Saturday, August 18, 2012

Sakura and Sweet Shrimp or the continuation of the dearly departed

After trying three restaurants I previously enjoyed years ago in Tallahassee for dinner and finding them ALL closed which I describe in more detail in my post "The  , the Hubby(still weird)  and I decided to just go to Sakura.  Sakura is a Japanese restaurant we passed a couple times trying to find Fusion cafĂ© and the two other restaurants.
I am always happy to have Japanese food and/or sushi,  I have a  mine obsession I blame on my father,  so we figured why not.

Now, my husband (OMG)  family owns a sign company. Under their influence I have grown to perceive a  great amount about an establishments from their sign. Therefore, the discolored older signed lead me to make certain assumptions.
But we had been driving around for an HOUR and I was hungry.

As we walked in, we saw the specials board which boasted 5-7pm half priced wine Monday- Thursday.  Drinks special are always something  good to remember.  

I was pleasantly surprised to found the Restaurant to be much nicer on the inside with medium and dark wood paired with Japanese prints and almost romantic low lighting.

We were sited immediately which for me is a HUGE plus.  1-I hate waiting. 2- I was STARVING.
And the server came right over and got our drink orders. Check number two!
Then due to hunger, we ordered and ordered WAY too much!  We got the Sushi Deluxe (10  pieces of nigiri and spicy tuna roll)  which comes with miso soup and salad.  On top of that we ordered al la cart

2 shrimp nigri
2 sweet shrimp nigri
2 Ikura or salmon fish roe
2  mackerel
because that wasn't enough
1 Peanut Avocado roll
1 Toro Jalapeno roll

Sadfully for my taste buds, they were out of Uni or Sea Urchin, which is one of my personal favorites. The positive, I don't know if we could have eaten anymore if Sakuri had Uni in house.

The food arrived and looked GORGEOUS as you can see from my modeling the plate with all the al la cart items.

All the nigiri  ordered, I had eaten before except the Sweet Shrimp. Now for those who don't know what Sweet Shrimp is (I didn't know until the Hubby suggested we order it) raw shrimp. The body of the shrimp is cut and placed on top of rice similar to typical shrimp nigiri only not cooked.  The head of the sweet shrimp is fried and served next to the nigiri, ie the photo.  Now to be honest I had no clue what to do with the head.  I thought it was a fun garnish.  However after a little research and thanks to Jeffsayyes, I learned that the heads are similar to soft shell crabs and are meant to be eaten. Unfortunately, I learned this too late and will have to go back to try sweet shrimp heads.  Although, Jeffsayyes wrote about eating them in his blog  so check it out here for a description of the experience.

So Sweet Shrimp.. the first thing I noticed was the looks.  It looks just like raw shrimp which it is.  So I had  to get past that, since I am so conditioned to make sure shrimp is cooked through when preparing food.  So part of me wanted to tell the waiter, "Excuse me, this food is not done."  Second the texture, is not chewy and as solid as cooked shrimp. The texture is closer to the skin of salmon roe.  It is unusual but so good.   Sweet shrimp tastes sweet, slimy, sea ocean salty and wet.  The taste is not overpowering but very distinct.
I am definitely looking forward to having Sweet Shrimp again.

We found the sushi rolls to be hit or miss so good or AMAZING.  The avocado peanut roll was an wonderful flavor burst in my mouth, so AMAZING.  I would have never thought to pair avocado and peanuts but it works.  The creaminess of the avocado insinuates the natural creaminess of the peanuts.  Then crunchy texture of the peanuts contrasts nicely with the smooth cool avocado.  This roll was one I must remember because it seems like something that could be recreated at home.  Maybe not as artfully, but definitely a sushi roll that would impress with flavor that has ingredients easy to find in the grocery stores.

The other roll the Tora Jalapeno was ok.  I think I was expecting it to be spicier or have a stronger punch of flavor, though the taste was good.  It did not impress like the Avocado peanut roll.

As for the rest of the meal, the fish was a good and fresh quality but not AMAZING. This is not five star quality, the finest sushi you have ever eaten.  Though it is certain not the worst either (I put grocery store pre-made sushi here).  Damn MF Sushi in Atlanta for spoiling me.  However, the pricing is way better and quite affordable for sushi.

Overall, I enjoyed my experience at Sakuri.  The food was good with some bursts of genius shining through.  The pricing was good.  The server was quick and courteous.  I have big plan to go back during Happy Hour to get the 1/2 priced wine and 30% apps for a girls night or another date night.  Plus, I must try the fried fish head.
Sakura Japanese Sushi and Grill on Urbanspoon

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