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Best bets and times to go to Sakura on Centinela?

c
Cinnamon Mar 24, 2009 07:23 PM

This little, busy sushi place has varied reviews here on Chowhound. It's very close to Casa Sanchez on Centinela near Culver Blvd. (just east of Marina del Rey).

Others mentioned there's usually a wait - when should you go to really avoid a wait? Also, what are your favorite things there, if you're in the camp that likes this spot?

(Note that I'm not talking about a pavilion inside the Mitsuwa marketplace, this is a wholly different location.)

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Sakura Japanese Restaurant
4545 S Centinela Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90066

  1. monku Mar 24, 2009 07:52 PM

    I see people lining up at 4:30 a half hour before they open at 5:00. When the door opens the place fills right up.
    Overall good Japanese food at good prices. Sushi is reasonable and good and traditional Japanese food is done well. When you see old time Japanese people eating there it must be good and reasonably priced.

    1. b
      bulavinaka Mar 24, 2009 10:12 PM

      I haven't eaten here in years as I had a couple of poor experiences, but as Monku says, it fills up pretty fast at dinner. I don't think anything on their menu that I tried would draw accolades but they do decent food at a reasonable price. It's not a classic sushi bar but they do serve it along with a lot other standard Japanese dishes along with some specials. And that's where I had issues with them.

      When it's matsutake season, and one orders a matsutake dish off of their "specials" list, it better have some matsutake in it. I ordered, they forgot, everyone else got their food and I sat there with nothing. Tried waving down a waitress - no response. Finally after looking like I was waving in an F-14 on a carrier, a waitress came over, apologized, and 15-20 minutes later, my dish came. Everyone else was finished and just waiting for me to finish. I ordered matsutake donburi which is basically a rice dish that has been cooked in an earthen bowl with supposed pieces of matsutake, chicken, etc. When one lifts the lid, the pine-like aromas of matsutake should immediately hit your senses. Nothing. I found one matsutake stem on top of the rice. I think they must have fished it out of the trash or someone else's bowl and tried to pawn this off to me as a matsutake donburi. No apologies, no comp. This was a while back but I've never forgotten this. And I don't think they miss me at all. They just keep getting these lines and I just can't figure out why.

      2 Replies
      1. re: bulavinaka
        Servorg Mar 25, 2009 06:14 PM

        The owner for the last few years is a woman who used to waitress at the Crest Coffee Shop (and a few other places around the WLA area before that) which was on the NW corner of Wasatch and Washington Blvd. (and which is no longer there) in Mar Vista by the name of Janis Toya (sp?). So nice to see local people work hard and succeed in a very tough business.

        1. re: Servorg
          b
          bulavinaka Mar 26, 2009 10:55 AM

          I need to forgive and try them once again then. This incident I whined about occurred back in the late 90s.

      2. m
        MahiMahiFish Mar 25, 2009 07:51 AM

        Hi Cinnamon -
        I like this place, my wife & I eat here about 3 times a month. We prefer sitting at the bar so we show up just before they open. Honestly, its the only way we can avoid a wait.
        We are pretty basic in our sushi choices, their standards have always been good:
        Salmon
        Yellowtail
        Bluefin Tuna
        Ikura
        Scallop
        Fatty Tuna

        Good luck!

        1 Reply
        1. re: MahiMahiFish
          c
          Cinnamon Mar 25, 2009 05:39 PM

          Great to know - thank you all!

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