Some say sushi has become about as overdone as cupcakes or bacon or any other trendy food that comes and goes. I say, who could ever get tired of sushi? Sapporo is one of the most established restaurants in our great city, serving sushi and hibachi on Bardstown road and adding a new location downtown not too long ago. Sapporo is expensive, but you can’t beat it for presentation. While it lacks the giant portions of Oishii, say, it offers a panache that is hard to compete with, and a sense of atmosphere to be envied. In a world (and a city) brimming with sushi restaurants, Sapporo succeeds in presenting sushi in a non-kitschy, delicious and regularly fresh way. Since moving to Louisville roughly ten years ago, I've spent many a night at Sapporo. I drank my first legal drink there, at my twenty first birthday party. Sapporo is well established in my heart and in our city.
The sushi rolls at Sapporo might be pricey, but they aren’t skimpy on delicious ingredients. The rainbow roll is sticky sweet and layered with singingly cool and fresh slivers of salmon and mango—if ever a sushi was made for dessert, it is this one. The “no-name” roll is good, but more notable for the presentation; it arrives at the table in a plate full of what I assume is rice alcohol, and the server sets the plate underneath the roll on fire, slowly cooking the fish inside the sushi. Sapporo is also a good choice for the less adventurous. If the thought of raw fish turns your stomach, the hibachi chefs will oblige with their always yummy, if pretty standard offerings; plus the entertainment factor offered by their performance has dulled the edge of many an awkward first date. The veggie tempura is particularly good, crisp without losing the flavor of actual vegetables. The cocktail list is respectable, even though the price-to-drink ratio is nothing short of ridiculous. There is plum wine available too, a guilty pleasure of mine and a great companion to the more savory grill offerings.
Sapporo is not, in my opinion, the best sushi in the city, nor is it the least expensive or more innovative. What Sapporo is: tried and true. The restaurant looks good, offers delicious food and a great introduction to sushi. Why fix what isn't broken? If you have a big party, a double date with that dull couple from work, or the in-laws are coming into town, take them somewhere you're assured good service, a show, and a fresh sushi roll.