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

Ocean Pearl Chinese Restaurant new to Cortez, Colorado

Ocean Pearl Chinese Restaurant
300 E Main Street (Rte 160)
Cortez, CO, 81321

(970) 565-3888
Fax: (970) 565-4888

Website: N/A

This month a new Chinese restaurant opened up in Cortez, CO, making this the third such place in the area. As lovers of Chinese cuisine, we just had to try out the new place, and while disappointed in some aspects; we enjoyed others and are willing to try it out again.

Don't let the outside of the restaurant fool you; it's much prettier inside.  Tables in the center area and booths  line the walls allowing for seating of about 150 people; the bathrooms are faux marble and very clean.  The staff is friendly, attentive, and don't mind answering questions about the menu items, or where they are from.  As with other Chinese restaurants in this area, they are from California's Chinatown, so specialize more in Mandarin style cooking.  Being from the East Coast, and very used to Cantonese cuisine, this different style of cooking takes a little getting used to for me.

There are basically two menus for dining in, depending when you are there: lunch or dinner.  The lunch menu provides for combination meals that include: egg roll, soup (or salad), fried rice and the main item (a large variety of choice for this).  The dinner menu is ala carte; has a larger variety of menu items, and include items listed on the lunch menu.  There are also appetizers, soups and vegetarian items as well.

We tried the fried cheese wontons, also known as cream cheese wontons; wontons were fried perfectly - crisp and light.  The cream cheese filling was smooth and creamy; and the accompanying sweet-sour sauce and Chinese hot mustard went well with this dish.

We had soup with our meal; the Wonton soup tasted too familiar, sort of like instant onion soup mix with one wonton in it, and pieces of green onion floating on top.  The Hot and Sour soup, on the other hand, was delicious - rich, thick broth with plentiful ingredients; the taste was satisfying.

Roy tried the Sweet and Sour Shrimp which we both tasted and agreed upon - the shrimp was overly coated in fried batter, and it was more like eating a shrimp donut; the shrimp itself was lost in all that batter.  So, not too happy with this choice.

I had the Sesame Chicken which was a milder version of General Tso's Chicken; in other words, there were red pepper flakes in the dish giving it a bit of heat. (General Tso's has the actual chiles in the sauce)  Sesame Chicken is a very mild dish, and there were no vegetables, just chicken and sauce; usually steamed broccoli is served.  Don't get me wrong though, it tasted very good and we both enjoyed it.

The Fried rice was just white rice (very visible) with soy sauce; no vegetables or fried egg pieces.  Eaten alone it was very bland, mixed with the main dish helped to enhance both items.

Overall, it was better than the other two Chinese restaurants in the area; but from our experience with many Chinese restaurants out East, it was certainly not the best.  However, as stated before, we will definitely give them another try.

Mary Cokenour

Ocean Pearl Chinese Restaurant on Urbanspoon