Last year, Jake and I tried out a new Japanese restaurant. The Japanese restaurant search is quite important in our family. Surprisingly, we have not found very many Japanese joints in the Denver area that we would recommend. I don't remember the name of this place, but it was in Parker and it was not a close drive. The one thing I remember about this place was that we ordered the gyoza (or potstickers). I remember telling Jake, "they should really stop serving these here."
For my birthday today, Jake surprised me. This is a shocker because Jake can't keep a secret. He tells me everything. The last time he surprised me was when he proposed to me--that was a real shocker because I really didn't see it coming. (But that's another story for another blog...) He told me he was going to surprise me with our honeymoon, but he told me where we were going as soon as he had the tickets purchased. Each birthday since we've been married, I believe, has been an intended surprise, but he has told me as soon as the reservations were made each time.
This time, no spilled beans. This never happens. If you look to the right of this posting, you will see a new addition to my favorite restaurants list. Sushi Sasa. (Just so you know, when it comes to Japanese cuisine, if it isn't on my list, you really shouldn't go there. Trust me on this one.) My pet peeve with many East Asian style restaurants is the amount of sugar in everything. All the sauces are teriyaki, the sushi rice could double for a Quaker caramel rice cake, and the salad dressing is really sesame flavored syrup. Also, stay away from any place that claims to be an "Asian" restaurant. Do you know how big Asia is? Pakistan is Asia. India is Asia. The Philippines is Asia. Parts of Russia are considered Asia. Then there's your run-of-the-mill Asia of China, Japan, Korea, and etc. Or here's the real kicker: a Chinese buffet and sushi bar. And it's probably called something like "East Sea Asian Bistro." You should never eat at a place like this. Or, at least, if you do, don't tell me you ate there. Actually, don't tell me you ate there and liked it. I'm tearing my hair out just thinking about it!
I am always pleased to see an absence of the word "teriyaki" on a Japanese menu. Such was the case at Sushi Sasa. I can also report with elation that there was no sugar in the sauces in any of the dishes we ordered. The sushi rice, in Jake's words, "tasted clean." It was wonderful. Here's the rundown of our dinner:
Beef Tataki (rare seared beef): absolutely delicious
Chicken Skewers: ok, I wouldn't order it again, but great for a "beginner"
Monkfish Liver, a.k.a. foi gras of the sea: heavenly--silky, smooth, like butta. We ended up ordering a second serving of this...
"Gourmet" Sushi Plate (variety of sushi): rice flavored just right and fresh wasabi. There was no skimping on quality or quantity here. (also very reasonably priced)
Dessert: even the dessert was remarkable. Beautifully presented and certainly delicious. We had the Chocolate Mousse Cake and the Lemon Cheesecake Mousse.
I highly recommend Sushi Sasa. It's definitely up there with Sushi Den. (Izakaya Den would be up there, too, but the waiter there didn't know what he was talking about (fyi, Tamari is soy sauce), so that place gets lower marks.)