Food Porn: Sakura

Sakura grabbed my interest this year at the Taste of Buffalo.  Every year this happens; a restaurant will come out of the blue and win us over with a delicious menu item and we move it to the top of our wish list.  Last year Garris BBQ and their fantastic Fried Chicken floored us and we made our way back to get more (although we waited a few months to do it).  Well, we didn’t wait as long this time, in fact, it was only about a week after the Taste ended when we made our way to the restaurant.

Sakura is sort-of hidden in a plaza off Union Rd (near the Walden Galleria area), but if you pay close attention you can see their sign (above) as you drive down the road.  I don’t know how long they have been there but the inside has clearly had some money invested.  There is the typical sushi bar where you can sit and watch the chef prepare your food.  We choose to sit at a table and were waited on right away.

If there is a tip I can give for eating sushi, it is to go during lunch hours if possible.  Most sushi restaurants have much lower prices/specials during their lunch hours and you can often get the same size portions that you would get at dinner.  This is exactly what Alli and I did on our trip to Sakura; we left very full and satisfied and didn’t spend a lot of money in the process.

For lunch, Sakura offers their “Lunch Boxes” or “Combo’s”, each option allows you to pick your choice of roll and/or sashimi options (the only differences being amount of pieces, variety and appetizers).  With either you are looking to spend anywhere from $10 to $13 dollars.  When comparing that to dinner prices, you really are getting a good deal.

With Alli’s lunch combo she ordered the Gyoza as her appetizer, which are pan fried meat dumplings.  After a trip to NYC a few years ago, Alli has been fascinated with recreating one of our greatest food memories/experiences; soup dumplings.  While this wasn’t exactly the same thing (or really anything close) eating dumplings has been something we’ve tried to do more of in general.  The dumplings were cooked so that the edges had a really good crunch but still had a nice soft texture inside the dumpling.

I ordered their #5 Lunch Combo; for $12.95 you get 5 pieces of sushi  (Tuna, Salmon, and I think Yellowtail-middle of the picture), 6 pieces of sashimi (again the same three fish-top of picture) and a Regular Roll (I chose Spicy Tuna after trying it at the Taste of Buffalo).  Their Spicy Tuna is fantastic; fresh and delicious tuna with a spicy but not overwhelming sauce.  I would recommend it as one of the must tries for Sakura.  Alli has some strong feelings for their California rolls and would recommended those along with the spicy crab for those less adventurous sushi eaters (see picture below).

More impressive then the quality of fish that was served (which all tasted extremely fresh and delicious) was their quality of rice.  It’s normally something that doesn’t get fully appreciated but the sticky rice served at Sakura might be some of the best I’ve ever had.

I wanted to try another piece of fish, something that I have never had before.  Actually, I wanted to try Toro (Tuna Belly) however Sakura Sushi didn’t have the option on the menu.  So I went with another piece of fish that had “Market Price” next to its name and for the first time I tried Sea Urchin (pictured above).  I really wanted to enjoy it, I wanted to say I tried something unique and added some “cred” to my foodie status.  However the flavor was very strong and overwhelming.  The texture was fairly creamy and smooth, but the strong and slightly bitter flavor just didn’t work for me.  I’d definitely try Sea Urchin cooked but I wouldn’t try it raw again.  For anyone who is thinking about this, make sure you have some previous sushi experience, this one isn’t for the amateurs.

I still consider myself to be a Sushi noob and while I don’t think I will ever develop a true love or appreciation for sushi as some people do, I definitely want to start to incorporate more into my regular eating schedule.  For people living in the suburbs, I rarely say this but you have a really good restaurant that rivals some of the cities more prestigious/hip sushi locations.  Sakura is currently under the radar, so get there while you can before everyone realizes how great it really is.

Sakura on Urbanspoon

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