Sakura’s, in Toledo, Ohio, is successful for a number of reasons, and not because of the quality of food. Firstly, it’s the best of just a few Japanese places in the region featuring hibachi, due to hysterical chefs who know when to be tame and when to be perverted with a toy that pisses water. The atmosphere screams exotic and trendy, while the chefs, all Asian, gives a predominantly white clientele a sneak peak at being Asian. Concurrently, twice a week they run a half-off sushi special beginning at 9:30 at night.
I like the conversation I had with a friend about the quality of sushi so far from either ocean. The question is whether any place in Northwest Ohio can get premium fresh fish and stay in business. Fresh fish turns bad quickly. On occasion, however, fresh fish is feasible when running a week long special or in preparation for a busy Friday or Saturday. Popular sellers like tuna or salmon can’t possibly be fresh, fresh anywhere in Toledo. The meat would go bad too often, leading to tremendous waste.
In truth, with all the sushi options in Toledo, who can bank on the ambiguous restaurant market with fresh sushi meat? For the sake of argument, let’s say Nagoya’s in Perrysburg carries nothing but super fresh ingredients, there are still ways to distinguish Sakura’s from such places: we know the sushi at Sakura is not fresh, because they discount their sushi rolls twice a week. Few places can afford to discount their sushi unless it’s going bad, or the mark up suffices a cheap bulk cost.
Knowing that the food is subpar, people, like me, still eat at Sakura’s. It’s trendy. People get dressed up to eat at Sakura’s. Though the food is spit out bad the next day, the rolls sort of taste good in the specific atmosphere this restaurant evokes. Think the nostalgia of a busy market place, samples of free food and random artists doing tricks. And knowing the freshness of this food transcends intimacy.