Stuff Yourself Stupid at Sakura Garden

Clams, calamari, seaweed and shrimp, oh my!

Sunday night, The Pilot and I decided to take advantage of a Groupon I had purchased for Sakura Garden in Bishop’s Corner in West Hartford. I had only heard tales of this Japanese and sushi buffet, so nothing really prepared me for ALL YOU CAN EAT SUSHI. One needs to go with an appetite, because the prices are not cheap. Thank goodness for the Groupon, which saved us a lot. And, the fact that we only had eggs in the morning, which made for ravenous appetites…have to get your money’s worth!

I was very much impressed by how nice the atmosphere at Sakura was — dark and modern walls and chairs, funky accents and sleek designs. The only thing worthy of our mockery was a light up picture of the Manhattan skyline that included all the sites–the new Towers, Lady Liberty, and the Empire State Building, all garishly superimposed and utterly incorrect in geography and scale. It was tackiness at its best.

Our server, Teddy (a female Teddy, actually), was demure and soft spoken like a good Asian, although she treated us like we had never been to a sushi place before…even telling us what a wet nap was for our hands. But, she was quick and efficient and provided great service as we gorged ourselves.

The buffet was not your usual Asian buffet that’s full of greasy, fried, low cost things (although it had some of your run of the mill crab rangoon, fried shrimp, fried chicken fingers, etc.). There were raw bar items like clams and mussels, various calamari and crab salads, seaweed salad, tofu soups, beef negimaki, salmon dishes, BBQ calamari, and of course, piles and piles of giant crab legs. Those suckers are messy, but delicious. We did some serious damage to those sea creatures.

The elusive white tuna, in tiny tiny pieces (vegetable roll included for scale).

Let’s not forget the sushi. A full menu of your classic items, and some specialty rolls too. We had a spider roll and some eel nigiri to start, and then it just kept going. I’ve been on the hunt for a specific fish that I’ve had on sushi platters and boats and lunchboxes, but could never discover what fish it was. It was a white, buttery smooth, mild, delicious fish. I knew it wasn’t yellowtail, or the dead giveaways like salmon, eel or tuna. This AYCE buffet was my chance to do some real, extensive detective work. I started with some fluke. Then some mackerel. I was disappointed that neither were the buttery fish. Then, I tried white tuna. BINGO! I had found it! It was so delicious that I ordered four pieces of it sashimi style. Now, this might sound piggy, but the one weird thing about this buffet was that the pieces of sashimi were like a quarter of the size of a normal sushi place…so we learned that one must order accordingly.

To top it all off, The Pilot downed a couple pieces of oreo cake and a banana in gelatinous cherry sauce. I had some dry cake–requisite for any buffet. I think we both left there feeling rather ill, as it was a quiet drive home. Three salt shakers for mountains of delicious, good quality food…and the fact that I chugged three glasses of water when I got home from all that salty food.