Tag Archives: sushi bar

Sapporo Unveils its new Look

Sapporo Spruces Up: The Scottsdale Restaurant Unveils Its New Look

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.


Sappor Revamps its Look

Pineapple Martini at Sapporo

The new interior at Sapporo

Delicious Sushi at Sapporo

sushi platter

Sushi Roku Blends Trendy With Traditional For A New Dining Experience

At the heart of the new W Scottsdale, Sushi Roku is taking the dining world by storm. With various locations in the Los Angeles area, as well as one in Las Vegas, this contemporary twist on Japanese cuisine has arrived to make its mark on Arizona territory.

The architecture and decor are a sleek combination of modern design and traditional Japanese accents. The bar area is comprised of concrete and a large, natural tree-root that sits at its base. Dark wood floors, an elliptical sushi bar flanking the dining area, and a dim, candle-lit atmosphere lure you in. No, this is no ordinary sushi place, but rather a total dining experience.

Sushi Roku dishUpon entering the restaurant, staff members enthusiastically greet diners, yelling out “Irasshai!” This warm Japanese welcome was the beginning of the flavorful journey that we were about to embark on. We began the evening with some traditional starters, including edamame, as well as a unique offshoot of the well-known favorite, edamame hummus, served with vegetable wonton chips. The edamame were warm, crisp and salty — just the way I like them. The hummus was also a hit, complemented by the flavor-packed chips. The standout from the appetizers was definitely the Kobe beef skewers. The tender, moist beef was offset by a punch of spice that woke up the taste buds.

Dining in a restaurant with sushi as part of its namesake made our dinner selection a no-brainer. We began with a natural choice for sushi lovers: the oldie but goody, California roll. After sampling a wide array, including caterpillar, softshell crab and salmon sashimi, we were still hungry for more. We decided on the katana roll, and the signature dish was well received; a combination of tuna, yellowtail, spicy tuna and shrimp tempura, it had just the right amount of zest to please. But the pièce de résistance of the sushi selections was the baked lobster roll. Covered in a creamy miso sauce, the roll had a buttery, melt-in-your-mouth taste that was a perfect balance of flavors — not too spicy, not too bland, but just right. Side tempura dishes of eggplant, sweet potato and carrot made eating vegetables a pleasure rather than a chore. Sure they may have been deep fried, but it still counts in my book.

No meal is complete without dessert and to my delight, it didn’t disappoint. Though we enjoyed the frangelico creme brulee, there was a clear winner in my eyes. A chocolate lover at heart, the lava cake was the perfect ending to a satisfying meal.

Sushi Roku can be described as part trendy sushi bar, part elegant dining excursion. All in all, Sushi Roku is a fusion of great tasting Japanese cuisine, sleek design and a hip presentation of meals. As the staff pleasantly says when you leave, “Arigatou!” Thank you! And we will indeed come again.

If you go:
7277 E. Camelback Rd.

Kona Grill opening new location

Kona Grill Opens Third Location In The Valley

By Noelle Coyle and Janet Perez

Despite the sluggish economy, restaurants continue to open or expand in the Valley, and Arizona native Kona Grill is no exception. Originally founded in Scottsdale in 1998, the restaurant has expanded throughout the United States, with locations in Missouri, Nevada, Indiana, Colorado, Connecticut, Michigan, Louisiana, Illinois, Nebraska, Texas and Florida. In June, it came back to its roots with the opening of a new location in Gilbert, and there are more plans for growth on the horizon. The Gilbert location joins two other Kona Grills in the Valley at Scottsdale Fashion Square and Chandler Fashion Center.

The new Gilbert restaurant opened at SanTan Village, one of many recent outdoor lifestyle malls built in the Valley. Kona Grill’s interior includes many of its signature features, including soft lighting, a granite sushi bar and a 2,000-gallon saltwater aquarium filled with exotic fish.

Like its decor, Kona Grill’s menu is an inspired combination of American comfort food and Pacific Rim ingredients.

The appetizers exemplify this philosophy with onion rings served with a pineapple chipotle and spicy mustard sauce; blackened catfish or macadamia nut chicken tacos; calamari with a spicy aioli dipping sauce; and Kahuna Bites, beef sliders seasoned with onions and thyme. I was disappointed to see that one of my favorite Kona Grill appetizers is no longer on the menu, a spicy salmon sashimi paired with sour cream and avocado and wrapped in a flour tortilla that is then flash-fried. Here’s hoping Kona Grill brings that delight back.

Kona GrillThe dinner menu abounds with baby back ribs, pizzas, macadamia nut chicken, lemon grass crusted halibut and sweet chili-glazed salmon. The pizza toppings run the gamut of exotic from regular pepperoni to shitake mushrooms and goat cheese. The macadamia nut chicken might sound simple, but it features a shoyu cream sauce and a pineapple-papaya marmalade.

A special treat is the Big Island Meatloaf. If you’re expecting it to be just like Mom used to make, you’ll be in for a surprise — unless Mom hails from Hawaii. The meatloaf is made with sweet Italian and Andouille sausage with a mushroom ragu. The dish is topped off with white cheddar mashed potatoes and wok-tossed vegetables.

If you’re in the mood for steak, Kona Grill provides with 6 and 10-ounce filets, and a 20-ounce, bone-in rib-eye.

Now for me, the real attraction to Kona Grill is the sushi. I love sushi, but I realize not everyone shares my enthusiasm, so with its full-complement of non-sushi dishes, friends and I can go to Kona Grill and both be happy.

The basic rolls and sashimi are handled well at Kona Grill, but it’s the restaurant’s specialty sushi dishes that are a real delight.

Called Kona Rolls, my favorites are the spider roll, deep fried soft-shell crab with crab mix, avocado and cucumber wrapped in seaweed and soy paper, and topped with a sweet eel sauce; and the Sunshine Roll, spicy salmon with cucumbers wrapped with rice and seaweed, and topped with fresh salmon and thinlysliced lemon. Of the chef’s specials, I’m a fan of the Volcano, a dish made of baked crab, white fish and yamagobo (pickled burdock plant) and topped with motoyaki sauce, sriracha and eel sauce.

The Asian-fusion philosophy doesn’t extend to the dessert menu. The goodies there are strictlyall-American with fudge brownies, apple crisps, banana pudding and even a root beer float. The one exception is the crème brûlée, in which the traditional custard is infused with fresh passion fruit.