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“From the grill side: It's more about the show than the food” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Sake japanese Steak House & Sushi

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Sake japanese Steak House & Sushi
525 Water Street, Santa Cruz, CA 95060
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Ranked #61 of 328 restaurants in Santa Cruz
Cuisines: Sushi, Asian, Japanese
Restaurant details
Senior Contributor
43 reviews 43 reviews
27 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
57 helpful votes 57 helpful votes
“From the grill side: It's more about the show than the food”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 15, 2013

If you have not experienced teppanyaki style cooking, you may find the dinner prep at Sake entertaining. Along with the typical pseudo-juggling of cooking utensils, Sake appears to include two novel grill side antics. Squirting streams of sake into diners' mouths and flipping cut vegetable into diners' mouths were part of each chef's routine.

Regarding the food, you won't leave hungry. The "hibachi" meals included a salad (iceberg with a sliver of tomato), a light mushroom broth, a couple of grilled shrimp appetizers, a simple fried rice, seasoned grilled noodles, grilled vegetables, and the entree of choice. Dinners were served with two sauces, one ginger-based, one mustard-based. The entrees tended to be over-cooked, especially the chicken.

Regarding the service, we were crammed into an area pre-set for three, despite having reservations for five. Stacked bowls and dishes accumulated at times due to lack of table space.
Drink service ebbed and flowed during dinner.

While this was not our first time dining teppanyaki style, it was our first time dining at Sake. As locals to the Santa Cruz area, we were glad to have tried dining at Sake once. However, we will choose other local options for better food quality and better service.

Visited October 2013
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9 reviews from our community

88% Recommend
Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Santa Cruz, California
Top Contributor
60 reviews 60 reviews
25 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 26 cities Reviews in 26 cities
51 helpful votes 51 helpful votes
“Good sushi, but teriyaki needs a bit of work”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 8, 2013

Sake is a restaurant of two personalities: the sushi bar room (where we ate) is somewhat quieter and cozier, and the hibachi room (with grills in the center of the table) was a lot louder. We chose the sushi bar room because we wanted a quieter experience, but I suspect you can get the same food in both places, with the exception (duh) of tableside grilled food.

We ordered as we normally do at Japanese restaurants: bento boxes with teriyaki and the usual salad and miso soup. The boxes come with a choice of spicy tuna roll or California roll - the spicy tuna rolls we got were excellent, with a hint of crunch and good flavor. The tempura that came in the box was good, though we'll need to know next time to ask them to leave out the shrimp (we can't eat shellfish). The big downside was that the teriyaki (both chicken and salmon), while in a tasty sauce, was overdone, and too dry.

Overall, prices were comparable to other places in town, though you get somewhat more food here than at other sushi places, at least for the bento box. Next time, we're going to skip the tempura and go with more sushi rolls and perhaps other dishes like noodle dishes.

  • Visited October 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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