Sakura, a Japanese sushi and Asian food restaurant, opened Tuesday at the Milan Avenue building that has housed several Chinese restaurants over the years, most recently Norwalk Buffet.
Sakura will keep the same owners, according to manager Kelly Chen. The main differences will be in the menu she said.
“We won’t do (a) buffet anymore,” Chen said.
Instead, it will focus on sushi and more traditional Japanese dishes, along with general Asian and Thai dishes. The new sushi bar will feature 10 to 15 types of fish and can create about 50 different sushi options.
“Sushi is an art,” said owner and chef Lee He.
“We don’t have anything like this in our town,” Chen said of why they decided to reopen as a Japense restaurant.
“If someone wants to have sushi, they have to go to another town — Sandusky has some. So we thought maybe we’d just try (this). We hope people can like Japanese and it becomes good. We like Japanese and we like sushi. We hope we can make people that live here like it. That’s why, because it’s the first one. No one’s ever done it before I don’t think.”
They plan to be flexible, adapting the menu according to how customers respond to certain items.
“I think it’s the first one,” she added. “Right now, we don’t know if people will like it or not like it (sushi and Japanese) so we still have some Asian and some Thai food in case they don’t like it. Maybe they’ll like more Asian food, then we’ll do more Asian food, like sushi.
Chen said they also intend to expand the restaurant’s Thai section of the menu.
What’s the difference between Chinese and Japanese food?
“The cooking is different,” Chen said. “I think people know Chinese food (pretty well). I think Japanese food they know some. Like right now we’re doing sushi and hibachi. I think it’s more (about) the fish and the sushi (for Japanese foods).”
The restaurant will have a small bar area and though it has been approved it is still waiting for the permit. It is expected to arrive late this week or early next week.
“We want to do 10 percent off for everyone,” Chen said about a special grand-opening offer. “We want to do it for maybe three months.”