Fish Out of Water

Musings and observations about life from an East Coast native now living on the Left Coast in the California State Capitol since 2004. This fish has made her home in Madison, WI (7 years); Portland, OR (2 years); Las Vegas, NV (7 months); Middlebury, VT (3 summers); Marne-la-Vallee, a small town east of Paris, France (6 months); Middletown, CT (3 years); and Marshfield, MA, the fish's coastal hometown 40 miles south of Boston (17 years).

Location: Sacramento, California, United States


Restaurant Review: Sapporo Grill (thumbs up)

Sapporo Grill (Wednesday 1/25 @ 7pm)
4 stars = will return

The restaurant was unusually busy for a Wednesday evening, and we had to wait about 10 minutes for a table. We asked about sitting at the sushi bar instead, since that can often be less of a wait and it appeared as though several spots were available, but the hostess told us that there were too many large parties and reservations. I wondered about this, as I didn't know it was possible to reserve at the sushi bar, and when I asked for clarification, the hostess revealed that the underlying issue was that the server assigned to the sushi bar was also responsible for several large parties with reservations at other tables. I can definitely understand this challenge, but if large groups reserve in advance, shouldn't the manager assure that appropriate staffing levels are in place to handle all of the patrons?

Once we were seated, we perused the menu and noted some changes to the offerings (see details below under Menu Options). A server passing by noticed that we looked ready to order and didn't yet have any drinks, and she asked if we'd been helped yet. Unfortunately, the answer was no, but she assured us that she'd send our server over right away. This was an unusual experience at Sapporo, as we've been to the restaurant many times and have never before had any delay in service.

Our server, Diana, soon arrived to take our drink orders, and for the rest of the evening, she was sufficiently attentive. Her friendliness did seem a little forced at times, however, which made the interactions feel a bit less-than-genuine. So the visit was a little disappointing in the service aspect.

Food Quality
We ordered yasai grilled vegetables to share as a starter and were very pleased with the skewer of fresh veges in a light soy glaze - artichokes, mushrooms, zucchini. The request for no onions was definitely honored! Mr. E ordered 3 sushi rolls (I don't remember all of the names), and I ordered my favorite M2, which is one of the vege rolls and includes mango, mushroom, steamed asparagus, and avocado rolled in a soy wrapper. Yum! No problems with my requests for no sauce and no scallions, and Sapporo definitely rates highly every time on the fresh quality of the food and the easy accommodation of special requests.

Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday are a great value for sushi rolls thanks to the "buy one, get one for $1" promotion. Our entire meal of 4 rolls, 1 starter, 1 cocktail, and 1 beer was $56, including tip. Considering that the regular roll prices range from $9-$14, taking advantage of this promotion is a great value!

Menu Options
One of our favorite starters in the past was the yaki ramen, but that item no longer appears on the menu. Likewise, my favorite wine (Pacific Rim Riesling) has also disappeared from the menu, which is very disappointing as the only remaining Riesling is not nearly as tasty for my palate. Other than that, however, Sapporo has a very broad set of offerings on the menu, from starters to rolls to sashimi to full-scale entrees, so it's never a problem to find something to enjoy. Also, as mentioned earlier, the kitchen never has any objection to making modifications to accommodate food allergies or restrictions, which is great for me.