As we entered, a friendly chorus of welcomes in Japanese brightened our mood even more. The place has only been open three weeks and the joint was jumpin’ the Friday night we were there.
The evening continued to elevate our spirits to the point where all other sushi restaurants now pale in comparison to Sakura Ichi. The decor isn’t upscale, just simple tables and a few Asian artifacts against black walls.
My son informed me the bathrooms are clean and nice. Upon being seated, we were presented with a menu and a small photo album of the chef’s specials. They have unusual names such as Salmon & Pirates, Tokyo Dream, Loveaholic, Sun & Moon, Hula Roll and Hanabi.
We ordered the lion’s share. There is also a standard sushi checklist but I recommend having a sushi adventure with the specials. At some point, a plate of warm, fresh edamame arrived with a touch of salt on the outside, kind of like soft, green peanuts. I’m afraid there’s no free miso soup or salad here, unless you count the shredded radish and other simple vegetables that come as garnishes.
At Sakura Ichi, it’s all about the freshness of the fish and the artistry of the presentation. Some sushi are rolled, but typically in something other than seaweed. Some are more like fish packets or layered fish canapes. There is a surprising shortage of rice and absolutely no ginger or wasabi offered.
This upset no one at our table or, it appeared, in the restaurant. The Tokyo Dream is the first to arrive. Melt-in-your-mouth slices of albacore with thin rounds of raw jalapeno and a drizzle of chili oil surround a stack of crispy, deep-fried onions.