Wednesday, November 15, 2006
Sakura Japanese Restaurant
I went to Sakura Japaese Restauant on Centinela in Mar Vista (not to be confused with Sakura House on Washington Blvd) with some friends the other night. We arrived around 6:30, thinking we would be early enough to avoid a wait, but we were wrong. We waited for about 40 minutes for our table. I have been there a couple of time before, and also waited. Ever since I started going to nicer restaurants, where we make reservations, I have become spoiled and have forgotten what it is like to wait for a table. I don't like it. The one upshot of waiting is, it builds up your appetite, so the food tastes better.
Sakura is located on Centinela, near Culver Blvd. We thought we could have a drink at a nearby bar while we waited, but no such luck. Perhaps the lack of bars is due to the close proximity of the police station? Sakura is a great little neighborhood Japanese restaurant.
They have a sushi bar, and also serve cooked Japanese cuisine. They also have a cool, personalized Shag print of the Jungle Cruise at Disneyland. As a Shag collector myself, I wonder how they got a hold of that rare print. Once seated, we ordered our sake and big Asahi beers. My friend Frank ordered the sweet raw shrimp for the table, but somehow got lost in translation, because the server brought out whole, fried shrimp instead.
Then we ordered some Gyoza, little fried pork dumplings. They were so good (and we so hungry from the wait), we ordered a second round.
For out main course, Heather, homesick for her college days in Honolulu, ordered noodles, which she loved. Not as good as the little Ramen place around the corner from the UH campus, but Sakura's noodles satisfied her craving.
Frank got sushi (see top photo), not the best ever, but sufficient. I ordered the salmon and tempura combo. A generous, slightly dry portion of grilled salmon, served with salad, miso soup, shrimp and vegetable tempura. Once again, good, not great, but certainly filling and satisfying. I loved the tempura (or course, it is deep fried!), but something about tempura does not quite agree with me. I got to relive the flavor about every 30 minutes after eating it...
Friendly, swift servers, working as fast as they can to move the crowd through. The bill came to just over $100 (all this food plus one sake and 4 large beers). Slightly steep, we all thought. There are certain restaurants (like Lucques), which are expensive, but worth every penny. Sakura was pleasant, but worth just a little less than $100. I would return, but a little earlier in the evening to avoid the wait.
Sakura Japanese Restaurant
4545 Centinela Blvd.
Los Angeles, Ca 90066