3 Fleur
Average check per person $25-$35
BreakfastNo Breakfast SundayNo Breakfast MondayNo Breakfast TuesdayNo Breakfast WednesdayNo Breakfast ThursdayNo Breakfast FridayNo Breakfast Saturday
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DinnerDinner SundayNo Dinner MondayDinner TuesdayDinner WednesdayDinner ThursdayDinner FridayDinner Saturday

Sake Cafe

Uptown 1: Garden District & Environs: 2830 Magazine. 504-894-0033. Map.
Casual
AE DC DS MC V
Website

WHY IT’S NOTEWORTHY
The most physically striking Japanese restaurant in town, the Sake Cafe on Magazine Street shares its origins with the other Sake Cafes, but is now a separate business and incomparably better. Its kitchen has a much greater variety of food not only than the other Sake Cafes, but also than just about any other Japanese restaurant here. Its selection is strong both at the sushi bar and in its kitchen, and its presentations are lovely. Here also is a first-class bar and wine operation. And a parking lot–a rarity in that restaurant-jammed stretch of Magazine.

WHAT’S GOOD
The sushi bar claims to be able to make anything for which it has the raw materials. It has plenty of them to work with, including rare, expensive food items. Textures, temperatures, freshness, and presentation know only a few peers locally. On the cooked side, they bring more excitement than usual to dishes like teriyaki (which always comes to the table sizzling) and noodle dishes. It’s the kind of restaurant to which sushi fanatics can take less-adventuresome friends, and have everybody equally happy.

BACKSTORY
Sake Cafe II (its official name) is a spinoff of the original Sake Cafe in Metairie, opening in 2003 in an expansive building that once housed a K&B Drug Store (hence the parking lot). Uptown had few sushi bars at the time, and it caught on quickly. After the hurricane, Magazine Street was a magnet for diners, because few of the restaurants were flooded. The Sake Cafe was in particularly good shape.

DINING ROOM
Modern in style but decorated with enough sleek, shiny Japanese wall displays, Sake Cafe is spacious even when packed. The sushi bar has an unusually engaging staff of chefs, who will make an impression right away by serving a marvelous little amuse-bouche–the first New Orleans sushi place to do that. The staff is almost infamous for aloofness, but I haven’t found that to be the case.

ESSENTIAL DISHES
Selected Special Rolls
»Rocky III (spicy tuna, avocado, masago, soybean sheet)
»Tiger Roll (Tuna & salmon inside, tuna, salmon & eel on top, masago, eel sauce)
»Uptown Roll (spicy scallops, chopped tuna, salmon, yellowtail, tobiko)
»Spider Web (fried soft shell crab, avocado, cucumber, spicy tuna, wasabi tobiko)
Starters
Pan seared sea scallop, mushrooms, wasabi pepper sauce
Edamame
»Beef negimaki (rib eye beef rolled with scallions)
»Rock shrimp tempura
»Gyoza (pork dumplings)
»Goat cheese gyoza, lemongrass-cheese sauce
Grilled yellowtail neck, ponzu sauce
Shumai (shrimp dumplings)
Crawfish spring roll
Wok fried calamari
Kobe beef carpaccio
Shrimp tempura
Baked New Zealand mussels
Baked salmon & snow crab
»Screamer oysters (spicy)
Escargots in shiitake mushroom, parsley, garlic, goat cheese, butter
Sushi Bar Starters
»Seared tuna & avocado
TNT (chopped yellowtail & tuna, black tobiko, wasabi tobiko, quail egg)
Thinly sliced torched tuna and cucumber
»Sashimi
»Tuna tataki
Pepper tuna
»Caribbean style ceviche
Japanese baby mackerel
Yellowtail & jalapeno salsa
Soups
Osumashi (chicken broth, noodles, mushrooms)
Miso soup
»Gyoza soup (clear soup, pork dumplings)
Seafood soup, vegetables
Chicken, shitake mushroom in spicy basil chicken broth
Nabeyaki udon noodle soup, chicken, egg, vegetables, fish cake, shrimp tempura
Salads
Garden salad, ginger dressing
Bean sprout salad, crabstick
»Cucumber salad, ponzu
Sashimi salad
»Seaweed salad
Squid salad
Snow crab salad
Warm mushroom salad
Entrees
Chicken, beef or salmon teriyaki
Chicken, shrimp or crabmeat tempura
Pineapple fried rice, chicken or shrimp
Pad thai, chicken or shrimp
Mango fried rice, chicken or shrimp
Ginger shitake soba noodles, ginger & shiitake
Kuruma shrimp stuffed with snow crab
»Wok seared ginger duck, vegetables, soy ginger glaze
»Akita snapper (breaded, deep fried, chili lime-miso sauce)
Tilapia thai style, green curry sauce
Love boat for two (assorted sushi)
Raw Bar
Raw Pacific top neck clam, spicy tropical salsa
»Raw Japanese Kumamoto oysters
Ocean trout sashimi appetizer
»Abalone (live) sashimi
Alaskan king crab
Pacific dungeness crab
»Mediterranean black mussels, spicy samba sauce
Desserts
»Cheese cake tempura, strawberry topping
Apple banana spring roll, chocolate syrup, vanilla ice-cream
Banana tempura
Ice cream tempura
Ice cream (green tea, red bean or vanilla)

FOR BEST RESULTS
Ask as many questions of the sushi chef as you can. They won’t tell you about all they really have otherwise. The mackerel is especially fine, and served in two courses: sashimi, then the rest of the fish fried.

OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVEMENT
The hostesses could go a little farther in making new arrivals feel at home.

FACTORS OTHER THAN FOOD
Up to three points, positive or negative, for these characteristics. Absence of points denotes average performance in the matter.

  • Dining Environment +2
  • Consistency +1
  • Service+1
  • Value +1
  • Attitude
  • Wine & Bar +2
  • Hipness
  • Local Color +1

 

SPECIAL ATTRIBUTES

  • Romantic
  • Good for business meetings
  • 8-25
  • Open all afternoon
  • Quick, good meal
  • Good for children
  • Easy, nearby parking

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