Finally had a chance to check out Sasa Matsu in Shaker Square (the old Sushi on the Square) the other night for dinner with a friend/former coworker.
If you haven’t heard by now, Sasa Matsu is an Asian izakaya bistro. In Japanese, izakaya means a restaurant and bar (usually more bar than restaurant) that serves tapas-style dishes.
The setup of the restaurant is fairly similar to its predecessor but with new paint, furniture, larger bar area and some other small details that try to set it apart. The décor is a bit minimalist and contemporary but overall, it’s nice.
The menu features a selection of soups and salads, specials, small, medium and large plates – and of course, sushi and sashimi. We ordered the Hawaiian and Fire Island specialty rolls and lobster and shrimp harumaki.
The sushi came out first – beautiful presentation and good size, but not too big that it was difficult to eat. My favorite by far was the Hawaiian, with spicy salmon, tempura crunch and cucumbers topped with tuna and avocado. This was so enjoyable I was tempted to go back the next day for lunch. Very fresh and not too spicy. The Fire Island, on the other hand, was just that – a roll of fire. I normally can’t handle a lot of spice and am still surprised I managed to eat this roll, although it sure made me finish my water and wine (Liberty School cab) in seconds flat. This roll was a California roll with tempura crunch topped with super fresh spicy tuna and scallions. I actually did enjoy it, and thankfully it wasn’t the type of spice that lingers around, but don’t think I’d order it again.
Next up was the harumaki, three thin Japanese-style egg rolls stuffed with lobster and shrimp. This was pretty good, but nothing I’d be in a hurry to order again. I did enjoy it, but the taste didn’t stand out from similar style egg rolls I’ve had at other places, although these were super light and crispy and not at all greasy.
There were definitely several other tapas that caught my eye, but it will be the sushi that will bring me back – and hopefully soon. There was a nice list of about 15 or so specialty rolls and most of them sounded delicious and unique.
At one point I had heard this place was trying to open in Legacy Village. I’m really glad that didn’t work out; it’s a nice addition to Shaker Square.