St. Paul >Food & Dining > Sakura Restaurant & Bar
350 St Peter St Ste 195, St Paul, MN | Directions 5510244.944936 -93.094669
Mon. - Thu. 11:30am - 10:30pm;Fri. - Sat. 11:30am - 11pm;Sun. 12am - 9pm
Neighborhoods: Downtown, Core
My favorite restaurant. anywhere. – Since moving to the Twin Cities four years ago, I have eaten at Sakura seemingly countless times. I love the terrific ambiance, and I can't get enough of the selection of authentic Japanese cuisine. I found their sushi to be of very high quality, and their entrees are fantastic (I'm a huge fan of their tempura dishes). This is an ideal spot for a first date.
I noticed that there are a number of reviews here telling angry stories about the quality of service here. Well, here's my $0.02 on the matter: Of the approximately two dozen times I've eaten at this restaurant, I have had one incredibly subpar server. She was obviously new, and very inattentive. It was very disappointing and somewhat upsetting to my dinner party, considering one of the charms of the place had previously always been the positive service. That being said, are you really going to write off an otherwise outstanding restaurant because you have a 4% chance of having bad service? If so, you are missing out.
New Opinion on Sakura – I ate here once four years ago and I vowed never to come back again. Just having eaten here a month ago has put Sakura back on my list of the best Japanese restaurants in the Twin Cities. The service was excellent; the food was fresh and very tasty. Love the redesign of the restaurant. Will recommend this place to others for sure.
Tempura is Wonderful! – I have now been to Sakura 2 times. The first time I went I ordered a bento box. I got the shrimp tempura and teriyaki steak. Both were delicious and the shrimp were fairly large. This also came w/ tempura veggies which were wonderful as well. The second time I went I had another bento box but this time w/ teriyaki chicken and the shrimp tempura. Again the shrimp was delicious, but the chicken teriyaki was loaded w/ fat. And I would think that would be hard to do w/ chicken considering they are usually fairly fat free. It was like I got the left overs of the chicken and was disgusting. I couldn't eat it, mostly b/c I was grossed out, but also b/c I couldn't chew it! My mom on the other hand ordered only teriyaki chicken (not part of a bento box) and hers was delicious. It was obviously a chicken breast and not a piece of fat was on it. So if you want teriyaki chicken do not order it as part of the bento box. My husband also really likes their sushi although I have never tried it. I am going to next time. And I'm going to stick w/ the shrimp tempura and teriyaki steak!
Service has always been okay, (although a tad slow at times) nothing to rave about, but not nearly as bad as some previous posters have had.
unknown insect in our fire tempura roll – We ordered the sushi deluxe, but we didnt get full so we decided to order more. Our waitress suggested the tempura fire roll special so we ordered it. It did not take too long to make and the presentation of the roll looked delicious and appetizing. As I drank my tea, my husband asked,is that a fly on the roll? So he turned the plate towards me and there was a small insect that appeared to be flapping its wings, but was stuck in the creamy sauce.Since we could not agree what kind insect it was or if it was part of the meal, we pulled the closest server and asked her what she saw and if she saw the insect to confirm that it was not part of the meal. She said "no" and did not give an explanation but grabbed our server to deal with the issue. Our server also confirmed that this unknown insect was not part of the meal.The waitress apologized and replaced the order w/o saying anything further. We felt ignored the rest of the night as we ate our questionable fire roll. A server knocked over a full pitcher of water next to our table and left a puddle on the floor. It took nearly 20 min. for them to clean up the mess. The waitress was kind enough to offer not one but two free scoops of ice cream for the unknown insect incident. After finishing our ice cream we were surprised and wondering why the manager/owner didnt come to apologize and instead the waitress brought our bill, to our surpise there was no discount we were charged for everything. We could have made a scene throughout this time,and tried not to let the incident ruin our night. Before leaving we pulled the owner aside to complain. I told her about the insect in our order, her respnse "I know, I heard". I was appalled and offended. If she knew and heard why didnt she say anything to us.She then added that it was not put there intentionally (have you heard of a restaurant that put insects intentionally).She didnt apologize and didnt seem to care so we left. By far the worst customer service weve EVER experienced!
Avoid at all cost if you are expecting even the lowest semblance of service at a restaurant. – Ridiculous! Even at the most busy restaurant, we often receive the requisite and expect the most standard of service. But, at Sakura, after allowing an entire hour to lapse, and waiting patiently for someone to come over to explain why not a single item of our order had been brought to our table (nor had anyone cleared the towels or detritus that was left), I asked the manager to look into the matter since our waitress had disappeared. A few minutes later our food finally arrived. I wondered if they forgot the order. Our waitress's excuse was that the seaweed salad took a long time to plate. "A whole hour!!" was what I was thinking. Impossible. Japanese restaurants don't make their own seaweed salads. In the states, it is purchased in bulk and plated simply but scooping a heap onto the plate and throwing some inexpensive garnishes.
Our sushi/sashimi was quite good. Therefore, the only service staff tipped by our party was the sushi chefs and bus-boy. No apology or explanation was given by the manager (whom I believe is the owner). I should congratulate her on her abilities to remove herself from any unpleasant dining experience. We would have been satisfied with a more truthful explanation of why we were left seated for over an hour, without anyone explaining the delay; why no dishes were provided when the sushi came out; why the debris was not removed; why the teapot was not refilled; why such a messed occurred over such a simple dinner.
By the way, we are frequent customers to Sakura, but no longer. The sushi is good, but as long as the ingredients are fresh, the combination is correct, and the presentation is decent, you can find the same quality (and exact same rolls/sashimi/sushi/entres) at a number of other Japanese restaurants. Japanese food is no longer a specialty and more along the lines of Italian food.
Very limited sushi and sashimi choices – I liked the layout of the restaurant and the service was very good. I just found the sushi and sashimi menu to be very limited compared to what we are used to in Arizona, believe it or not! We'll try other sushi places before considering coming back this one.
No Good – The service at Sakura was just horrible. I went there with a few friends on a Saturday night at around 8:00 pm.. It took us 45 minutes to get our appetizers, and nearly 2 hours to get our food!!! When I complained (to whom I presume was the owner of the restaurant), she told me it was very busy and this was the best they could do. Not even an apology, so I can only guess that this is how long it usually takes at this restaurant. The food was ok... nothing too extraordinary. If you like good sushi with better service, I suggest a different restaurant (there's one just a few blocks away from Sakura). Plus, parking around Sakura was pretty bad too. Do yourself a favor and go somewhere else.
Favorite Sushi Restaurant – My husband and I try and come here at least once a month for sushi and tempura. We've tried other places but we keep coming back to this one. Other than the fact that the fish is very fresh, their prices are also pretty reasonable. I always get the same thing, the sushi deluxe, and although you can't pick which nigiri comes with your meal, the chefs are good at giving you a nice variety. It also comes with the california roll which is the best california roll I've had so far. Big pieces with a lot of crab filling! I'm not really big on tempura but my husband loves the tempura here because it's so light and crispy and comes with a flavorful sauce.
Worst dining experience – This was by FAR the worst place I've been to in Minnesota! We had a large party and reserved the private dining area on the upper level. The reservation was for 7:30 pm and we were told that the entire area would be clear; however, when we arrived (at 7:40 pm) the entire area was still filled with customers. When we approached one of the owners who we had worked with initially, he first 1) avoided us, 2) lied and said that they cleared the area at 5 pm (but somehow people still managed to be sitting there???), and. 3) walked away when we were expressing our frustrations with the situation. It didn't end there, the gentleman's wife and owner of the restaurant (Mioko) decided to "assist" with the problem. We explained the issues to her: the area was not ready at the time agreed upon, we were charged per head and this was supposed to include beverages but later they lied and said they knew nothing about that, and food was not even ready at 7:30 pm. Instead of accomodating us and apologizing for the inconvenience, the business owner started CRYING!!!!! Yes, in front of our entire group she broke down into tears because she CLEARLY recognized she was in the wrong. Long story short, the owners are incredibly unprofessional and do not know how to deal with customers. THIS IS NOT THE PLACE FOR YOUR NEXT MEALl!!!!!
I've had better sushi at Byerly's... – Not recommened for sushi lovers. The Yaki Tori, Gyoza, and Shrimp tempura were great. The sushi was possibly the worst I've ever had. The fish was not cut properly and too large. Great sushi melts in your mouth and dose not get stuck in your teeth. The service would have to be the worst part of the meal. We never got a spoon for our soup, and could not find our server before our soup was cold. Not to mention the long wait, there was not enough servers for the size of the resturaunt.
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