By Frederik Hartmann, photos by Sushi Sakura
On a chilly November evening I enter a restaurant above the Aarhus train terminal. The name is stamped on the door in a pseudo-Japanese font: Sakura. Inside are rows of tables, behind which is a bar where a couple of waitresses are conversing. The place is by no means packed, but as I later discover it has a hidden upstairs area at the other end of a conspicuous staircase.
The room is clean, and a waitress catches my eye as I enter. My glasses start to fog up, and I frantically try to remove my coat and glasses and make my way to the counter all at once, but the waitress apparently does not notice my clumsy hurriedness.
Almost before I can open my mouth, I’ve been led to a vacant table and handed a menu. I’m in the know, however, and while the menu has loads of great things to order, the real delicacy here is only received via a secret passphrase. Having decided on a Kirin Ichiban beer for my drink, I wave over to the waitress. She leans in asking what I’d like, and I slyly whisper back “Facebook”. A perturbed look comes over her face before she gets it and replies, “And to drink?”
Okay, so you’re confused. But it so happens in this day and age that special offers are often put up on social media. Sakura is such an enlightened place. Every month they have a specially selected Facebook menu, offering a half-off deal. In the end this means that you can get a premium sushi dinner for about 100 DKK; a steal really. The downside is that it is a pre-selected menu, and it can’t be ordered for takeaway, but it usually constitutes a good variety of sushi.
The November 2016 menu consisted of 18 pieces of top quality sushi. Personally, I like to eat a bit of each throughout the meal, but with sushi it’s all up to you. The best pieces are usually the pure ones with just fish and rice, which are called nigiri. This menu includes four of these: two with salmon and two with tuna. The fish is sliced incredibly thin, and almost melts in your mouth. When I have sushi I like to soak the rice with soy sauce to create a base for the fish.
Also included is the ‘meat and potatoes’ of sushi: maki rolls. These are tiny towers of seaweed-wrapped rice, filled with fish. The specific type on the menu this month is called California Special, but as I said, maki is usually just there to fill you up, being the most basic kind of sushi there is. Next is what Sakura calls ‘Inside Out’. These are set-on-their-side maki rolls, but inside out. The seaweed is in the inner edge instead, and these generally have much more filling. They are filled with salmon and avocado and topped with a few roasted sesame seeds, which nicely add to the flavour.
The piece de la resistance of the menu is the rainbow four. These are ‘inside outs’ topped with a nigiri-sized piece of fish. The rainbow four today are topped with tuna, salmon and pollock. The colours look great on the plate, and a sense of excitement fills you when you are presented the dish, ready to devour this single unique piece of pollock sushi.
As you can see, they have a pretty wide selection to nibble on. Along with the plate of 18 pieces of sushi (plenty for an adult) comes chopsticks, a bit of wasabi, soy sauce and pickled ginger. In short, everything you need to enjoy sushi fully. And the Sushi is terribly good! The inside out rolls especially, but also the rainbow four, which are topped with three different kinds of fish, constitute a truly gastronomic experience.
Besides just tasting great, there is something calming about eating sushi. Perhaps the chopsticks are part of it, the eating with one hand, but also the fact that it just takes some time. There is no shovelling of food for rapid consumption; no, here you pick a single insulated mouthful of specially prepared food, and then just taste it for a while. It is a thoroughly enjoyable choice of eating-out. Besides, when you take advantage of a Facebook offer like Sakura’s, even I, a poor destitute student, can dine like a king once in a while.
Sushi Sakura can be found at M. P. Bruuns Gade 9, Aarhus C. Tables can be booked via the website or by calling +45 86 17 39 44. For the special Facebook offer, visit Sushi Sakura’s Facebook page. The restaurant also offers a takeaway service.