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Feb 12, 2010 04:21 AM


CH and I tried Sakura for the first time last night. We normally like to try and catch Fuji-Ya in DT St Paul for HH-but decided to venture elsewhere.

Space is open and large, decor is minimal but pleasant, ambience is low-key...a little quieter and less crowded than Fuji-Ya and some of the other venues. We were there about 5:45. Gyoza (pass -not as good as other sushi places), a Bento Box with teriyaki salmon (tempura veggies, salad, miso soup, broccoli rabe and 3 pieces of sashimi sushi), and 2 large rolls-Brent Burns and uh, I can't remember the other one but it was interesting-tempura chicken wrapped around super white and albacore tuna. Interestingly enough, it was really good.

All that - Two Tiger beers and two pinot grigio's later, the bill after tax was $83.14.
Not bad at all.

Caveat-I am allergic to shellfish (so sad) so I'm pretty much limited to the tuna varietals and standard fish...hubs often will get a few pieces containing shellfish for himself. So, in determining how it compares to others-I'm basing it more off the tuna aspect of sushi rather than the shellfish sushi. We have only been to Fuji-Ya St Paul, Fuji-Ya Mpls, Origami, Kum Gan Sang, Tiger Sushi and Saji-Ya. Still need to visit Midori's and Seven.

Rolls are very reasonably priced.

But, we'll definitely go back. Only wish they had some HH deals. Anyone else had some good experiences here?

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  1. hey SBB-- dh has the same shellfish allergy as you, but also loves the fish-based tuna. i think sakura used to be better than st paul fuji-ya, but imo has had a drop in quality/freshness that corresponded to the new rolls named after athletes. . . i haven't been back there for a while (over 1 year), and my last 2 experiences were pretty lackluster. just seemed like they were really trying to cater to the arena crowd. :(

    i used to really enjoy the octopus salad there, i remember that fondly.

    1. I work in downtown St. Paul, and am never happier than when I can go to Sakura for lunch. In addition to sushi, I love their miso soup and salmon teriaki lunch special.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Haricotsv2

        SK - Is your DH as sad about his shellfish allergy as I am? It's a total bummer and usually limits our options unless we're out with another couple-otherwise the expense gets outrageous.

        Good to hear your opinion. Like I said, DH and I, with sushi-need to go at least twice, if not a third time. I'd be curious if our 2nd experience resembles our first. There was nothing going on DT that night-so the restaurant was surprisingly quiet. The rolls were prepared nice and tight-timely for the work, and all the tuna, imo, was very fresh. Didn't smell, dark coloring, nice marble-and the super white and albacore were white/translucent hue. But, moreover, it TASTED really well. Was it tuna-based ones that were lackluster or some shellfish varietal?

        Of all the places, I really do prefer Origami.

        Where do you guys like to go?

        1. re: snoboardbabe77

          Not St Paul - but pretty close is Midori on Lake Street

          We had take out from there recently and it was excellent.

          1. re: snoboardbabe77

            oh he *hates* his accursed shellfish allergy and wishes he could try more sushi. sometimes i will get a few rolls on the side for myself but i generally try to get stuff we can both share, unless it's a big splurge. don't get big splurges too much anymore :(

            i really like origami, but honestly the place you'll find us eating sushi most frequently these days is obento-ya on como in minneapolis. it's less expensive, the food is well made, it's a great little place that is convenient to us & they do a great job accommodating dh if he wants to make an allergy-related substitution. if midori's were closer to our stomping grounds we'd probably eat there more frequently, we're just not often in that area. when we lived in st. paul we used to love going to tanpopo regularly-- not a "sushi restaurant," i know, but they do usually offer sushi along with the rest of the menu, and the food was unfailingly delicious.

            1. re: soupkitten

              SK - Alas, we are both cursed. I wish it weren't so...but I guess I'd take a shellfish allergy over being allergic to wine. :)

              We don't get to Origami often-because there is little desire to head back that way (DT) or even toward Ridgedale for an evening of sushi. As far as Obento-Ya, we haven't tried it..though my bus (3) goes by it every single day. I've heard nothing but good things-it's on our list...but if we're not wanting sushi, and it is Asian-then it's usually Ngon Bistro b/c it is so close.

              We too, don't do the splurge much anymore either--and that's the thing with sushi-if we're gonna plunk down the money, we want it to be good.

              Midori's is next-especially b/c we also like Korean food and she apparently has a roll with kimchee...

              Next time we're out, I'll report on the experiences. I like to give a place 2 times, if not 3 before making a final assessment (i.e, recommending to a friend or not). If you win the lottery and go splurge more often, report back! LOL

        2. Yes, I've only been there once, so this review is as flawed as usual...but my experience was not fantastic. It was after 9 during a weekday. They were not interested in service nor flavor and it was expensive. I am going to do Rock-n-Roll Sushi at Whole Foods this weekend and am looking forward to some great sushi. I will probably go back to Sakura to be fair and because I love Asian food.

          1. I've always had a good experience here (both lunch and dinner), and it's very accessible for the non-sushi types. Menu is a nice combination of sushi and Japanese food, and bonus points for having things that work for those with allergies (of which my hubby is one). They also have a good happy hour.

            6 Replies
            1. re: latte4me

              Latte4me - I don't believe Sakura has a HH? We normally hit Fuji-Ya DT St Paul-4 their HH but service has been really off the last two times. So we opted to try somewhere new. As for Midori's - we've heard really great things about this place and definitely want to try. I have heard not-so-great things about service, but since we haven't experienced it yet - we will give Midori a fair opportunity.

              Stepaway - is the take out sushi from Whole Foods from the same company that does it at Mississippi Market? From our take out sushi at various grocery stores-we rank them:

              Mississippi Market, Whole Foods/Kowalskis. Target is ok, and actually better than Byerly's and Rainbow (at least as far as spicy tuna is concerned) and honestly, I won't try Cub's sushi.

              1. re: snoboardbabe77

                I can confirm that Sakura has a happy hour.

                1. re: Uisge

                  Uisge- When is it? We were there about 5:30-5:45 and there was no HH? I also dont think I saw anything on the website?

                  1. re: snoboardbabe77

                    Not sure when it starts, but I think it ends at 6pm (we always order as soon as we get there). There were signs on the tables that gave the specials for HH.

                2. re: snoboardbabe77

                  Hmm...It's been awhile since I've been but am due to return this week for HH and will report.

                  Oh, and not to change venues, but have you tried Kincaid's for HH? They have a number of appetizers @ half price, and a few drink specials as well. Always a good place to go and spoil one's dinner.

                  1. re: latte4me

                    Husband and I always go to Kincaid's 10:00 happy hour after the Chamber Orchestra. Absolutely delicious and diet busting for little money!!!

              2. This may be a little late, but to clear up the Happy Hour questions, here it is:

                Happy Hour is 3-6, Monday-Friday. It is a ridiculously great priced happy hour. The deal is you need to buy some sort of beverage to partake in the HH food (it can be a pop, or hot tea, or a HH beverage). I have been there a lot, and from memory, this is what I know:

                $1 edamame, $2.50 kushiyaki, $2.50 yakitori, $2.00 (I think) gyoza, $2.50 maki sake, $4 caterpillar roll (with real crab), $2.50 tekka maki, and small saki, large saki, and tap all range from $2.50-$5.