I am beginning to think it’s the building. It must have some bad karma or juju or something. When it was a Barnes, a relatively popular Savannah staple, the restaurant struggled to survive. A father-son duo bought the building after Barnes closed its doors to convert the place into The Dawg House, a University of Georgia themed sports bar. Unfortunately, The Dawg House didn’t make it through a full football season despite its popularity. The father of the father-son duo tragically passed away and the restaurant could not sustain without him. The doors closed again and the building sat vacant long enough for the Georgia signs to begin to fade and the black shingles to weather a few storms and fall off.
Then, over the summer the building was purchased again. Renovations were done and new signs hung. A hibachi Japanese restaurant would be coming soon! To have a little variety out on the islands excited many of us. After about a month of being open, I received a menu on my doorstep. I drooled over the sushi while the hubby “oooh” and “aahhed” over the hibachi combinations. We made a deal to make a date night out of it as soon as the place had a little time to get established.
About a month ago, we headed out for an early bird dinner for two at Sake. We pulled into the parking lot and questioned if the place was open. The place seemed deserted, especially for six o’clock on a Friday night. The lights were on so we parked and went in. Friendly greeters welcomed us and sat us right away. With the exception of two other tables in the spacious restaurant, we were alone. Immediately someone else’s food passed by; it was loaded down with a fabulous display of sushi surrounding a pile of rice that was dancing with LED lights! My eyes lit up and suddenly I couldn’t wait to order. I kept my eyes peeled for anymore dishes coming out of the kitchen.
I ordered several pieces of tuna and salmon sushi and a spicy tuna roll. The hubby ordered the Hibachi Chicken. We both received “Clear Soup” and a Ginger Salad. Both were very typical of a Japanese steakhouse, but I must say the ginger dressing was quite delicious. Usually I douse my ginger dressing with shrimp sauce. I never even looked up to ask for shrimp sauce! Our entrees came and they were just as exciting as the sushi plate that had passed us by earlier. The hubby had a carrot cut into a butterfly and my sushi was adorned with decorative squirts of shrimp sauce and a flower made from scallions. I was impressed by the presentation. I stopped the hubby before he could even take a bite because I had to get a picture of this – this is the small price you have to pay for marrying a foodie! To our pleasure, the presentation wasn’t everything. The food was fantastic. The tuna and salmon literally melted in my mouth. The Hibachi Chicken was moist and flavorful. It laid on a bed of grilled onions, which the hubby usually steers clear of, but he even ate those! I ordered a few more pieces of sushi and our waitress was quick to deliver. I stopped every few bites to continually ask my hubby the rhetorical question, “Why is this place empty on a Friday night? It’s so good!”
We had to go back. I had to figure out why people weren’t eating here. I had to be missing something. Maybe we had just caught them on a good night. So we ventured out for another Friday night. This time, we went later. We arrived about 8pm. Again, the parking lot was a ghost town. We got a spot right up front and walked in. Again, we were greeted with a smile and quickly seated. This time, we could hear a lot of raucous going on in the hibachi room. There were a few parties going on. That eased my mind. Next, I checked the health rating: a 100! What was I missing? We ordered again. I ordered more sushi, this time a sushi entree which they easily accommodated my request to mix and match two entrees: the Salmon Lovers and the Tuna Lovers. The hubby went for the Steak Hibachi this time. And again, everything was delicious, well presented, and served quickly. The hubby’s steak was cooked to perfection! I had to stop myself from stealing slices of steak with my chopsticks. Both trips cost us about $50 each, and I feel it was well worth it. If I am going to eat sushi, I am okay with paying a little more for high quality. Sushi isn’t something to skimp on, that’s for sure!
So, two trips and I still haven’t figured it out. Savannah, wake up and go try this place out. If you haven’t realized it even exists, you can find it on East Highway 80 in front of the Publix on Whitemarsh Island still donned in the Georgia red and black, but with a bright yellow sign now. They are open daily for dinner and they do lunch Monday through Saturday. If you’re looking to save a buck, try out some of their fantastic lunch specials. I can’t wait to go back. I have ditched my normal go to Japanese restaurants for this one. I hope to see you there helping me fill the place up.
Written by Kristin Davis
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