Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Sakura Bana, Ridgewood


Jason Perlow
 Share

Recommended Posts

Sakura Bana Restaurant

43 Franklin Ave, Ridgewood, NJ 07450

(201) 447-6525

Rachel and I had dinner here this evening with an eGer who reccomended this place to us as their absolute favorite local sushi. The reccomendation was right on--Its one of the best sushi experiences we have had in Bergen county so far, and compares favorably with some of the better mid-range sushi restaurants in Manhattan. Its totally Japanese owned with a full Japanese staff, including waitstaff. Real grated wasabi.

gallery_2_2561_20137.jpg

Fresh Uni. It was still moving.

gallery_2_2561_54198.jpg

Fried head-on shrimp appetizer. Excellent.

gallery_2_2561_52162.jpg

Blue Crab Miso Soup. Not too salty, perfect.

gallery_2_2561_46326.jpg

"Peter" Roll.

gallery_2_2561_7706.jpg

Red Trout (left) and Salmon Sashimi (right)

gallery_2_2561_13523.jpg

We didn't order this, I snapped it while it was being prepped

gallery_2_2561_49757.jpg

Dynamite Roll: spicy tuna with tempura inside

gallery_2_2561_32553.jpg

Amaebi, Sweet Shrimp

gallery_2_2561_56687.jpg

Toro, Chutoro, Kanpachi (Amberjack) and Tai (Red Snapper)

gallery_2_2561_18032.jpg

"Service" appetizer, some kind of wonton skin fried with white fish inside, really good

gallery_2_2561_52520.jpg

Baby Octopus

gallery_2_2561_1248.jpg

Artfully presented Tamago (Rachel always orders this at the end)

gallery_2_2561_61007.jpg

Grilled Mirugai (Giant Clam) Skewers

Edited by Jason Perlow (log)

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Liquor license? web site?

"My rule of life prescribed as an absolutely sacred rite smoking cigars and also the drinking of alcohol before, after and if need be during all meals and in the intervals between them." ~Winston Churchill

Morels- God's gift to the unworthy human species

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I grew up in Ridgewood and Sakura bana has been there forever. My oldest son learned about GOOD sushi there. I always wondered why I never saw it mentioned on eG. Besides being fresh, everything is presented so beautifully. Very low key atmosphere. I hope the new place 2 doors down doesn't hurt their business.

Dana

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've been a fan forever...a huge fan. I eat there at least once a week...whenever I need a fix. The place down the street has been open for about two years, when it opened I was worried; no need. Locals in the know stuck with them.

No liquor license.

No website.

There is a liquor store next door that carries plenty of saki, Japanese beer and plenty of chilled white wines for all the BYOB places on Franklin.

The fresh Uni is not always available, but if you ask, you might just score some. You have to ask for the fresh, otherwise you get the standard.

One last thought. No reservations and they are VERY busy on weekends. Very busy. Go early or go late, weeknights they are pretty full by 7 p.m.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Edit note: I edited some of Jason's pic captions, above, and added the address/phone. They don't take reservations, but you could call ahead about the uni.

Truly, one of the best, freshest sushi experiences in or outside of NYC. The part of the uni that moved was the spines on the shell. The chef knocked it with a knife and several spines moved. I'd never had it so fresh (my previous experience with uni was not as pleasant), this tasted like ocean butter, it didn't need any soy or wasabi. Mmm.

They have the usual (or not so usual) overdone fancy rolls, but what is most impressive about Sakura Bana is the "plain" sushi/sashimi. It's just impeccably fresh. I loved the Tai and the Red Trout especially. The sushi chef (Ken-san) asked us if we wanted the Tai with the skin on or off, and we said, "however you would want to serve it." He gave it to us with the skin on, and the richness of the fat/skin was very complementary to the lean flesh. He said Japanese people usually want it with the skin on, while others ask for the skin off, so he was pleased that I liked it with the skin on.

The only negative was the other service was a little slow, i.e. I had to repeated ask to have my water glass refilled, or finished dishes cleared. But the non-sushi bar food part was served promptly (the blue crab miso soup and fried shrimp).

Oh, and I always order some Tamago sashimi at the end of my sushi meal, it's like a bite of dessert to me. Many places disappoint with commercially prepared tamago. This was obviously made in house and was lovely.

Totally worth a drive to Ridgewood, but get there early, as it was crowded the entire time we were there (arrived at 7:10, but our dining companion had already scored us sushi bar seats).

Edited by Rachel Perlow (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Is fresh grated wasabi the norm?

"My rule of life prescribed as an absolutely sacred rite smoking cigars and also the drinking of alcohol before, after and if need be during all meals and in the intervals between them." ~Winston Churchill

Morels- God's gift to the unworthy human species

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Is fresh grated wasabi the norm?

At this restaurant, yes. Not in the rest of Jersey or even for most of the US. Most sushi restaurants except for the very top tier serve the green dyed domestic grated radish paste, which is -not- actual grated wasabi rhizome.

It should also be emphasized again that Sakura Bana is totally Japanese owned and operated -- many Sushi places in NJ are owned by Koreans and Chinese. Not that there is anything wrong with that mind you, but a Japanese-owned and operated sushi restaurant is going to be a much more authentic experience for the most part.

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I grew up in Ridgewood and Sakura bana has been there forever. My oldest son learned about GOOD sushi there.  I always wondered why I never saw it mentioned on eG.  Besides being fresh, everything is presented so beautifully.  Very low key atmosphere.  I hope the new place 2 doors down doesn't hurt their business.

Dana

it can't be stressed enough that this place is very popular and there's almost always a painful wait on popular nights. the place it tiny, so it's not unusual to have to wait on the sidewalk.

the new place (Kumo) is a couple of years old now. they do a great job as well. they're not serving real wasabi, that's for sure. i have to think they get some overflow from Sakura Bana.

the liquor store next to Sakura is convenient, and their prices reflect that fact. try to plan ahead and pick up your booze elsewhere.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Is fresh grated wasabi the norm?

At this restaurant, yes. Not in the rest of Jersey or even for most of the US. Most sushi restaurants except for the very top tier serve the green dyed domestic grated radish paste, which is -not- actual grated wasabi rhizome.

It should also be emphasized again that Sakura Bana is totally Japanese owned and operated -- many Sushi places in NJ are owned by Koreans and Chinese. Not that there is anything wrong with that mind you, but a Japanese-owned and operated sushi restaurant is going to be a much more authentic experience for the most part.

Jason...how's the price of this place???

Leave the gun, take the canoli

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Is fresh grated wasabi the norm?

At this restaurant, yes. Not in the rest of Jersey or even for most of the US. Most sushi restaurants except for the very top tier serve the green dyed domestic grated radish paste, which is -not- actual grated wasabi rhizome.

It should also be emphasized again that Sakura Bana is totally Japanese owned and operated -- many Sushi places in NJ are owned by Koreans and Chinese. Not that there is anything wrong with that mind you, but a Japanese-owned and operated sushi restaurant is going to be a much more authentic experience for the most part.

Yup, it's usually dyed horseradish powder. Glad to see they serve fresh wasabi rhizome. You have to eat it within 10 minutes of grating it or it's flavor is drastically reduced. Thanks for the hot tip. Add me to the crowd for next week.

"My rule of life prescribed as an absolutely sacred rite smoking cigars and also the drinking of alcohol before, after and if need be during all meals and in the intervals between them." ~Winston Churchill

Morels- God's gift to the unworthy human species

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Oh, and I always order some Tamago sashimi at the end of my sushi meal, it's like a bite of dessert to me. Many places disappoint with commercially prepared tamago. This was obviously made in house and was lovely."

Rachel I had heard somewhere that you should order this first to check the skill of the chefs.

tracey

The great thing about barbeque is that when you get hungry 3 hours later....you can lick your fingers

Maxine

Avoid cutting yourself while slicing vegetables by getting someone else to hold them while you chop away.

"It is the government's fault, they've eaten everything."

My Webpage

garden state motorcyle association

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What is tamago sashimi?  Could anyone describe it?  I've never heard of it even though I'm a native Japanese.

By the way, fascinating photos, Jason.

the egg omelet type of thing.

i've also heard/read that you can judge a sushi chef by this. i don't believe that any more than i believe any other generalization. :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What is tamago sashimi?  Could anyone describe it?  I've never heard of it even though I'm a native Japanese.

By the way, fascinating photos, Jason.

the egg omelet type of thing.

i've also heard/read that you can judge a sushi chef by this. i don't believe that any more than i believe any other generalization. :)

Thanks. It's called tamago yaki (fried egg) or simply tamago (egg) in Japanese. Sushi chefs call it gyoku. I didn't know it's called tamago sashimi in your area/country.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think Rachel referred to it as "Tamago Sashimi" because it wasn't over rice and formed into a nigiri sushi, which is usually how it's served in most American sushi restaurants.

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sakura Bana - we eat there once a week. Thurdays are when the fresh uni arrives but limited quantity, I've heard Ken say you can order ahead.

The wasabi and ginger are the best around.

The liquor store is expensive and convenient

There are so many different rolls that you can easily spend $60 put my husband and I get out of there spending $50 together...you just need to be smart about ordering.

Besides the fresh sushi, the dynamite roll in Jason's picture (tuna, hot sauce and tempura chips) are the best in the East coast. We always order one and I can live on it everyday.

Other items you've got to try is the Spicy Ribs and the Miso Cod appetizer

Sit at the bar, because watching Ken when he's busy is an art. He starts to "bop" back in forth as if he's in his own world in a trance almost. He doesn't talk much when it's busy and he's in his groove.

His staff has been with him for over 10 years...all of them, they all bowl together

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sakura Bana Restaurant

43 Franklin Ave, Ridgewood, NJ 07450

(201) 447-6525

gallery_2_2561_20137.jpg

Fresh Uni. It was still moving.

Wow. I think I just got a glimpse of Heaven :laugh:

Spectacular photos , Jason.

It's a bit of a trek, but based on the opinions here, this will definitely be our next sushi outing. I'm blessed (or cursed, when the bill arrives :shock: ) to manage at work a team of sushi lovers, so our business dinners are invariably japanese.

I have one in the group who does not partake - anything on the menu for my less adventurous friend?

------

mark

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wow. I think I just got a glimpse of Heaven  :laugh:

Spectacular photos , Jason.

It's a bit of a trek, but based on the opinions here, this will definitely be our next sushi outing. I'm blessed (or cursed, when the bill arrives  :shock: ) to manage at work a team of sushi lovers, so our business dinners are invariably japanese.

I have one in the group who does not partake - anything on the menu for my less adventurous friend?

------

mark

Yeah, the've got a full range of cooked menu items.

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

I love this place too. The lunch menu is a pretty good deal when compared to other Japanese places. For the quality you get, the lunch price is pretty good. I was amazed how delicious their chirashi sushi is compared other places. The fish quality is great! Don't forget their grilled fish which are scrumptious too like hamachi-kama. Talking about this is making me want to go right now...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We had a sort of mixed bag response to it when we went for the first time for lunch today. I had the Chirashi Sushi and Alan had the Sushi B Special.

Both started with the standard salad although lettuce somewhat nicer than iceberg(romaine) with a nice dressing and miso soup.

Alan thought his sushi was good nothing particularly special compared to Wild Ginger. He's just spoiled!

I really liked the Chirashi! I thought the fish was so fresh and the ginger was wonderful as was the wasabi. The only things that did not thrill me in it were the shrimp and the octopus. The shrimp tasted like it had been frozen or sat out somewhere or something because it just seemed off and it had no real taste. The octopus was tough and, at least to me, barely edible. No offense but I was on the verge of spitting it into my napkin as Alan looked on laughing at me. I managed to keep my decorum and swallow it. I have eaten many asundry things from pigs stomach,ears and the like, but had a time with that piece.

But the rest of the fish was amazing!

We didn't do the tamago which definitely looked interesting but we definitely would like to try that if we go again. Just no octopus! :wacko:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...