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Pupu Picks
Pupu Picks

Sakura Restaurant Flourishes With Tantalizing Starters

By Steve Murray Photos By Leah Friel
November 18, 2012

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Furikake chicken ($8) is one of the most popular items on the menu, says Jun Tsuchiya, who owns Sakura Restaurant with his brother, chef Ryo Tsuchiya. It’s no wonder. The chicken is a little sweet and, thanks to its preparation, is very juicy. Tsuchiya begins by marinating the chicken in a mochiko sauce before deep frying the tender pieces. Topped with the house-made teriyaki sauce and furikake, it’s a tasty way to introduce the rest of Sakura’s mix of local and Japanese favorites.

Ahi Carpaccio ($13.50) is another good-to-go item. Sashimi-grade ahi is sliced thin, topped with a dark balsamic vinaigrette, and served with shredded onion, daikon and carrots. It’s buttery ahi with the slight snap of a good vinaigrette — tasty.

My personal favorite is Miso Tofu ($8), a crispy, creamy appetizer that looks more like a dessert than something with which you begin your meal. Soft Japanese tofu is deep-fried until crunchy then coated with Sakura’s special miso sauce and baked. Cutting into the two large pieces of tofu reveals the shiny interior that nearly sparkles against the darkened exterior. No, it’s not a dessert, but the slight sweetness of the miso will make you think it is.

If the goal is to get something beefy, or porky, Spare Ribs ($13.50) and Wafu Ribeye Steak ($24) are just the kind of shareable options you need. Tsuchiya is a bit secretive in the preparation of the tender strips of pork, but he will share is that the ribs are boiled, marinated in a soy, ginger, teriyaki-based sauce and grilled to ensure its tender goodness. Wafu Ribeye is 12 ounces of Angus beef that is lightly seasoned and grilled to order, as any good piece of meat should be. Served with shredded daikon with fried potatoes and broccoli on the side, it’s a crowd pleaser.

Sakura Restaurant

3008 Waialae Ave.
259.7100
Tuesday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. (lunch)
Tuesday-Sunday, 5 p.m.-midnight (dinner)