Sapporo’s remodel reveal soiree was one for the books. Complete with sake tasting, teppanyaki demonstrations and loud music, parent company Tavistock Restaurants celebrated the remodel of the Scottsdale establishment.
Sapporo’s exterior remains the same with the distinctive torches; flames shooting into the desert sky. However, the interior has been remodeled to reflect iconic Pacific Rim elements.
Two large imitation sake barrels, adorned with Japanese characters and flowers, set the fun, lighthearted mood. While the sake barrels flank the sushi bar, a red torii gate rises above the stairs leading to the sushi bar. The torii gates are a traditional element of Japanese Shinto shrines. Chris Smith of CMS Architecture and Design was in charge of the redesign.
Bryan Lockwood of Tavistock spoke of revamping Sapporo’s atmosphere as well. The inspiration for the new feel came from the balance of yin and yang, Lockwood said. The new owners wanted Sapporo to feel like the hip place to be, but also like a neighborhood bar, he added.
A new look and a new feel go hand-in-hand with new dishes and drinks. Sapporo has a new lunch menu, and a few new dinner dishes, including ahi tuna sliders and a Scottsdale roll at the sushi bar.
On this night we sampled some of Sapporo’s traditional fare, including a spicy tuna roll and fried rice, but we also encountered a few unconventional but memorable dishes. With attentive waiters circulating delicious-looking appetizers, my companions and I decided to sample everything presented to us.
The lamb chop appetizer topped with Thai basil curry coconut glaze was a delicious combination of savory and sweet. I’m grateful the restaurant was serving a miniature version of the Kobe burger, or else I would have eaten the whole thing, and had no room for the other appetizers.
The surprise delight of the evening was the Prince Edward mussels appetizer served with Thai coconut sauce and grilled sweet chili bread. The unpretentious flavors and unexpected combination of sweet bread and mussels was one of my favorite bites.
As a tuna lover, I was very excited to see the Poki appetizer coming around. Poki is ahi tuna and sesame chili on a crispy wonton. The crunch of the wonton and the soft, buttery texture of the tuna was a delicious combination.
Sapporo’s fried rice is a treat. We had it served with chicken and steak, and shrimp and scallops. Either combination is great when paired with the light but flavorful fried rice. As my companions and I were sampling the delicious rice, the tray of sangria came around and I couldn’t resist. Although not traditionally a Japanese or even Asian drink, this sangria packed a fruity punch and would be a refreshing break after a day of hard work.
We had to make a stop at the sushi bar and sample the spicy tuna roll. Although I found it a bit spicy, my spice-loving companion gave it her seal of approval.
Our final stop of the night was the dessert table. If Sapporo’s crème brulée cheesecake is as good as the chocolate covered cheesecake pops they served at their fête, it is a must have.
By the end of the night Sapporo was jam packed with people talking, laughing, drinking and eating, all feeding their energy into a vibrant atmosphere. It felt like the coolest place to be, and I was glad to be part of the party.