While I've been working on my final post stretch (probably last two) of lunches at Izakaya Sakura I've been bugged by my own hasty reply during a brief conversation with friends. My unprepared response to a casual question of how I felt about the place went something along like "They're alright... I just have a soft spot for them.."
A rather odd answer from a person who (at least at one time) is voluntarily working on an unofficial photo menu for the place.. So I kind of wished I said things differently. But at the same time I knew my long winded official answer would have been inappropriate at that moment. If I did have the time though I probably would've said something like this..
"For the most part I only lunch at Sakura. I think their set lunch meals are pretty good and of good value and relatively consistent. That is, once in a while I've had my share of off days but at the same time I can never say I've had a bad experience there. The kitchen can be on the slow side. The sushi is good but the chef at least for lunch hours is somewhat elusive which can be frustrating. What attracts me most about Sakura is their range of not so common Japanese lunch offerings. While I personally enjoy all this a lot, it may not be something some are looking for when they are in the mood for Japanese. And so I love patronizing Sakura, but when my friends ask me if I know a great Japanese lunch spot in San Diego.. I would recommend here as one but not without some fine print explanation." (You have just read the fine print explanation..)
Whew!! I can totally see the blank stares if I had said that originally, haha. I think I felt compelled to say all this because the last thing I want to see is someone disappointed from either an over expectation or simply the wrong expectation.. So for some that may still be interested in reading on, I've took the time to create more descriptive hyperlinks to all my lunch meal posts here in reverse chronological order. I think I've been spotty in the past with these.
Buri Daikon, Saba no Shioyaki (teishoku), Yasai Itame, Jyaga Tamago, Tensoba, & Sanma no Shioyaki, Mekabu Natto Yamaimo Iri, Saba Misoni, Tonjiru sides
Nagasaki Sara Udon, Nagasaki Champon, Chicken Teriyaki, Yakisoba (w/ egg), & Roll-Kyabetsu, Sanma Nitsuke, Guratan Korokke, Potato Salad sides
Kaki (Oyster) Fry, Chicken Katsu Curry, Chicken Katsu, Plain Omurice, Hayashi Omurice
Uni-don, Chirashi (1 and 2), Ikura-don, Negi Maguro Natto-don, Spicy Nakaochi-don, Tekka-don (+w/tororo)
Liver Nira, Ginger Pork, Garlic Chicken, Saba Amazu Ankake, Hata no Kinoko Ankake, Buri Teri, Steamed Chicken w/ Ponzu, and Tofu Dango, Aji Fry, Saba Shioyaki, Buta Kakuni sides
Hiyashi Chuka, Hiyashi Somen
Nikomi and Wafu Hamburg, Menchi Katsu, Subuta Dango, Mabo-don, & Hiyayakko, Agedashi Dofu, Yasai Kakiage, Karaage sides
Uni Spaghetti, Miso Marinated Broiled Salmon
Wafu Steak, Special Bento Box - 1
Menchi Katsu Sando
Also while I'm at it I might as well mention that these meal experiences I share happens to be from a dude perspective. ;)
Case in point. What The Heck is going on in this pic below of my Buta Shogayaki (ginger pork)..?
Oh No He Di'int...
Oh yes I did..... :)
I unashamedly lifted my lunch plate and drizzled the awesome Shogayaki drippings onto my rice bowl. With a big smile on my face if I may add. It's way too good to waste, and something I'm comfortable doing in the casual atmosphere of this izakaya turned teishoku-ya lunch establishment.
Ginger Pork dish variations I've seen around sometimes are a thin steak like cut of two or three larger slices simmered in the sweet/gingery soy sauce based marinade. Other times (which is the case here) and probably more popular execution is the wafer thin cut that cuddles the nice juicy flavors like a well designed pasta would its sauce.
It's literally a sauteed pork sponge of hunger inducing umami that none of should go to waste. So if you're shy you may be missing out. :)
I end here abruptly but I just heard the rice cooker chime in, so I'm off for some fabulous Uni. Hope you're all having a great weekend!
Izakaya Sakura, 3904 Convoy St #121, San Diego, CA 92111