Sagami - Irvine, CA
If you didn't know about this place, you'll most likely miss it. I heard about this place through word of mouth and sort of dismissed it at first glance cause it didn't seem enticing. My bad...I should not have judged before trying. Tucked in a corner of the Crossroads Plaza in Irvine off Barranca/Culver, Sagami is tiny! They have a small bar that seats about 6-8 people and I would say a max capacity of 20-30 patrons at a time. It's a very tight space, but don't let that fool you! The menu reminds me a lot of Kappo Honda and Honda Ya, where it's sectioned off into grilled, fried, stewed, specials of the week/month and sushi menu (nigiri and sashimi). It's not as extensive, but it has a bit of everything that I love. This may sound silly, but I had to write a memo on my phone since I was racking up quite a list of small bites. It was a lot easier than wrestling with the menu when the server came!
As my friend and I were ordering though, our server stopped us and asked if we were sure with the amount of food we were getting because according to him, this was A LOT of food. Does this ever happen to you? Depending on who I eat with, this happens to me more often than normal people I guess. :P Anyway, here is ALL the food we got!
Tako Wasa (Raw Octopus & Wasabi). I pretty much order this any time a restaurant has it cause it's nice to snack on throughout the meal. I love wasabi so I wish this had more fresh wasabi, but you can always ask for extra or pour a bit of soy sauce for flavor. It's not spicy and the chopped raw octopus are bite sized and nice to chew on.
Nankotsu (Fried Chicken Cartilage). Another great item to snack on for that crunch and crisp texture.
Ankimo (Monkfish Liver). It's been awhile since I've had really good ankimo. This was smooth, creamy and not fishy at all.
Nigiri - Japanese snapper, white tuna (ono) and sea urchin (uni). I had actually used the shiso leaf from the ankimo dish to pair with the Japanese snapper. Goes so well together!
My friend Bernice orders gyutan (beef tongue) curry, a lobster salad and nasu miso (eggplant with miso).
Oh hey, my reflection! haha. The best way to eat this is to probably mix the miso into the eggplant or else you get an overwhelming bite of miso to the face.
Although I finished my meal (barely), Bernice took half the curry and eggplant home. It was possible for her to finish, but it was better to have amazing leftovers for lunch. To end on a sweet note, we both got dessert. Green tea ice cream and green tea mochi.
After dinner, we headed to Creamistry, which is just across the way too meet up with another friend, but unfortunately they didn't make it to the party. It was my first time here! Naturally, I HAD to order something.
You must be thinking, "What, didn't you JUST have ice cream?"
Well friends, my love for ice cream knows no bounds and has no end. So here we are, a mango sorbet with chunks of strawberries. They make their cold desserts using liquid nitrogen! Very fun to watch and see the magic happen.
The menu at Sagami covers a lot of ground and unlike Honda Ya or Kappo Honda, it's relatively quiet and less crowded, meaning no wait! Although space is limited, I would like to return with a few friends to chill over a few beers and small bites.
We totally ate our fill that evening and may have gone a little overboard, but that's just typical whenever I'm with Bernice. We have so many stories about food comas, but the worst was when we ate Filipino food at Magic Wok (sisig, crispy pata, two plates of rice, pinakbet) followed by tea and a ginormous brick toast. The 30-45 minute car ride home was torture for the both of us as we struggled to stay awake long enough before we knocked out. We were both exhausted from extreme food coma - an evening of carbs was not a good idea!
Do you have a similar story?
Sagami 3850 Barranca Pkwy Irvine, CA 92606 (949) 857-8030 www.irvinesagami.com