If you’re a fan of raw fish you already know there’s a lot of mediocre sushi out there. I’m not talking about the supermarket variety or the salad counter at the deli. I’m talking about the parade of Japanese restaurants that, equipped with menu cards that picture slender, smiling slices of fish atop rice, believe it automatically qualifies as good sushi.
Since I cobbled up the courage and finally gobbled up my first raw tuna back in 1984 I have never suffered any consequences post-sushi though I have suffered during: Rice that was neither warm nor slightly sticky: more Uncle Ben’s that Uncle Yuji. Or fish that was chewy rather than buttery; thick rather than thin; smelly rather than aromatic. O.K., you get the picture.
So when I entered in Hastings I was thinking I’m committing sushi adultery, given my relationship with Uncle Mike in Dobbs. Ah, professional sacrifices. But Sakura, the former Hastings Pharmacy if I have my geography right, is a darn good place in its own right.
Chef Leo prepared what I usually order when I want to measure a restaurant’s skills: scallops, yellowtail and tuna. They were all delightful. I even stopped playing “Words” on my phone to pay closer attention to what I was eating.
Venturing over to the Special rolls I opted for the Yummy, Yummy, as I no longer look at the ingredients, but, like racehorses, I bet on the charming name. Yummy, Yummy is shrimp tempura and cucumber topped with eel and avocado. It was as advertised: Y2-OK!.
Convinced I was still hungry I hit the Daily Specials and chose the Snowball: chopped spicy salmon and mango wrapped in avocado and topped with coconut. I enjoyed one of two—they’re big—bringing the second one home for my wife Isabel.
Last bit: Sakura means cherry blossom. What did you think: Plastic fish?
Crowd: Sophisticated, hungry fish people
Think About: I didn’t visit during prime time so I don’t know if there’s Friday/Saturday madness
Don’t Miss: Just try something new: it’s eye opening
Bring: A friend; skip the smartphone for an hour
Essentials: Sakura Garden 531 Warburton Hastings 914.478.1978 www.sakurahastings.com