Sunday, April 24, 2011

Sabaku Sushi is NO master of Japanese cuisine.

Sabaku Sushi

90 E Center Street
Moab, UT, 84532

(435) 259-4455


When entering this establishment, one will be surprised to find that not one employee is of Japanese ethnicity. The two owners are from Salt Lake City, UT and Colorado who have supposedly worked for, and been trained by, Japanese sushi masters. Where you would most likely expect to see the sushi masters dressed in typical white garb denoting their ability; t-shirts, jeans and baseball caps are more their style.

Upon being seated, the waitress took our drink orders; and the listing of alcoholic beverages available is longer than the sushi menu itself. We opted for tea which was lukewarm and tasteless.

We chose to have salads with our lunch order, and this was a wise choice...if you were a cow and didn't mind chewing your fiber for a long while. The salad consisted of half a bag of spinach leaves with a drizzle of ginger dressing.

From my vantage point, I was able see what was taking place behind the preparation station. Lots and lots of cleaning by the owners, and it concerned us a bit when this continued for the full hour and half we were there. Little plates of plastic covered fish were on a shelf, and were kept moving around during the cleaning process. To say service was slow is an understatement. A third man was attempting to prepare our specialty rolls; he kept referring to the order ticket, looking very confused, and his hands shook while trying to prepare the rolls.

When we received our order, the pieces were cut unevenly, the rice surrounding the filling was thick, and the filling itself was very sparse. If the fish was as fresh as they claim, we couldn't really tell, since there was very little of it.

Questioning the waitress, she would refer to the owners if an answer was not known by her. Now the owners themselves never came over to talk with us, nor introduce themselves; and this was after an hour of being the only diners there. As I stated before, they were quite busy cleaning the preparation area.

Sabaku Sushi crosses a cultural borderline that the owners should never have tried to cross...their passports should be revoked. If you enjoy Japanese cuisine, avoid this place, or get ready for a great disappointment.

Mary Cokenour

Sabaku Sushi on Urbanspoon


  1. Who is this lady? I don't know, but she knows a lot about food, so listen to her!

  2. I awoke this morning after an exotic night of culinary delight at Sabaku Sushi in Moab, Utah. In my enthusiasm I googled Sabaku wanting to share how amazing my experience was and ran across this blog. I question whether we indeed ate at the same place. I have been coming to Moab for over 20 years because of the incredible natural beauty and dynamic community. In my extensive travels around the world I regularly seek out Japanese cuisine and discovering Sabaku was an unexpected surprise that surely was the highlight of my visit. The food, service, ambiance, and chefs were a cool breath of fresh air. Meeting Alex, chef and co-owner, was a remarkable privilege. He courageously combines Southwest flair with traditional Japanese cuisine and that artistic expression delightfully awakened my palette. Though my partner is not a huge sushi fan, Alex enthusiastically embraced the challenge of providing options that fully satisfied her particular palette. Not only do I respect his talent as a chef, but also appreciate the establishments commitment to using locally grown food and resources. Our server Natali was fun, friendly, and knowledgable, helping us pair our sushi with appropriate sake and her knowledge of adventure opportunities in the area was a valuable resource in shaping our itinerary. The atmosphere was warm and inviting, decorated with beautifully diverse art from local artists. If you are ever in Moab, I highly recommend you spend the time to enjoy a culinary adventure at Sabaku.

  3. Dear Anonymous; How can I truly address you if you won't acknowledge a name and it seems so important that you tell me your story?

    I'm happy to hear that Sabaku Sushi has taken my criticisms to heart and that they have improved on their food and service. Good for them.

    Considering I live only 1 hour from Moab and my husband works there, I am there frequently myself; but thank you for the invite all the same. He has, in fact, tried sushi from there twice more himself, and both times he related that while it has improved somewhat from when we had gone there in April 2011, there were still much better places to go. Let me recommend to you, Anonymous, that you try Stonefish Sushi in Cortez, CO and Mikasa Japanese Restaurant in Farmington, NM as they both know what excellent sushi and Japanese food is.

    Thanks for your comment and happy eating.