Last week, Mike and I had the chance to try the newest Japanese restaurant in Spruce Grove: Sakai Sushi Bar located at 112 Century Crossing in the really wonderful Century Crossing development on the east end of the city. I’ve written about how great the east end of Spruce Grove has been for date nights – there’s an affordable movie theatre, different restaurant options, and new businesses opening up it seems, all the time! Sakai is the latest, terrific addition to the neighbourhood.
Sakai Sushi Bar just opened last Monday (June 24, 2013) and when we went mid-week for dinner, they had a pretty steady dinner crowd. Sakai is very modern and clean. There’s your typical booths, tables, spot right up where the sushi chefs are slicing and also a nice private area separated by solid sliding doors that would be great for birthday parties or other celebrations.
We were told Sakai is family-run. There’s two very tall men who I believed to be the father and son duo there. The pair of them, along with a nice shorter lady, worked together to serve our dinner. The food selection at Sakai is similar to what you’d expect at most Japanese restaurants. The dinner price points also on par with your typical Japanese restaurants (on the more expensive end). I did like that their entree selections included rice, miso soup, a house salad and ice cream for dessert along with the entree. The only thing typical of most Japanese restaurants that they didn’t have are bento boxes. (I checked and they do offer bento boxes on their lunch menu though!)
We ordered their beef tataki (thinly sliced Alberta AAA streak, seared and garnished with daikon radish, onions and served with citrus ponzu sauce, $12) to start. It was terrific. I thought the slices were cut just right (I find some restaurants do pretty thick cuts of beef tataki. I think thinner is better for texture and taste). And the citrus ponzu sauce was very refreshing. The onions also leave some lingering heat after the initial bites so it was greatly flavoured beef tataki overall!
We shared the Dynamite Rolls (Prawn tempura, spicy tuna and avocado, $14) but thought they were only okay. There was nothing too stand-out about these rolls and the presentation was kind of plain. Other rolls they offer include Mango Passion, Rainbow, Flaming Saba, Sakura Blossom, Black Tiger, and Spider, to name a few! I’m not a big rolls person anyway.
I ordered the Chirashi Bowl (assorted sashimi over a bed of rice, $22). I used to love ordering Chirashi Bowls at Japanese restaurants but think I may stop. The rice just makes it a very heavy meal and after eating the tataki, rolls, and sharing Mike’s miso soup and salad, I just couldn’t finish up the bowl. But the sashimi was great, there’s good variety and it all tasted quite fresh.
Mike ordered the Teriyaki Beef entree (7 oz New York strip, tataki style in a honey glazed teriyaki sauce, $22, which also came with miso soup, house salad, rice and ice cream). At $22 I think this is a great deal for what you get. The miso soup is more flavourful than most places – the house salad with sesame ginger dressing was so light and tasty, and the rice, amount of beef you get, plus vegetables, is substantial.
Terrific house salad with sesame ginger dressing at Sakai.
The ice cream options we were given were chocolate, vanilla, green tea, and black sesame. Mike didn’t want green tea and our very friendly server said chocolate and vanilla options were too boring and insisted we try the black sesame – so we did! And we weren’t disappointed. The ice cream had a great texture, and something of a coffee-like taste. We’d never tried black sesame before but I couldn’t stop taking spoonfuls. The chocolate Pocky sticks were a nice touch too (and made for cute presentation!) We also loved the ice cream because it came included with Mike’s entree price! Ordered separately, the ice cream is $3. There’s also tempura ice cream for $8 and a tropical fruit sorbet for $6.
Overall, Sakai makes a great new addition to Spruce Grove – especially the Century Crossing east end of Spruce Grove. It’s a very sleek, modern space, with great service and a lovely atmosphere. The food was tasty, and the entree options are good bang for your buck considering all the extras you get. It is pretty pricey for dinner (for both of us, our bill came out to about $70 – eep!!) but I think that price is typical for most dinners at Japanese restaurants (my brother always prefers doing All You Can Eat to avoid pricey Japanese dinners, he’s a smart guy! Lol) But the quality of the food was great and we definitely left full and satisfied.
I always try to root for new restaurants and the same is true here. I wish Sakai all the best and hope they have a very long, successful business life in Spruce Grove! It was encouraging to see the crowds steadily roll in throughout our dinner. We had a lovely time and will likely be back. :)
So have you been to Sakai Sushi Bar?! What did you think??