New restaurant: Sakura Terrace



The menu at Sakura Terrace is literally a binder: two pages that list all the choices, and then six pages of loose flowchart. "If you prefer beef," the menu reads, then try a Yakiniku Don, strip loin, beef tataki, or rib eye. Other starting points in the decision-making tree: "vegetables cooked in traditional Japanese style," ahi, "ahi and something," "standard items prepared in Sakura Terrace way."

Call me inflexible, but I prefer the standard characterizations of appetizers and entrees.

My dining companion, a database developer, defends it. "Really, at the moment you're hungry, referencing a flowchart would be really helpful," he says.

Whatever. I end up at this processing step: "If you cannot decide what to order after all, just order Sakura Chirashi Sushi Don. You will not regret it." Done. Slices of ahi, hamachi and salmon are fresh and the smoked salmon flecked sushi rice beneath is an appreciated deviance from the usual plain sushi rice. Uni isn't of the freshest quality, however; it has a more iodine tang and mushiness than fresh uni should.

The chirashi options—nine of them, including ahi poke, spicy ahi and ikura, and ikura and uni—are probably your best bet. Bowls run from $11.50 for the spicy ahi don to $23 for the ikura and uni.

Whimsical-sounding items such as the uni cup or ikura cup are just free-form sushi in a saimin spoon. The beef in the sirloin steak with ginger sauce is tender, but the most exciting thing on the plate is the fried shreds of potato and the sauce.

If I were craving chirashi, I would come back. The indoor seating and outdoor lanai make for a peaceful and comfortable oasis from busy King Street. Otherwise, however, the food at Sakura Terrace isn't so exceptional that I'd ditch my favorite sushi and Japanese restaurants to become a regular here.

1240 South King St., 591-1181, sakuraterrace.com

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