I am cuckoo for the color pink. Whether it appears naturally in flora or fauna, or is the result of a synthetic man-made product, I'm drawn to pink like a flamingo to shrimp. I'm also crazy about sushi and, as I discovered by omission, seaweed. From the carnation-colored graphics on the online menu, which features the restaurant's inexpensive specials to the coral-shaded seats in the dining room, Sakura Sushi in Eagle might have been made-to-order.
My dinner date, a self-described witch and fellow sushi devotee, is a good friend who often indulges me when I drag her to see a band she's never heard of, attend an amateur poetry reading or split a plate of food that she would never choose for herself. Food like age tofu. She's well acquainted with my quest for an age tofu appetizer worth returning for and though it's not necessarily her favorite dish, she doesn't even think about hexing me when I order it. Sakura's age ($4.50) was passable--a thin, crispy golden coat wrapped around large rectangular logs of tofu--but was missing the addition of a superbly savory dipping sauce or a sprinkling of fish flakes that would have ended my ongoing age search.
I knew before we arrived at Sakura that I would order the Lucky Pink roll ($14.95). It took a wee bit of encouragement to get the witch on board, but knowing my propensity for pink, she acquiesced. She usually orders a restaurant's version of a Mama San roll and I always get a spicy tuna roll so the Lucky Pink was a shift out of our usual sushi zone in a couple of ways.
We also split the Sakura dinner plate entree ($18.95), which included a California roll, five pieces of sushi and shrimp, and vegetable tempura. The sushi pieces were standard fare and included a semi-tough, pink-on-the-edges butterflied shrimp, a tender morsel of yellowtail, a fleshy slice of rosy tuna, a fishy bit of, well, salmon-colored skin-on salmon, and one little surprise: a tube of krab strapped to its rice missile with a strip of seaweed. I begged for the krab piece and again, the witch used her power for good and gave in. I, in turn, let her take her choice of tempura but her sacrifice was greater than mine. The tempura shrimp, of which we each got one, fit in with my evening fish frenzy but the battered vegetables were like bread and salad at a steak buffet. We were there for sushi; I didn't want to muck it up with a slice of potato or carrot.
Though the dinner entree didn't make us want to thank the stars, I was entranced with the vision of the Lucky Pink roll. Its 12 sweet little slices cut in the shape of teardrops and plated like hearts looked like a dish Hello Kitty would kill for. Its spicy tuna, snow crab, avocado and tempura shrimp are all favorites of ours, but pink though it may be, soy paper might be a dealbreaker. As hair-band Cinderella reminded thousands of stonewashed-jean wearing heshers in the '80s, "you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone." I hadn't realized how integral a part seaweed's taste and texture played in my longtime love affair with sushi or how the lack of it might affect the witch's amenable nature. The spicy softness of the tuna and the crunch of the tempura shrimp did their best to take the texture reins, but the flavorless soy paper--though a visual treat--didn't have seaweed's tug or tang, something the witch, as good as she is, will surely remind me of the next time we go out for sushi.
--Amy Atkins sees sushi through a pair of rose-colored glasses.
Boise Weekly sends two reviewers to every restaurant we review. Read what our other reviewer had to say about Sakura Sushi here.