Sakura Hibachi Grill & Sushi Buffet

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Your Discriminate Diners decided to visit Sakura Buffet this week. The community has eagerly awaited the opening of this new restaurant, located in the Chautauqua Mall in Lakewood near JCPenny’s and Office Max.

The restaurant can be accessed from either their outside entrance or from inside the Mall. On entering, it is important to make your way to the hostess stand in order to be seated. While we had a short ten minute wait for a table, we were immediately impressed with all the work that has been done on the physical setting. The woodwork, lighting, seating areas and buffet line are all attractive. The decorating is tastefully done and the seating comfortable. The dining area is separated into three sections with both booths and tables, with a diner’s choice of seating. The third area can be closed off with what appears to be the option of having a large private space. This overall arrangement helped to lower noise levels, often a challenge in such buffet restaurants. Our party had no problems carrying on a pleasant level of conversation without having to yell to be heard.

While at first glance Sakura appeared to be similar to many other oriental buffet lines, on closer inspection several differences were quickly apparent. The first was a large selection of sushi. On the evening we were there, at least eight different selections were presented in an attractive and enticing way. Each is labeled with easy to read signage to quickly identify the offerings, something consistent throughout the buffet.

The second difference at Sakura is the hibachi grill. For those of you not familiar with this option, the diner is offered a selection of noodles, vegetables, and meats to choose from. After filling your plate with want you want, in a quantity you decide, you present your selections to the chef. He will then use a grill, built into the line, to prepare your selections to your tastes as you watch.

Much of the remaining buffet consists of traditional dishes. Selections include several varieties of chicken, beef, pork and seafood. Each dish we sampled was fresh and flavorful. Some things were very popular on the evening we were there and may have been in short supply our first time through the line, but each was quickly refilled and available in subsequent visits.

It is also important to add that if your family is like mine and has some members who don’t care for oriental food, this buffet also offered a nice selection of traditionally American choices. Sirloin steak, ham, shrimp, and crab legs were all available, along with a very tasty crab salad. Chicken wings, ribs and pork were also on the line at various times. An assortment of vegetables, along with French fries and onion rings, were offered. Please note that this was during the dinner buffet. Lunch time offerings may be different.

A full salad bar along with various fruits was next on the line, followed by the desert area. Pastries, cakes and cookies are accompanied with a nice selection of hard ice cream flavors for you to scoop.

On the evening we were at the restaurant, they appeared to be well staffed with a group of energetic individuals. Those working the buffet line kept selections filled. They could also frequently be seen cleaning the line, to offer patrons an attractive and appetizing presentation. Wait staff in the dining areas were fast and efficient in clearing used dishes and providing beverages, including a selection of Pepsi products. Note that no alcohol is available.

The Sakura Restaurant—we’re giving them a fine Four Forks! Review—is open seven days a week and can be reached at (716)763-0417. To-go containers are also available and offered by the pound.