I’m not sure why it took me so long to get there, but I finally made it to Sakura this weekend. Since it opened a few weeks ago I have been hearing nothing but good things about the new Japanese Steakhouse. Review sites like https://99japan.com have written beautiful pieces on them and the internet is simply loving it. It now occupies the old bank building in downtown Monaca. For some reason I just couldn’t get there.
That all changed this past Saturday afternoon when I found myself looking for somewhere to eat lunch. I headed down to Sakura and was immediately seated at a table where lunch was about to get started. What followed was one of the best hibachi meals I have ever had on just about every possible level.
The Hibachi Experience
Hibachi restaurants generally have a pretty fun atmosphere to them. People who eat there are looking for a fun, social experience. Sakura makes that work really well because it is a large restaurant with lots of open space. No matter where you are seated, you can still catch a glimpse of most of the other tables. On my visit, most of the tables were full and everyone was having a great time.
Of course the keystone to the hibachi experience is the showmanship of the chef that is preparing your food right in front of you. The chef at my table was a pro and had no problem breaking out all of the popular hibachi tricks. He cracked and egg with his spatula, built an onion volcano, broke out a train whistle, squirted sake in everyone’s mouth, and had us trying to catch veggies with our mouths.
Sakura Sushi Menu
Before my hibachi lunch got started, I needed to test drive something off of the sushi menu. Like most sushi places, Sakura offers all of the classic rolls you would expect to find, plus a few of their own signature special rolls.
I went with the New York Roll, which contained spicy tuna on the inside, and yellowtail and salmon on top. As you can see, the presentation was spectacular. I like specialty rolls that have a bit of complexity, but aren’t too over the top. This one walked that line perfectly and was absolutely delicious.
The Hibachi Menu
I’m not sure if you can tell by some of my other restaurant articles, but I’m the type of person who likes to try a little bit of everything. I just don’t want to miss out on anything. I’m the guy that gets the ribs and pulled pork combo at PJ’s BBQ, orders each ball with a different sauce at The Ball Joint, and orders three pizzas for two people at Wooley Bully’s.
The best thing about Sakura for me was that their hibachi menu offered a bunch of different combination options. The lunch option I went with was Filet Mignon and Shrimp, but there were also great option with chicken, steak, and scallops. The dinner menu even includes options with lobster, which is right up my alley!
The Vault Room
One of the coolest aspects of the entire restaurant for me was trying to remember what the building looked like back when it was a bank. The people at Sakura helped out with this a bit by leaving the bank vault in place. They actually went an put some tables in there, so you can literally eat in the old bank vault. Very cool touch.
Overall, this was one of the best hibachi experiences I have ever had. The service was outstanding, and the food was even better. Having a restaurant of this caliber this close to home is going to be a great addition to my regular rotation. If you would like more information about Sakura in Monaca, their full menu is available on their website.