A meal and drink at Chesapeake’s Sakura, plus a quick guide to Thanksgiving – The Virginian-Pilot
It’s hard to believe that sushi wasn’t as common in the American diet as it is today.
Spurred on by the scene of Molly Ringwald eating the Japanese staple in the classic 1985 film “The Breakfast Club,” I sought out sushi in my native Atlanta. There weren’t many places at the time, but I found one and was quickly confused.
But over the past 40 years, I’ve learned to navigate sushi menus, like many people, and learned to love it along the way.
I’m pretty picky about sushi, at least nothing in a convenience store please. I definitely have my favorite Japanese restaurants in the area, and Sakura (meaning cherry blossom in Japanese) is one of them.
Sakura offers both sushi and sashimi, à la carte and for dinner.
What is the difference? While seafood is the main ingredient, sushi is traditionally rolled in nori – or a seaweed wrap – and contains vinegared rice, usually around the outside. It is then cut into bite-size pieces. Not all sushi contains seafood. Sashimi is thinly sliced seafood or raw meat, offered as is.
Among Sakura’s sushi, classic, special and vegetable rolls are on the menu.
Among the sushi specials, I chose the Greenbrier Roll. Tucked inside nori, or seaweed, and a sushi rice blanket is a healthy serving of spicy snapper and fried salmon. At the top of the roll are avocado and spicy crab.
It was a nice combination of tastes and textures. The snapper was tender and the salmon crispy. The two also had distinct seafood flavor profiles, which complemented each other strongly. The spicy crab was also complimentary, bringing its own seafood flavors and a bit of heat to the party. The rich and creamy avocado was literally the icing on the cake.
Of the vegetable sushi, I chose the sweet potato tempura roll. It was absolutely delicious, with sweet potato cuts lightly dredged and fried in tempura – a thin, very fragrant batter – until tender and crispy. It is then rolled up like a traditional sushi roll and served with a drizzle of dark soy sauce on top.
It’s very simple, but it’s very tasty. In my sushi adventures, I’ve never seen this roll offered before, but I’ll be on the lookout from now on.
We started the meal with a warming bowl of miso soup, perfect for the day we visited, which had a chill in the air. The broth was tasty with lots of miso umami, soybean paste and other ingredients which is a stirred soup. Pieces of diced tofu were found everywhere.
Served perfectly chilled and showing off a slight effervescence, Hana Awaka Sparkling Flower is a delicious fruity sake – or rice wine. The offering, from Ozeki, is very accessible and a good sake drink for people who might not like sake otherwise.
Sakura Japanese Restaurant is located at 1437 Sams Drive, Chesapeake. Call 757-410-4577 or visit www.SakuraChesapeake.com
Many restaurants close during major holidays like Thanksgiving or Christmas, but others open for people who may not have other plans.
Over the years, I’ve cooked great Thanksgiving dinners for my family and friends, and attended dinner parties at other homes. But sometimes, especially when the party is small or people are traveling some distance, it’s nice to have a holiday meal.
Here are a few Chesapeake and other regional restaurants open on Thanksgiving that have been my favorites at different times of the year. This is by no means a complete list of restaurants serving that day, just a few recommendations. If one of your favorites is not on the list, contact them to find out if they are open on the holiday or not.
Many restaurants offer special Thanksgiving menus in addition to or instead of their regular menu.
Be sure to book as early as possible so you don’t get disappointed, and most importantly, if you have to cancel, do so as soon as possible so the restaurant can offer your table to someone else.
Also keep in mind that there is one thing we should be thankful for, and that is our local restaurants and the staff who help us enjoy our meals out. Keep staff in mind when dining out during the holidays when deciding how to tip.
1625 Ring Road, Chesapeake
Call 757-424-3171 or visit www.BlackPelicanGreenbrier.com
The butcher’s son
500 S. Battlefield Blvd., Chesapeake
Call 757-410-5466 or visit www.ButcherSon.com
Bistro by Todd Jurich
New American kitchen
150 W Main Street, Norfolk
Call 757-622-3210 or visit www.ToddJurichsBistro.com
What’s happening around town, from news about the city council to your favorite restaurants
Inside Founders Inn and Spa, 5641 Indian River Road, Virginia Beach
Call 757-366-5777 or visit www.FoundersInn.com
415 S. Church Street, Smithfield
Call 757-357-7700 or visit www.SmtihfieldStation.com
Patrick Evans-Hylton [email protected]