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Sushi as magical as a fairy tale

December 11, 2010|By Lisa Dupuy
  • The Sahimi Lunch Special item comes with with a variety of fishes: Albacore, Salmon, Tuna, Japanese Fish Cake, Spicy Tuna ball and Spicy Albacore ball. It is served with Japanese Onion Pickle, Seaweed Salad, miso, salad and rice.
The Sahimi Lunch Special item comes with with a variety… (Cheryl A. Guerrero/Staff…)

Going to Sakana Japanese Sushi Bar & Grill is a little like walking into a fairy tale. You step through the big wooden doors of an ogre's house, walk over the bridge of the three billy goats Gruff, and end up in a room filled with red chandeliers amid a chorus of welcomes. The similarites don't stop there. A happy attitude pervades the place that is true to its published motto, "fabulous, friendly service from the heart."

The 2-month-old Sakana has taken the place of the short-lived Love Sushi. I don't know the reason for the sudden change, but I can't say I'm sad about it. Sakana is cooler-looking and serves better food. It's a dollar or two more than other sushi joints in town, but the portions are generous, the fish is fresh, and the specialty rolls are creative.

Three immaculate-looking chefs stand at attention behind the long, marble sushi bar. They crank out the standard sushi combo plates (tuna, salmon, white fish, yellowtail, albacore and spicy tuna roll for $12.99) with lightning speed and an artistic flourish. They also offer other favorites, such as halibut, sea urchin, squid, and on the day I was there, monkfish liver, by the two-piece (sushi) or three-piece (sashimi) plate ($3.25 to $14.95).

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The chefs seem to really let loose, though, when making their specialty rolls. I was amused by how they describe them on the menu. For instance, the Wok Special ($11.99) reads "in: California roll; out: cashew, snowpea, shrimp, mushroom." It is a meal unto itself, where slices of a particularly nice California roll are covered in the warm, grilled mushrooms, nuts, shrimp and veggies.

Another standout roll is the Scallop Dynamite ($12.99) described as "in: asparagus, crab; out: spicy scallop." This one has sweet fluffy crab wrapped in sticky rice with the added snap of asparagus and a rich topping of grilled scallops and onions. It's as satisfying as Thanksgiving dinner. I was glad to see they offer udon ($7.99) for when I'm craving it, but it doesn't hold a candle to the stuff you get in Little Tokyo. My son raved about his beef teriyaki plate ($11.99), however, and I adored his side salad with fresh field greens and a tangy wasabi dressing.

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