Review by Food Writer, Joe Colanero
of Gloucester Times
and Japanese dishes are just the beginning at Sakana Oriental
the name, Sakana Oriental, you have something is different.
The site, a ping pong of earlier Asian restaurants north of
the Southwood Shopping Center on Route 45, now sports an Asian
restaurant. Sakana (Japanese for fish) aims to anchor there
in West Deptford by managing its teams of chefs to stir up
its best representations of Chinese menu. Stacked with booths
and linen coverings, Sakana arrives to invite us to fine dinning.
pleasantly tuxed waitress Amy Wu offers you a menu, notice
that its handsome Oriental artwork unfolds to dishes intended
to tempt you, and they do. The selections, pictures range
from the everyone-likes Lemon Chicken ($10.95) to the succulent
Steamed Whole Fish ($14.95) presented from head to tail on
the plate for the more sophisticated diner.
the sushi bar out of corner of your eye, the menu lists choices
of sushi and sashimi, which is sliced raw fish served with
wasabi, ginger root and soy sauce.
sushi bar, Howard Tze, creates an impressive array of deftly
prepared appetizers. Having been trained for nearly eight
years at Lai Lai Restaurant in Pennsylvania, Tze showed us
his hand at Dragon Roll, one of the most popular customer
items. Slices of raw eel and caviar draped sushi rice roll
livened with eyes, ears and tail, served enticingly on Japanese
co-owner, revealed his Oriental approach to food when he explained
how one should appreciate the full potential of a Dragon Roll.
Closing his eyes and gesturing with his hands, he said, “Mix
the wasabi and soy sauce in the dipping dish as you wish,
and with the chopsticks, take a potion of the Dragon Roll,
place it in your mouth, pause for a moment and feel its texture
before you even consider its bright, alive flavor impact.”
Seems contrary to downing a raw Delaware Bay oyster, doesn’t
react to that description of sushi savvy that’s best
reserved for someone else, Paul Ching hasn’t forgotten
you, either. He has placed on the menu a soon to be anointed
as an adopted American dish, General Tso’s Chicken ($10.95).
“The secret to making it the best is to apply the exact
amount of coating and control the heat during cooking,”
Ching told me.
who himself has sharpened many a knife in Hong Kong, and his
team demonstrate their extensive training background that
verily supports their array of other Asian offerings. Chef
Andy Chen worked his way to Sakana by way of Fugi in Cinnaminson,
the Lotus Inn in West Chester and the highly rated Elena Wu’s
Restaurant in Voorhees. Here, Chen worked to place a number
of Japanese items on their menu, his favorite being Sesame
Crusted Ahi Tuna ($14.95). In deference to the American palate,
he prepares his Chicken Teriyaki ($12.95) with white breast
the menu elsewhere, you will discover a shoe size for all:
a Malaysian Curry Chicken dish ($8.25) and Thai Shrimp ($11.95).
Chen and his Partner, Chef Mike Huang, wisely admit to widening
their dessert choices to including American, French and Italian
classics. I think I deserve more than a few points for discipline
in declining a sample of Tiramisu made with lady fingers soaked
with coffee liqueur, mascarpone mousse, chocolate genosie
and Grand Marnier ($4.95).
Sakana to its fullest, call ahead to reserve their large,
round table with a lazy Susan in the center in their banquet
room. Bring your family and friends to delighting sampling
all the goodies while the lazy Susan stops with yet another
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