Local Bites: Sushi Dominates the Landscape

Perhaps, long ago, in a land far away, there was a time and place where you could drive a block and not see a sushi restaurant. What a cold, barren, ludicrous place that must have been. I knew that sushi had completely taken over when I saw them popping up in Fresno. Once you’ve penetrated the heartland of California, you know you’ve arrived. So, since there are so many sushi restaurants in the are, I thought it wise to separate out a few as standouts or flops. Feel free to pitch in your own reco’s as well:

Taka’s Sushi
1730 S St, Sacramento
Food *** Ambience*** Service****

I usually hit Taka for lunch, so I don’t normally have the dinner fare there, but the fish is always wonderful and the service is on top of things. The only odd thing is that the head sushi chef resembles 49’s fullback Tom Rathman. I’m not sure if this is offputting or if it adds to the charm. Is this a factor of globalization, or are we still too narrow minded to not trust sushi from a guy named “Buck?”

Tokyo Fro’s
2224 Fair Oaks Blvd, Sacramento
Food**** Ambience** Service****

Fro’s is pretty much my “local,” so I’ll say I’m a little biased. Nevertheless, I love their food. The bbq’d albacore is one of the best things I’ve ever eaten and the nigiri is always presented beautifully. Recent discovery was the pepperfin, nummy. Service is usually perky and buxom but the bar noise is close to deafening. Great for people watching if you like to watch rich old guys trying to impress young Asian girls.

1201 R St, Sacramento
Food* Ambience* Service**

Hitomi is wedged between industrial R St and the Light Rail tracks. The oly time I’ve ever gone, I was give some hamachi that had “turned,” and the interior is reminiscent of the Hanoi Hilton.

7330 Fair Oaks Blvd Ste 10 Carmichael
Food**** Ambience*** Service***

Tonari reminds me more of a corner bar than a sushi joint. It appears to be an owner operated business, the sushi chef standing at his bar, his daughter tending the tables. On my last visit, the Kings were on the TV and the owner was cursing them in Japanese every time they turned the ball over. Who knew I’d get dinner and a show? It’s a cozy, welcoming little place with great food and friendly folks.

New Edokko
1724 Broadway. Sacramento
Food** Ambience** Service**

Serviceable. Try something simple like sashimi or nigiri or noodle bowls. I haven’t talked to anyone who liked any of their rolls.

Aloha Sushi
2791 E. Bidwell St. #700, Folsom
Food*** Ambience*** Service***

The place smells a little fishy, which is always a bad sign, but the food tasted good and the service was attentive. The interior reminds me of an upscale bar. If you don’t live in Folsom, it’s probaly not worth the drive.

Samurai Sushi
12251 Folsom Blvd, Rancho Cordova
Food**** Service** Ambience***

The roll selection is wide and varied and the appetizers are fairly unique. Lots of flatscreens and good looking servers (men and women). I think the owners are working hard to overcome the fact that they’re located in the parking lot of a Days Inn. Add to that the obvious problems they must have by using what can only be a licensed cartoon samurai character as their mascot and you have to be impressed with what they’ve done with the joint.

Sakurabana Japanese Restaurant
1907 Capitol Ave Sacramento
Food** Service** Ambience**

I was not impressed with my one visit to Sakurabana. The droning Japanes music that sounded like it was being played on some kind of banjo/trashcan lid hybrid was deafening and the ambience overall was a little sketchy. Also, are waitress kept getting our orders wrong and then charging us for them. Not recommended.

Notable omissions:
Zen Toro
your favorite sushi place

16 thoughts on “Local Bites: Sushi Dominates the Landscape”

  1. i haven’t actually had much sushi at Hana Tsubaki, but it’s such a nice place. a welcome retreat, if you will, from the loud trashy modern fusion sushi place.


  2. Others to check out include Miyagi in Lyon Village (near Peet’s) — their host, Sam, is among the friendliest in town, and I’ve never experienced anything but wonderful food and service here. Nishiki on 16th (near Hukilau) has a fun vibe, and their grub always satisfies.


  3. P.S. Don’t go to Zen Toro if you have anywhere else to go within a three-hour window, as their service is horribly slow. I’ve been so ticked with the slow service that I can’t even tell you if the food is good or not. If you’re a fan of Mikuni, be sure to check out the Sacramento Asian-Pacific Islander Chamber of Commerce event on May 20th where your price of admission gets you all-you-can-eat sushi and sake. Bookmark this site and check back for more details as the date draws closer: http://www.asiancc.org/events-1.html


  4. Yeah, the service is occasionally slow at zen toro, but I think its worth it. Their varied menu and quality of food makes me rate it as one of the better japanese restaurants in sac. And they’ve been around for a while, not like most of these recent popups trying to feed off of the recent craze.


  5. this gives me a good opportunity to ask if anybody knows what Edokko means by “SUSHI | ROCK | LIFE.”

    i assume rock as in rock n roll. sushi combined with rock n roll for some reason reminds me of “Buckaroo Bonzai,” maybe because it plays up sushi’s 80s connotations.


  6. Their sushi chef smokes rock?

    The only places that I eat sushi in this town are:

    Zen Toro, which is no good if you are in a hurry but worth the wait
    Hana Tsubaki
    Tamaya, which is fairly new

    All of the others, I have been disappointed with at one level or another by high prices, low quality fish or claims of being “rock n’ roll”. Give me a fucking break. Sacramento can’t even get rock n’ roll by itself, and you expect me to believe that you can get it in your futo maki?


  7. Isnt it Zokku that has the saying “Sushi Rock Life”? I think I saw that leaving the downtown plaza garage around j & 4th?


  8. Well, regardless of who has that slogan, I still think its ridiculous. If you have been to Zokku’s, it becomes painfully obvious that there’s too much “Rock” and “life”, and not enough “service” & “quality”.


  9. I think that the price/quality measurement is the most valuable information that a reviewer can give.

    Mikuni has great sushi, but where should I go if I only have $8.50 for lunch. Is the Bel Air sushi any good?

    I spent the summer before last finding the best cheap liquor. It was a lot of work, but worth it in the end.


  10. Just for you, then, I will try to offer a “best bite for under $10” recommendation every week. We’ll see how long I stick with that. My mother always said I wasn’t good with sticktuitiveness.


  11. DMZ,
    The whole sushi, rock, paper, scissors deal makes me think of some kind of unholy hybrid of Bladerunner and Back to the Future II.


  12. Wow, way after the fact, but Komon’s on V and 16th is really good. They have a great $2 sake bomb/karaoke deal on wednesdays, and really cheap, at-the-bar daily sushi specials like the $1.50 tempura california roll. Really good rolls, and great prices.


  13. Follow-up. A little later than planned, but I did get to KAMON last week and had a few bites with the future Mrs. Eats. We were mildly unimpressed. The environment looked like a slapped together set from trading spaces with lots of cheap fabric and dark paint and the stench of temporary fixtures. The food leaned heavily on fried things and mayonnaise sauces rather than fresh fish and vegetables. That, and we were offered no specials whatsoever. Sorry Jess, but this one’s not on my recommended list.


  14. Just had dinner last night with friends at Zen Toro and it was as advertised. The food was fantastic, especially the Tataki Attack roll, but all the food was slow in coming. That worked out perfectly as we had nothing else to do that night. Good job tipsters.


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