Sushi Friday XIII

Sakura Garden Japanese Steakhouse

120 Hebron Avenue

Glastonbury, CT )6033

860-430-5600

Here’s a lucky thirteen review as this place improves each time I visit.

What I like: The restaurant was one of the first to adopt the blue-light-under-the-sushi-bar motif with beautiful paintings on the walls. The music has improved from weird hip-hop electronica and Euro-dance club on the first few visits to great jazz from SiriusXM Radio most recently. The place is large and never feels crowded even when busy. The hibachi smells never seep into the main dining room. I didn’t know the place had hibachi until I surfed to the menu online. The sushi chef has begun offering a welcoming treat – at last visit it was seaweed salad, which rendered the garden salad superfluous. The chefs are personable and stay busy. On one visit, the head chef was giving lessons on the biggest piece of yellowtail I’ve ever seen. The miso no longer has huge portions of scallion. That’s the best that can be said about it. On every visit the fish is absolutely fresh – though only seven pieces in the lunch box, but the extras compensate. Shrimp shumai has a more interesting sauce than usual, and the ubiquitous Cali rolls have a crunchy something extra as well. The platter of sashimi is more generous: ten pieces with two of salmon, three bluefin three yellowfin and two real white tuna, not escolar.

What I don’t like: Navigating to and from can be a challenge with cars zooming in and out of the parking lot at odd angles. If one approaches the upscale mini strip mall from New London Turnpike, it can take forever to cross the intersection. The sushi chefs use a Mouli-style hand grinder to chop the cucumbers. That’s cheating. The miso soup consists of an insipid, luke-warm broth, not really redeemed by the seaweed, which varies from stingy to overwhelming, nor by the tofu, which remains stingy. I learned to order the lunch box rather than the sashimi lunch, because when I asked for rice the waitress had the sushi chef dish up a bowl of the stuff flavored with vinegar and sugar to save herself a trip to the kitchen. She asked as she put it down, “Is sushi rice OK?” and didn’t wait for a reply. The service has otherwise been fawning.

Grade: B+ because of the improvement

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2 Responses to “Sushi Friday XIII”

  1. Nick Sambides Jr. Says:

    This reminds me of our jaunts for sushi at various places around CT. Did you know that you are the person who introduced me to the glories of sushi and sashimi? Aside from my mother’s great gift of making me play baseball, that might have been one of the longest-lasting joys I have ever been given.

  2. lizr128 Says:

    There’s a place in Newington we need to visit next time you’re in Conn.

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