First Sakura post of 2011 and still nerding out big time. ;)
My frequently visited Izakaya by night, lunch Shokudo by day Sakura. Maybe some of the new lunch offerings had influences from the younger waitresses. Such as the Chicken Doria ($8.50). Was very good and voluminous too.
A base of buttered rice covered in a bechamel sauce with (in this case) chicken, cheese and onions, topped with some bread crumbs and/or parmesan and baked in an oven.
May seem strange how the miso soup complements it perfectly but after some brief research turns out the dish with Italian roots was Japonified and reintroduced by a Swiss head chef Saly Weil at the Hotel Newgrand in Yokohama as back as the 1920's~30's (exact date is not clear).
The Creamy Corn Potage Soup.
Very fresh tasting with also a more rustic character maybe, unstrained and chunky. I thought a bit high for $5 but it was good. Not always available.
For the price the NikuJaga ($5) was more my style. Classic Japanese simmered beef and potatoes. It was also a brief offering but may reappear again.
I may have said this before but I personally prefer Soba over Udon in general, so I had asked for a Tsukimi (full moon viewing) version with egg to change things up. Tempura Udon ($8.50 +? for Egg).
The Tororo Kombu (which I haven't noticed before) was a nice touch and the egg (poached) was a good idea. The broth with some subtle Shiitake flavor I enjoy and can start out light but ends quite nice. The filling for the Onigiri was grilled salmon (marinated in miso) this day. BONUS.
My most recent coverage of Zaru Soba was my rambling about the Venturi Virtues of Slurping Japanese Noodles.
Here the buckwheat noodles are off the shelf but I enjoy the tsuyu dip a lot more than other spots. This day had also asked for some grated Tororo mountain yam. ($8.50 +?).
You can get the Unagi Donburi sealed with egg now, called UnaTama-don ($10).
Not the most attractive looking but quite tasty. You can read more about it here.
The Ginger Pork (しょうが焼き, $8.50) I've had few times before but was more for Ginger-san in Tokyo. Hope you're doing well Ginger-san! A shogayaki picture from San Diego. :)
It was good as usual. Pork slices decently tender and lots of delicious sauce pan drippings which is a must for me.
I almost always get the Hiyayakko ($2.50) cold tofu appetizer.
Quick run through. I like how the one below looks like a bird's nest..
I took all these mostly with my iPhone. Not bad looking eh?
Love the sliced Okra here which is a Sakura thing really.
Shina Soba (old school shoyu ramen, $8) has been on the menu for a while but I found the broth much too bland. Also it doesn't come with any pork Chashu.(??)
That was a double whammy and I'd be sticking to the Sakuramen. I choose my words extra wisely when describing the Sakuramen ($8.50).
It's a surprisingly rich Tonkotsu based ramen, creation of the restaurant. The soup is viscous and genuinely scratch made.
But for me the final execution unfortunately falls short of the soulful broth with lots of potential. Like a bodybuilder with skinny legs maybe. Not the best balanced, but I still enjoy having a Sakuramen now and then. Details here and here.
The donburi version of the Chicken Tempura Teriyaki ($8.50) was slightly less heavy than the plate version.
The first few bites of the tempura chicken is undoubtedly guilty delicious. The dish progressively gets heavier with the very sweet teriyaki glaze. The ground sesame seeds added a nice nutty touch but overall still felt a bit heavy handed. Again I think a Chicken Nanban version could become a hit if ever offered. (And a Mille Feuille Tonkatsu while at it. Nobody does it here!)
The Gratin Croquette sides are now smaller. These mini-sized used to be for the special bento boxes. For $4.50 a bit pricey but admittedly still pretty rich and tasty.
Can't go wrong with the Buri Daikon ($8.50) here though (covered first on my Sakura Oyaji Meal post).
Japanese Yellowtail/Amberjack that has been long simmered along with large cylinders of daikon, flavored with soy sauce, rice wine, mirin, ginger. This day the flavors were extra penetrated and rich tasting.
I don't see the Piri Kara (spicy) Chicken anymore ($8.50). Was similar in execution to a Sweet Sour Pork but in this case with batter-fried chicken and finished off with a thick spicy sauce with a kick of sesame oil.
I asked if the revived Mabo Don was a version 2.0 but as far as the waitresses knew it was the same as last so haven't asked for it yet. Saving a few extra photo sets for the next post.
Btw, it's perfectly normal to pick up your bowl of miso soup and sip straight from. No spoon necessary. A nice steamy sauna facial while you're at it, haha. But the direct smell of bonito, kelp and miso is always quite wonderful. :)
Izakaya Sakura, 3904 Convoy St #121, San Diego, CA 92111
Gyokai Natto-don, Albacore Tuna Tataki, Shrimp Ebiten Roll, California Roll, Spicy Tuna Roll, Spicy Fish Salad, Ika Somen, Special Bento Box - 2, 3, Chicken Tempura Teriyaki Plate, Nabeyaki Udon, Tonkatsu Teishoku, Salmon and Scallop Pasta, Spaghetti Meat Sauce
Sakuramen Ver. 3
Koebi no Kakiage Chazuke, Hiyayakko side
New Years Osechi Bento
Saku-Ramen (Ver. 1 and 2), Karaage Teishoku, Curry Rice, Mix Tempura Lunch Set, Chicken Katsu-don, Curry with Nasu Eggplant, Steamed Chicken Mushidori no Teishoku, & Karaage, Hiyayakko, Crab Kani Cream Korokke sides
Uni to Ikura no Zousui, Kimchi Nabe, Saba Misoni (side), Una-don, Unatororo-don, Oyako-don, Sukiyaki-don, Ten-don, Ebi Shrimp Fry, Ten Zaru Soba, Ten Soba (cold), Natto, Ebi Fry Curry
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