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Order of the Day

The Best of Japanese Flavors Served in Casual Elegance

By Lindsey Appleton Photos By Anthony Consillio
February 22, 2015

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Along busy South King Street, hidden behind a secluding fence made of palms, is a Japanese restaurant that specializes in fresh, healthy and delicious dishes. Sakura Terrace Japanese Cafe, named after the symbolic and picturesque cherry blossom, serves nourishing and delectable meals that are full of flavor and artfully crafted.

“Sakura takes the flavors of Japan and adds just a touch of local fusion,” says Jaron Takumi, Sakura’s front-of-house manager. “We’re always evolving and adapting to the customers’ tastes. All of our plates are fresh and made to order and enjoyed in a tranquil setting.”

With authentic recipes from Japan, Japanese chef Sekine artfully crafts each plate by assembling a myriad of high-quality ingredients. Experience the essence of Sakura in Sakura Chirashi Don ($18). Served at both lunch and dinner, the Chirashi is packed full with fresh marlin, salmon, ahi and hamachi sashimi, aka ebi (red shrimp), ika (squid), uni (sea urchin) and ikura (salmon roe) on a bed of sushi rice. The sweet sushi rice is complemented by the salty roe, the light yet meaty cuts of fish, and flavorfully accented by the uni, a delicacy, which melts like butter in your mouth. The Chirashi is made a complete meal with a side of house-made miso soup and tsukemono.

“The Chirashi is the most popular among both our customers and staff,” says Takumi. “Not a lot of Japanese restaurants make their Chirashi with the assorted ingredients we use. It’s layers upon layers of flavors.”

Another popular dish is savory Kozakura Bento with Tiger Prawn Tempura ($18), served only at lunch. Customers choose from four main options: salmon and ikura, spicy tuna, yellowtail and tuna, and ahi poke. Your choice is served as a set with large tiger prawn and vegetable tempura with a dipping sauce, salad topped with a house-made dressing and garnished with tofu.

“The tempura is a delicate, time-consuming process,” says Chef Sekine. “We use high-end batter and oil, so it’s a better-quality tempura.”

“The temperature of the oil has to be right and the batter has to be just cold enough to create the signature tempura-crunch,” adds Takumi.

Try Sakura’s hot new item, Beef Sukiyaki — served over an open flame to be cooked right on your table. Prepared ala carte for dinner ($18) and at lunch as a complete meal — with rice, miso soup, tsukemono, salad, and a small side dish ($19.50) — Beef Sukiyaki is a family-style hot pot filled with thin slices of Angus beef, tofu, watercress, won bok, mushroom and konnyaku (Japanese noodles) in a sweet and salty broth.

“Sakura is casual elegance,” says Takumi. “You won’t know what you’re missing until you try our food. Even our rice is of a higher quality. Customers come here for the first time and are pleasantly surprised by our romantic and modern indoor and outdoor atmosphere, and are excited about the quality of our food.”

Sakura Terrace Japanese Cafe

1240 S. King St., Honolulu
591-1181
Tuesday-Sunday, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. (lunch) and 5 – 10 p.m. (dinner)