In late September, a new 96-seat Japanese restaurant called Sasaki Sushi & Bar opened across the walkway from Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts near Old Town. The chef is Juan Barbosa, formerly of The Grand Blue, Kona Grill, and Squid Ink. Sasaki is housed in a building formerly home to various restaurants through the years, including Sue Speidel's Orange Table.
The Japanese restaurant's anchors are sushi, poke, and soup.
Soups include miso, ramen, and an udon noodle soup. Riding the poke wave, the restaurant has seven varied bowls that can have sushi rice or lettuce as a base.
Sushi forms the bulk of the menu. Options include your typical maki, nigiri, and sashimi. There will also be two baked rolls and a plethora of fried and specialty rolls.
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For dessert, there's green tea ice cream and — filing in with another, smaller trend — mochi, the cold Japanese sweet of soft, sticky, pliable rice cake encasing ice cream.
The menu doesn't stray too far from that of your typical sushi joint. One exception, though, is that Sasaki will be serving takoyaki. Takoyaki are a hugely popular street (and drunk) food in Japan, spherical fritters containing chopped octopus. Sasaki's takoyaki are topped with seaweed and tempura shards.
Owner Monica Pi has completely renovated the restaurant's interior. Sasaki's design is based on cherry blossoms.
Sasaki Sushi & Bar. 7373 East Scottsdale Mall, #6, Scottsdale; 480-659-9023.
Every day 11 a.m to 10 p.m.