Peg and I have picked up teriyaki for take out several times from Bonsai Teriyaki in Tacoma’s Westgate area of North Pearl. My buddy Jim stopped over to pick me up for our monthly lunch and chat. Jim drives and I choose the restaurant. I had just read Sue Kidd’s review of Saki Sushi & Grill. Saki Sushi & Grill is the old Bonsai Teriyaki, which is just across the parking lot from the Tacoma El Toro Restaurant.
Saki Sushi & Grill is owned and run by the Han family. Jim and I arrived at 11:45 . . . to a restaurant empty of customers, but beaming smiles from the Sushi chef and the one waiter (Tony Han?). Jim and I sat at a two-top and admired the sparse decor. Across the aisle from us were colorful Matisse/Van Gogh-like impressionist prints on a wall resembling Japanese rice-paper sliding panels. I don’t know if they were there before the Han family took over, since Peg and I had never dined in the old restaurant. I’m guessing rice-paper panels may be exactly what they are, because I’m guessing they are paper thin. It was difficult to carry on a normal conversation at times with constant chopping going on in the kitchen, which must be right behind the art. By the time we left, two hours later, there was a constant stream of traffic (mostly at the front counter, so I’m guessing take-out). I never saw more than half the tables with diners at them. If each of the eight tables had people sitting down, it would be crowded.
The Hans have been running the restaurant much as it was when it was Bonsai, but they have made some changes and updates with Han recipes. They are introducing sushi into the mix based on a lack for sushi restaurants in the area. Of course you can get sushi at Safeway, but that would be a last resort. The kicker might be Flying Fish, another Westgate Asian restaurant. SuperPho and Flying fish would be direct competitors. Flying Fish has long existed next door to a Pho restaurant, which only recently changed hands. Flying Fish is moving to another location within Westgate. I love the proliferation of restaurants in the Tacoma and Pierce County area, but especially Westgate which is barely a mile or so from my home. Westgate offers an alternative to what is becoming a pricey Point Ruston, which is only second away from my front door. No view from Westgate, of course.
Jim ordered a teriyaki dish, while I ordered sweet & sour chicken. They were generous portions, but my lunch seemed a little steep at $2 more than a similar dish from just a block away at SuperPho. I do need to remind myself to ask for more sauce at both places next time. My wife Peg and I will return in a month of so and sample their sushi. We both love unagi (eel), so I hope that is one of the new items. We want these friendly people to succeed.