I can celebrate now; I've taken the Rites of Passage for the sophisticated cuisine. I've consumed raw fish.
I doubt I'll ever crave sushi like some of my friends, at least when I
accompany them, I won't embarrass myself trying to order something
new wealth of knowledge comes from two sources: my son, Roger Bowman,
and the manager of Sayaka Japanese Restaurant in Colton. While we have
several sushi restaurants in Yucaipa, I selected a larger restaurant
that would offer a large variety of dishes so I could try several. And,
in case I didn't care for any of the selections, I wanted something else
readily available so I wouldn't have to slip out and hit a MacDonalds
Japanese Restaurant was an excellent choice. Located off I-215 South
and Mt Vernon Ave, the outside garden and small fountains hinted at an
enjoyable evening. Once inside, a lighted entryway led to the dining
area of our choice, including regular dining, a full bar with
backlighting, a sushi bar, a banquet room, and even a walkway to a
Minako Hofmann greeted Roger and me and asked our preference for the
evening. As much as I love the tappan-yaki grill tables - teppan is
Japanese for iron plate, and yaki means grilled I preferred one of the
regular dining rooms with a table large enough to sample several
dishes. Our location couldn't have been better: the large sushi bar was
close enough that we could observe the chefs preparing various dishes.
What a treat.
sent two drinks to our table, and since I'm not that familiar with
exotic drinks, I asked Roger. He said one reminded him of a
mango-passionfruit and the other, a pomegranite martini. I tasted both
and loved the slightly sweet, slightly tart and fruity mango.
Roger has been a sushi connoisseur for years and made suggestions to try for
dinner, and Minako, knowing I didn't have a clue about sushi, sent
several dishes to our table.
said the word sushi means vinegared rice, which evolved from a
centuries-old Japanese custom of eating dried fish with rice preserved
in vinegar. Today in its various forms, sushi is considered an art form
as well as a social occasion.
most common forms are the rolls consisting of a fish usually a choice
of tuna, salmon, eel, etc vegetables, and rice rolled in a seaweed
outer layer and sliced. A side of wasabi is also served, a green dab of
whats been called a Japanese horseradish that adds a hot spiciness to
the sushi. It looked a bit like guacomole, only more firm, but Roger
cautioned against trying too large a sample as it's extremely hot. But
unlike other hot sauces, he said, the heat doesn't linger. Instead, it's
a burst of fire and flavor, but then it dissipates. Also included is a
helping of pickled ginger, which most use as a palate cleanser.
California roll is a popular Americanized sushi, Roger said, made with
avocado, rice, crab, and cucumbers, but that evening we tried some other
varieties. We had their Winter Roll made of stuffed cucumber chunks
filled with tuna, carrot, mayo, yellowtail, salmon, seabass, and crab,
all cooked in citrus juices.
two servers, dressed in red kimonos, appeared bearing huge platters
filled with more rolls, each enough for two. One was spicy tuna, which
turned out to be my favorite, topped with avocado and a spicy sauce, and
the other platter held a Las Vegas roll with an outer layer that had
been fried to a crunch. One of the ingredients was diced eel, not my
favorite, but the roll also had cream cheese, avocado wrapped with
seaweed, so I could try it. Green mint sprigs garnished each slice.
he ordered a dish with rice in finger shapes topped with fillets of raw
fish. We had a deep red tuna, salmon, which was orange with white
marbling, and pink yellowtail. He used chopsticks to lift one piece to
show me the rice underneath. After trying chopsticks and dropping
everything I picked up, I went back to my fork. No wonder the Japanese
are slim people.
in seaweed as a side, were smelt eggs and salmon roe. I couldn't
imagine eating what I'd previously considered fish bait, but Roger loved
them and encouraged me to try them. For the texture experience, he
said. I bypassed the red salmon roe and tried a pinch of the smaller
orangy smelt eggs and was pleasantly surprised. They were salty, but
not too much, crunchy, and provided a sudden burst of moisture. Not
dinner, we joined several others at the sushi bar and watched Miguel, a
sushi chef who has been at Sayaka for twenty years, fill orders and was
amazed at how quickly he assembled a roll. Then he shucked some fresh
oysters and dabbed several sauces on them and presented them to a lucky
we left, I felt quite proud of myself and realized I'd totally enjoyed
the experience. Thank goodness Roger had the time to accompany me as I
would've been lost without his guidance. While I doubt I'll ever crave
sushi - for me, cravings are about chocolate - now I can go to a
Japanese restaurant and order just as if I'd been eating sushi all my
life. Sometimes teasing isn't so bad; it got me to finally try raw fish.
Perhaps one day I'll try green tea or tempura ice cream. But not today.
Lunch 5 days, Monday-Friday 11am to 2pm
Dinner 7 days, Sunday-Thursday 5:30pm to 9:30pm
Friday & Saturday, 5:30pm to 10:30pm
Offering traditional Japanese cuisine, combination dinners, tempura, childrens, and more
Prices for sushi range to $15.00
Sayaka Japanese Restaurant
1060 S Mt Vernon Ave, Colton, CA 92324