April 16, 2010

Sakura Restaurant

I ran into Jason and Donna on my way to lunch at Sakura, a Japanese/sushi restaurant (2451 3 de Noviembre). They had not eaten at this restaurant so I promised them I’d write about it in the blog--this is for you guys!

It’s hard not to use my past experience eating at Japanese restaurants in New York as a baseline for comparison, because that’s what I know. Given that disclaimer, I thought the atmosphere was pleasing, with elements of authenticity, such as the sushi bar. The greenery and cloth banners hanging by the large window provided soothing decorative touches. We were the only customers at that time and service was excellent. However, I can't say what it would be like when crowded.

The menu is extensive, including sushi and sashimi, as well as other traditional main courses. We ordered the mixed tempura to share as an appetizer and while the coating wasn’t the light and airy texture that I would expect in tempura, it was fine, and not greasy, specially the vegetable pieces which were nice and crisp--the shrimp was a little mushy. We were both in the mood for sushi and both ordered the Light Combo, which included half a sushi roll, two pieces of sushi and one of sashimi for $7. A 12-piece assortment of sushi selected by the chef, is $12. For Ecuador, the prices are on the high end.

Unfortunately unagi (eel), which is my favorite, was not available that day—this was surprising as I think of eel as a Japanese staple. They were also out of a couple of the other choices we had made so we had to scramble to rethink our order. Apparently choices are limited on a daily basis, so it would make sense to ask what’s available before you decide.

Here’s a picture of part of my meal—unfortunately I didn’t remember to take it until I had already eaten the roll! While the sushi I had was tasty, the flavors were not crisp and clear. I found that, because the flavor of the ingredients in each sushi were indistinct, the 3 different sushi items tasted rather similar. The salmon sashimi, on the other hand was fresh, buttery, and delicious.

For dessert, I recommend the homemade green tea ice cream--I love that earthy taste and I was very happy to know that I can find it in Cuenca if a craving should strike. All in all, I can’t say Sakura serves the best sushi in town, as it’s the only sushi restaurant I’ve tried here. I would say that while not the best I’ve ever had, it does adequately satisfy the need for something different.

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