Menu Moments: What To Eat At Sakura

For over 30 years, Sakura has been a Westport favorite. It’s a go-to place for celebrations, from birthdays and graduations to family reunions. Kids never tire of the hibachi tables, while the tatami rooms in back are great for private dining.

But for many Westporters, Japanese food can still be difficult to figure out. As part of “06880”‘s continuing series on healthy eating, Dietician Heather Bauer offers tips on the best dishes to order at the Post Road landmark.

Hibachi Recommendations

  • Start with onion soup or salad (if you order salad, use ½ dressing)

Entree:

  • Choose shrimp or chicken as your protein, and enjoy the veggies. The oil/sauce entree is cooked in and will count as your carb, so try to skip the rice at this meal. Also, avoid the extra dipping sauces they give you on the side.
  • Alternative: Order the sushi recommendations below at the hibachi table.

Sushi Recommendations

Appetizer (select one):

  • Miso soup (if you are not salt-sensitive)
  • Mixed green salad (with a half-serving of ginger dressing)
  • Edamame (share)
  • Seaweed salad

Entree (choose one):

  • Order your favorite roll Naruto style (wrapped in cucumber instead of rice). I love tuna/avocado, yellowtail/jalapeno or salmon/avocado. You can also order 1 hand roll of your choice (optional request: use cucumber instead of rice).
  • 6-piece maki roll (request to be cut into 8 pieces; this helps slow you down), with 4 pieces of sashimi.
  • 6 pieces of sashimi, and a side order of oshitashi (spinach).
  • Chirashi sushi (comes with 6 pieces of sashimi over steamed rice; eat one-quarter to one-half of the rice; leave the rest over. This is a great option for naturally slower eaters).
  • Chicken or salmon teriyaki, with double steamed veggies (skip the rice, as the sauce counts as your carb here. This is a great option for anyone who does not like sushi).

Things to Avoid

  • Tempura, spider, dynamite, spicy rolls and eel.
  • Dishes described as Agemono or tempura; both are deep-fried.
  • Sushi rolls made with cream cheese and too much avocado.

Additional Notes

  • Look for rolls wrapped in cucumber instead of rice (Naruto style).
  • Order your maki roll (usually 6 pieces) to be cut into 8 pieces; this helps you take smaller bites. Also, ordering rolls inside out adds more rice (better with the seaweed on the outside).
  • If you switch your roll from white to brown rice you add fiber, which makes it more filling. Note: brown and white rice calories are about the same.
  • Edamame usually comes salted; it is soybeans, so this works best for vegetarians or slower eaters who will only have a few pieces. If you are a fast eater and not good at sharing food, don’t start the edamame until there is a quarter or half left (in case you have trouble stopping!).
  • You can also always sub the rice in a hand roll for cucumber or other veggies.
  • Always request lite soy sauce. Add wasabi and ice cubes to help dilute it. No refills!
  • Eating with chopsticks helps slow you down.
  • Be careful with sake. It has more calories than you realize. Six ounces of sake is about 240 calories (there are 150 calories in 6 ounces of wine).

It all looks great. But some options at Sakura are healthier than others.

7 responses to “Menu Moments: What To Eat At Sakura

  1. This is a great list. I’ve been ordering Naruto style sushi rolls recently but didn’t know the name so had to explain on phone what I wanted!

  2. This series cracks me up.

    I admire the idea of going out and eating healthy but my whole goal in going out is to escape and, for that night, eat and drink whatever I want.

  3. Richard Fogel

    I just read a story in the Norwalk Hour about how Matsu Sushi is ignoring a court order from a judge regarding the illegal termination of 2 workers. I would not patronize a restaurant that does not follow labor rules. Many people do not care about labor rules. I also wonder about the help they hire. Are they documented? Undocumented? Do you think our local republican business uses documented labor? Restaurants,Builders, Deli, local markets. painters.,gardeners, golf clubs, nail salons, reflexology, car wash, taxi, cleaning assistants, baby sitters, irrigation company,gas stations,paving. Incredible. I often wonder what what the result would be if undocumented labor disappeared??????..

    • M.D. Philips

      Mr. Fogel, You have been highjacking this blog with your constant, repetitive, provocative, and mostly off topic sanctimonious negative criticism for far too long and far too often. Please give us a break and have a few unexpressed thoughts. Interesting that many of your posts attempt to expose or call out others for activities that pale in comparison to the dishonesty you engaged in for many years when you were a Norwalk Chiropractor defrauding the public, your patients, and insurance companies by documenting false injuries and making money for false treatments and conspiring with others to advance lawsuits and claims against real people who had to pay personally for your avarice. Your activities only stopped when your scheme was uncovered by federal authorities and you were convicted for these crimes and relieved of your professional license as detailed in the local newspaper and WestportNow. In light of your own history and hypocrisy, you should be somewhat hesitant in trying to influence with this vehement condemnation in a public forum without providing full disclosure.

  4. Thanks, Heather Bauer, for a great series. You find delicious choices (no deprivation here) but you highlight the healthier ones. AND thank you for including my favorite entree at Sakura or Matsu Sushi (if they’re still open): sashimi! Anyone who loves the fish in sushi will love the plain slices of fresh, delicious fish that is sashimi. The raw fish is nothing oily or smelly, just a GREAT protein (along with a salad and spinach) for those who are seeking a low-carb meal. And sashimi eliminates the carby rice. Delicious!

  5. I like my sushi with brown rice, healthy and tasty.

  6. Sakura is a gem hidden in plain sight: their food is consistently good, and I think their sushi is just as high quality as anyplace else in Westport, except possibly Pink Sumo. They’ve stayed in business for excellent reasons: they’re managed really well by Robert, who is a perfect gentleman; they have experienced and efficient wait staff like Laura and others who have been there for years and who warmly recognize regular customers; they are super-accommodating of children, picky eaters, and people with dietary restrictions (gluten-free soy sauce is available as well as the low-sodium, and all teriyaki dishes can be served with sauce on the side; salads with dressing on the side); I think they have the best carrot-ginger dressing of any Japanese restaurant I’ve patronized; and while this article frowns upon tempura, theirs is honestly the lightest, most shatter-y, crispy, crackly version I’ve ever eaten. Also, their dessert menu is far longer than most Japanese haunts: while you can get mochi ice cream (highly recommended) and green tea ice cream, they also have a truly decadent chocolate-chocolate-chip cake, a limoncello mascarpone cake, cheesecake, and other suprisingly tasty options.