||The Shops at Lionville Station
475 E. Uwchlan Avenue
Chester Springs, PA 19425
The TREND reviews Sakura
Downingtown Thorndale & Surrounding Areas
Table for Two
The Dining Duo
We are always in search of Japanese restaurants offering high-quality, traditional food, and we were not disappointed with the newly opened. BYO. Sakura, at The Shops at the Shops at Lionville Station.
We must state from the start that Sakura offers much more than sushi including tempura ($15 to $25) and teriyaki ($16 to 26) entrées, noodle dishes ($12 to $17), and a list of rolls ($4 to $13). We quickly recognized a real gem in the head sushi chef, was willing to serve us in true omakase-style, we put ourselves in his hands for the meal.
Something we truly miss in most Japanese restaurants is the tradition of being given a warm, moist washcloth to wash one’s hands before beginning the meal. When our server brought them to us as we were seated at the sushi bar, we knew we would be well-taken-care-of. The dark red walls and wood interior were relaxing, especially since we were one of the few early diners on this Saturday evening.
We chatted about the posted specials and were treated to the chef’s hamachi (yellowtail) ceviché ($11.95). The rich yellowtail still had hints of the citrus marinade, and the matchstick-thin slices of red and yellow peppers served with sprouts and a light vinaigrette were a wonderful opening to the meal.
One of the Dessert Hound’s favorites was on the specials menu — chawan mushi ($5.95), an egg custard filled with shitake mushroom and fish pieces. It was a good rendition, although it had been reheated rather than prepared to order, a minor complaint -
We next had a pristinely fresh platter of sashimi ($25), including saba (mackerel), madai (Japanese red snapper), hamachi and toro (tuna belly), which elicited many. “Mmms” as we savored them.
Hamachi kama ($11), another of our favorites, was also a special. The yellowtail jowls were cooked perfectly and served with a ponzu sauce for dipping the morsels of fish dug from among the bones.
Next was ankimo ($7.95), steamed monkfish liver, which we call “Japanese foie gras,” served with crisp strips of nagaimo (mountain potato) and ponzu sauce — a wonderful combination.
We were joined at the bar by a Japanese- American couple who had traveled from Reading to try the chef’s creations. We chatted with them, and exchanged sake and wine with our toasts to the wonderfully fresh fish. We related our previous courses, and they, likewise, ordered many of the evening’s specials.
We rounded out our feast with kanpachi (young yellowtail), toro, anago (sea eel) and white tuna sushi ($20). We thought that the natto (fermented soybeans)/maguro (tuna)/seaweed hand roll ($6) was our dessert, but, we were each presented with a half-sized, gunkan-style uni sushi ($2), since the chef had only a small amount left of this selection, which is mostly enjoyed by sushi connoisseurs’. -
We left satisfied, but not stuffed —the true hallmark of a traditional Japanese meal.
Overall Rating: 4 1/2 forks (out of 5)
The Dining Duo bases its reviews on unannounced, anonymous visits. Contact the pair with questions or comments, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.