Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Restaurant Review-Sapporo Haru-September 7, 2007

Sapporo Haru Japanese Restaurant
622 Manhattan Ave.
Mon.-Thurs. 11am-11:30pm, Fri. & Sat. 12:30om, Sun. Noon-11pm

Are you in the mood for sushi? If you live in Greenpoint, you have a plethora of restaurants serving Japanese cuisine from which you can choose. Sapporo Haru, on Manhattan Avenue near Nassau, would make a great choice. Its name literally translates to Springtime in Sapporo, the fifth largest city in Japan, and although their sushi bar serves a wide array of tasty sushi and sashimi, their menu also includes a wide range of Japanese cuisine including soups, salads, noodles, tempura, teriyaki, and hibachi dishes.

On a beautiful summer day like the day my colleague Alice Shin and I went to Sapporo Haru, sitting in the backyard outdoor garden area is delightful. There are several tables in the patio area which are shaded by overhanging trees and awnings. The interior dining area is nice as well. It is an intimate setting with Japanese prints hanging on the wall and paper lanterns from the ceiling. They utilize a clean modern motif with hardwood floors, chairs, and tables. Everything has a glossy finish making the colors in the art and food stand out.

When it came time to order, I took an easy way out. I ordered the Maki Special, two sushi rolls with miso soup. I chose the yellowtail and spicy crunchy salmon roll. Both were delicious. The spicy salmon roll could have been spicier, but I was definitely satisfied. Alice made a far braver selection: the chirashi lunch special which is 12 pieces of raw fish over oshinko rice served with a miso soup appetizer. The twelve pieces of fish consisted of three pieces of mackerel, tuna, salmon and white tuna. The tuna and salmon were great—fatty and tasty, but the mackerel tasted just "ok" almost as if it was partially cooked. According to Alice, it did not taste fresh because it tasted, "a little too salty, a little too oily, and a little too fishy." Japanese pickles were also mixed in with the rice to provide an acidic taste alternative. Our waitress brought over a chilled sliced orange with our check which provided a refreshingly delightful end to the meal.

Sapporo Haru's menu is enormous. There are a multitude of different styles and flavors represented that will cater to any Japanese cuisine enthusiast's tastes. Their menu includes thirty-seven appetizers, fifteen of which are sushi, six soups, and eight salads to start. They have six noodle soups and seven bento boxes, or combination plates. They have fifteen Teriyaki dishes, four Tempura, and four Hibachi. Their sushi menu is extensive as well. They serve thirty-two different sushi rolls and twenty different "Chef's Special" rolls. Their alcoholic beverage menu includes beer, wine, and hot and cold sake. They even have five different options for desert.

We both ordered from the lunch special menu, so our meal only came to approximately twenty dollars before the tip. My sushi and soup cost $7.25 and Alice's Chirashi and soup cost $11.50. You can find cheaper sushi if you are on a tight budget, but you can definitely find more expensive sushi as well. The d├ęcor is nice and the food is tasty. The service was excellent as well. Having been to several of the sushi/Asian fusion restaurants in the neighborhood, I can confidently say Sapporo Haru is one of the best. It is great value for its price, and there are few places around where you can find such a wide array of styles and flavors of Japanese food.

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