Sakura Japanese Rest, Coral Gables FL

Sushi Chef at Sakura

Sushi Chef at Sakura Japanese Rest

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Sakura Japanese Restaurant
440 South Dixie Hwy.
Coral Gables, FL 33146
305-665-7020


Sakura Japanese Restaurant is a nice looking place right on US1 in Coral Gables. We decided to go try it out and see how it stacks up. The guy working behind the counter is Japanese, which guarantees nothing, but always makes me feel like I’m more likely to get a good meal. It’s a stereotype that is not based in fact, as fans of Marisa Baggett can attest to. But since most of the great sushi meals I’ve had have come from Japanese sushi chefs, my first reaction is predictable.

Nigirizushi at Sakura

Nigirizushi at Sakura

Now I always taste the sushi rice by itself, as faithful readers know. This rice, as in most places, was disappointing to me in that even though it was cooked correctly, there was no hint of sourness that comes from a sufficient application of rice vinegar. The nigiri are good but not great here. Aside from the boring rice taste, the proportions are way too rice-heavy. They do apply wasabi underneath, and a decent amount to boot, but too much rice detracts from the flavor.

As for rolls, it seems I’m rarely happy with the menus in America. They have a couple of unusual choices though; enough to keep me amused. Their menu is partitioned into small, medium and large rolls which struck me as a funny way to categorize them. The large rolls don’t seem particularly large, but they do offer traditional style rolls like negi-hamachi in the small category, so I can’t really complain.

Ko Ko Ro Roll

Ko Ko Ro Roll (Hamachi)

The Ko Ko Ro Roll comes with your choice of fish used inside the roll and outside as a topping, then covered in four types of tobikko. It’s served in two sauces, wasabi and ponzu. But much like the rice itself, I found myself feeling like the sweet/sour balance was a bit off. Ponzu should be tangy, and yet I struggled with too much sweetness. I used too much wasabi and too much soy sauce to compensate, and enjoyed.

And did I mention the green tea? Lately I’ve been less than satisfied with the green tea I’m being served. And this restaurant does nothing to alleviate that. They serve a cheap teabag variety that turns brown before you can finish a half cup. For this pleasure they charge $2.50. Order water instead.

Service is adequate, bathrooms passable, plenty of parking behind the restaurant, atmosphere decent and prices a bit on the high side. Overall not a bad choice, but I’ll take Matsuri just a few miles away anytime I’m in the area.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

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