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Nathan Lee | Mar 1, 200306:58 PM

My wife and I went to Sakura for the first time last week to celebrate her new job. I told her about the reports I've read here and thought that would be a great place to try. We've tried several places that have been recommended by the hounds in S.D with mixed results but she's always willing to try new places.

As we were seated at a table almost directly in front of the door, the waiter tells us that there are no rolls. I realized that I neglected to tell her this tidbit as she asked him to repeat it. I thought she was having trouble understanding his English, but a long look from her big brown eyes tells me: "but I want my catepillar roll, and I want my spider roll..." sorry dear'.

We order the grilled redfish, ankimo, and two other appetizers which I can't remember, followed by Omakase.

The redfish was a little bigger than the size of my palm, split in half and it looks broiled. I taste a bit and while lightly sweet I don't think it was very fresh. I'm guessing it could have been artificially sweetened by brining in a sugar/MSG mixture. I know fresh redfish, and that was not it.

The Ankimo was the second best dish. I've been experimenting with about 5 lbs of foie gras and couldn't help but compare the two. The texture was a little grainier but the flavor was milder, and except for one edge piece, not fishy.

The Omakase had highlight of the meal as well as the most disappointing. The highlight was the half dozen pieces of clam (probably geoduck) which were "crunchy", had the fresh briny sweetness of really fresh seafood. The two pieces of tuna were devoid of taste, and the yellowtail were only slightly better as it was a bit fattier. Then there was the fan of 5 or 6 slices of an opaque fish. Not only did these not have any flavor, the surface looked as if they've been sitting out for a while. I've been around fish long enough to know what freshly cut fish looks like, and these slices looked closer to the many fish I've prepared for smoking, yep almost a pellicle like coat on them. I couldn't believe my eyes so I touched them, and sure enough they didn't feel like just-cut fish.

I think I'd still go back and try their appetizers a little more extensively, but it wouldn't be a place I'd recommend someone to try now.

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