Sushi & Japanese Near Me: Sakura is a Winner

Sakura Sushi | 3900 Medina Road Suite X | Montrose Center, Akron, OH

Sakura sits near Summit Mall.

How do I say this nicely? My wife Tiffany is a bit of a … well … she’s a bit of a seafood snob. Now, to be fair, it isn’t her fault. She’s lived in major coastal cities—Boston, New York and Los Angeles—for most of her adult life. Those areas have access to fresh seafood right out of the ocean. Here in Ohio, not so much.

One restaurant she frequently mentions is Nobu. Renowned in Malibu and Manhattan (among other major cities), Nobu is a high-end, chic restaurant known for its award-winning sushi, Japanese entrées and celebrity sightings.

Tiffany was craving seafood last weekend. After turning down my offer of frozen scallops from Aldi (her loss), she recommended we hit up Sakura in Fairlawn (Montrose to be exact). Heck, I’d never been there before, so I happily obliged. Side note: Can someone explain to me the difference between Fairlawn and Montrose? Is Montrose a part of Fairlawn? Is it its own entity? Is it a part of Akron?

A shot of the interior

Located on Route 18 and Cleveland-Massillon Road near Summit Mall, Sakura is known for its sushi and traditional Japanese cuisine. They offer beer, wine, tea, sake and soft drinks. The menu features sushi bar entrées, udon (noodles), maki rolls, nigiri and sashimi.

There’s the sushi bar.

We ordered two appetizers—crab and cheese wontons and vegetable gyoza (steamed dumplings). Presented beautifully, both items impressed us. The wontons were sizeable and overflowing with bubbling cheese, pairing perfectly with an included sweet dipping sauce. The gyoza employed tasty veggies, an effective pan sear, good crunch and a delightful ginger soy sauce accompaniment.

The appetizers were tremendous.

As for our entrées … delicious. My California crush roll included a warm and crunchy shell, genuine ingredients (crabmeat, avocado and cucumber) and a pleasing house white sauce. Tiffany’s tuna roll was fresh and flavorful, complemented effectively by crispy nori (seaweed).

The rolls were tremendous, too.

Sakura does little things well, adding to its authenticity. Prior to eating sushi, diners are provided small hot towels, called oshiboris. After meals, guests are given oranges to cleanse their palates.

The service at Sakura during our visit was excellent. I liked the atmosphere, too. It was classy while still maintaining an informal, casual feel. Prices were reasonable, as our bill was under $30. And they have happy hour!

That’s a good looking happy hour.

Sure, Sakura isn’t Nobu. The food didn’t go straight from the ocean to our plates. I didn’t spot any celebrities, either, though I may have seen my mailman. (I’m not sure.) Nevertheless, for Japanese food and sushi in Northeast Ohio, this is near the top of my list. Do yourself a favor and check it out. Heck, Tiffany and I may be there tonight for Valentine’s Day. Cheers!

Coming next week and beyond: A recap of Cleveland Dessert festival, more restaurant reviews, Tap Pack at Playhouse Square, a Dillards’ clearance sale and interviews with interesting people from the area.

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