which she had previously steadfastly refused to try, scallops and tastes of ginger sauce and a beef broth type soup. She was thrilled at using chopsticks and refused to use a fork even for the rice. Brenda had chicken (yawn).

Overall it was quite enjoyable. Nothing caught on fire, though.

Five Replies to East Meets West

Jackie Mason | April 3, 2010
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Scott Hardie | April 18, 2010
I'm glad you had a good time! I've been to a number of these restaurants, and they vary between putting the emphasis on great food or on great showmanship. I like when they put on a big show (juggling knives, setting things on fire, making the food dance, catching things in their hats or kids' mouths, etc), but in the end I'd rather have a really satisfying meal. We nearly went to one of these on Siesta Key at the first GooCon event, but stayed in to cook on the grill instead, which is probably just as well; Matt's a good griller too and doesn't charge $20+ per plate. :-)

Amy Austin | April 19, 2010
Mmm... steak... sushi...

(Thanks a lot for making me hungry!!)

Jackie Mason | April 23, 2010
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Tony Peters | April 23, 2010
I'm with Amy, steak, sushi, that completes any meal for me....makes me miss Japan though. I don't get the no coffee thing either, the only place I ever saw that in Japan was the hole in the wall sushi places...the Japanese people LOVE coffee

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