Sakura

Drop by Sakura just about any evening around 7:30 and you’ll find yourself standing against a wall with a beer in yur hand and your name on a list. This Centinela Avenue standard is the prototypical neighborhood sushi joint. It has a motherly hostess, Naugahyde booths, Formica tables, and big windows. The constant banter between regulars and staff underscores the fact that Sakura’s rhythms are those of the coffee shop. One wouldn’t go so far as to say that portions have a blue-plate heft, but they are generous. Tuna and salmon—upiquitous fish that often become afterthoughs—can here be rediscovered for their dreamy textures and their ability to capture straight-up fun. The hand rolls are passed across the case in a continuous flurry, the guy with the Donny Osmond hair is hitting on the gal who just walked in, and if the sushi chef weren’t filleting a whole yellowtail on the counter, you could mistake Sakura for Norm’s.