Score ☆☆☆☆ 4/5 stars
Once again, the moms of greenville steered me to a restaurant we had never tried. Apparently, Sakura is one of those hidden gems you do not know about unless you are told by a local. We had some shopping to do so we decided to go to lunch in between our shopping trips. I plugged it into my GPS on my phone and found that it is pretty much on the corner of greenville blvd and memorial drive. We were there in a few minutes.
The outside looks a little rundown, but most hidden gems are like that. We went inside to find more seating than we expected. It looked very clean and there were very decorative asian placemats placed at each setting on the wood tables. We looked around and did not see any high chairs and thought oh great. Immediately, we were greeted by a woman who asked if we were dining in. We sat down and thankfully she appeared from the back with a wooden highchair. That was a relief in itself. She immediately got our waters and waited for us to browse the menu.
Upon glancing at the menu, I was pleased as I am a hibachi type girl while my husband likes more chinese inspired dishes. Sakura had dishes for both of our tastes. I proceeded to order the lunch special hibachi chicken and shrimp. I like that they still offer the lunch special on a Saturday rather than it being a Monday thru Friday only restriction. My husband got his typical chinese dish- general tsos chicken. She explained that he could choose how spicy he wanted the dish to be. She said since it is Asian it can get very spicy. He stated that he likes spicy but he does not like spice to overpower flavor. She told him to go with a 2 on her spicy meter. He obliged and we waited on our food.
My food came out first and she brought a bowl and a spoon, presumably for my daughter to share with me, which was a sweet and thoughtful thing to do. My husband grabbed some chicken and rice for our daughter and I began to eat. The first thing I noticed was the sauce on the fried rice. It was likely a soy based sauce and mmm was it tasty. Such a nice alternative to the typical dried out fried rice. The shrimp was my first bite of meat. The shrimp was on the smaller side but appeared to be deveined which is a must for me. It was well cooked and tasty. The chicken upon first taste was pretty dry. At first, I did not care for it. Later on in the meal, i realized i preferred it over the typical slimy “chicken” i find at other asian restaurants around town because I do not question if I am actually eating chicken. This was white meat chicken and when eaten with the vegetables and rice was quite tasty. The vegetables consisted of mushrooms, onions, zuchinni and broccoli. I do not care for onions or mushrooms- yes, i am a picky eater! The zuchinni and broccoli were the perfect texture though, not too soft or too hard. Overall, i enjoyed my dish and could not find much of anything to complain about.
As for my husband, he is much more difficult to impress. His general tso’s chicken came out about 2 minutes after my food and looked amazing. I could tell there were generous chunks of pineapples on top and a generous portion of plain white rice. I was a bit jealous at how good his food looked but I reminded myself that I do not like spicy food and he ordered spicy. His first reaction was that the sauce was not the typical general tso’s sauce but it was not bad. I then asked him about the spice levels. He replied that it was not spicy at all. Meanwhile, the nice woman came to check on us. She asked how the spice was and he explained not spicy. She said 4 is the highest spice level but for 3 and 4 they use different chilis, so next time he should try a 3. My husband went to feed me a pineapple, i was concerned about the spice but he assured me it is not spicy at all. The pineapple was tasty but my tongue started burning! Ouch! After all, i am the girl who thinks too much black pepper is spicy! We decided 2 is spicy for whimps like me.
While finishing our food, our almost 11 month old daughter became very talkative and started shouting baby talk words. The nice woman was playing with her from across the restaurant. It was nice to see someone engage a hyped up child rather than seem annoyed as 2 of the customers did. We both ate most of the food off of our plates.
We proceeded to the front to pay the bill. My lunch special was $7.99 while my husband’s general tso’s was $10.99 for a total of $20 something before tip. We were sent off with cheerful and sweet fairwell wishes. In the car, i said i did enjoy it. I was pleased. I waited for a response from my hard to please husband. He said it was not bad again. So i asked if that meant it was not good. He said no, it was good but not better than his favorite chinese place. I would pay lots of money to put his chinese places out of business, ha! Nothing will ever compare in his mind! Out of 5 stars, he would put it somewhere on the 3 scale. Which from a super critical food lover, is relatively high hence the 4 star rating between the 2 of us
I would definitely go back and I recommend that others try it if you have never been. A clean atmosphere, real ingredients and good flavors, Sakura is a restaurant that can please any palate. Thanks again to the moms of Greenville for introducing me to a new spot!