Alright…I have a new favorite sushi place. Is that a good way to start a review? I know some of you LOVE to read my bad reviews but I’m sorry/happy (depends on your view, but I’m glad to see new restaurants that “get it”) to say that this is a great place and it’s going straight on my “Eat Here Restaurant Reviews” Check out my Sakana Restaurant Review video below:
333 North 1st Street
Jacksonville Beach, FL. 32250
Location: It’s where the Atlantic used to be. I’ve never been to the Atlantic but everyone tells me that it is the same location.
Food: Let me throw the disclaimer out there: Initially this review was going to be based on a “tasting” (where they invite a few of us bloggers out and serve us up their new menu) but then I went out for an independent review as well and had the same outstanding results. Also, let me throw this out there….standby for a little self promotion…. While in the Navy, I visited Japan often and of course I always ate some of the outstanding sushi they had to offer. So, when it comes to sushi, I take it kind of serious and so does my wife. She is a sushi connoisseur and she gave Sakana Blue Bar two thumbs up as well.
One of the first specialty rolls I got to sample was the Valentine (Menu Description: tempura shrimp and avocado,topped with kiwi, strawberry, sweet chili, and tobikko) for $7. This was immediately one of my favorite rolls EVER. EVER people! If you have seen me, you know I have done a lot of eating (yes, I’m fat and I accept that) so when I say something is the best…rest assured it has been through a rigorous elimination/winning process. Everything was very fresh and surprisingly, the fresh fruit on it, along with the sweet chili were a perfect touch. Usually I don’t care for sweet entrees but this hit the spot. Another specialty roll that I’m a big fan of: Black Widow (Menu Description: tempura soft shell crab, carrot, asparagus, cucumber, and avocado finished with spicy mayo and tobikko) for $11. Again, it was very fresh…as sushi should be. I really liked the combination of soft shell crab and asparagus. I’m a sucker for anything with asparagus in it. Great combination in this case.
Next up was the Tuna Tartar Tacos (Menu Description: seaweed salad, tobikko, crispy wonton shell) for $12. The flavor was awesome and the shell was crispy. The tuna had a great flavor to it, it tasted like it was marinated in something, I will ask next time. I suggest ordering this for an appetizer and everyone grabbing one to try it. Very good, but not a ton to eat. The next two items that I will cover were my favorite, for two different reasons. Edamame Dumplings (Menu Description: creamy edamame filling, white truffle, sweet sake) for $9. If you only can eat one thing, THIS IS IT! During the tasting (there were about 6 of us) you would have thought you were listening to an adult film while everyone was eating this…I have never heard that many ohh’ing and ahh’ing. It was that good. Hands down, one of the best single dishes I have ever eaten in my life. Just ask my wife, I keep going on and on about these to this day and it’s been almost 2 months since I initially had them. The last item I will mention is the Angry Fish (Menu Description: crispy fried whole fish, citrus chili glaze, asparagus-shiitake salad) for $29. While this is pricey, I can promise you it is worth it. Just look at the picture for one, but if the visual doesn’t entice you, you can rest assured that the flavor matches the look. The asparagus shiitake salad is good enough alone but throw in the fish, which comes off in little cubes along it’s side, and it’s a great dish. If you have kids with you and you order this, I know it will be an instant childhood memory and they will love it too. How can you go wrong with that? Taste, visual, and instant memory all in one item? I won’t go over anymore of the food on here but I promise you that I didn’t have anything I didn’t like. That is rare, because if you know me, I can always find fault in something….I’m “that guy”.
Extra Info: The interior of Sakana Blue Bar is one of the best interiors I have seen in Jacksonville. I’m a big fan of contemporary settings and they definitely accomplished that here. This wasn’t thrown together after watching an episode of an HGTV show, they found a decorator that knew what they were doing. The bar (I forgot to get a good picture of it) is really awesome, it’s curved and has a nice blue light coming out from under it. I see some people have complained about the service and I know for a fact they are addressing it, it’s expected with a brand new place. I’m guessing after a little time, they will have all the kinks worked out. The food is there already and that’s half the battle.
- Great sushi
- Lots of options
- Good price point
- 2 inside bars, 1 outside bar (live music and view of the ocean)
- Power couple Kara Keough (from Real Housewives of Orange County) and Kyle Bosworth (from the Jacksonville Jaguars) were spotted there on opening night (I saw her licking her fingers like a commoner, so you know it must be pretty good)
- Parking, but I think that is universal at the beach
- Service is average while the food is outstanding, but those service issues are being addressed.