Dining Out: Sapporo Grill

When Joy and I headed out a year ago on the Big Nosh, a tour of 25 downtown/Midtown restaurants, we made it to 23 of them. And tops on our list of places we wanted to go back to was a new sushi bar and Japanese steak house called the Sapporo Grill.

It took almost a year, but we finally made it back. And imagine our surprise when we found out that Sapporo Grill features half-price sushi Sunday through Tuesday. This means that you can stuff your face with sushi for less than $20 per person.

We’ve been twice now. Sapporo Grill is one of those big, bright, shiny fancy places. We try to get the side dining room, away from all of the big televisions showing sports. I like many sports, but find baseball criminally boring; finding a spot where we couldn’t see it involved a couple table changes and a confused waiter, but we got it figured out.

For value, you can’t really beat the eel roll, which is really your basic rock n’ roll (eel with barbecue sauce and avocado). Normally $7.50, at half price it’s pretty darn cheap. Especially because the portions here are generous.

One of our favorites is the firestarter: spicy tuna, shrimp tempura, avocado, masago and a spicy sauce ($12). It really packs a kick. Another one we liked was the snow mountain: spicy scallop, shrimp tempura, seared tuna, avocado, masago and, of course, snow crab ($13). It had a more subtle flavor, the kind that changes in your mouth as you chew.

In fact, if there is a problem with these rolls, it’s that they tend to be quite involved, with lots of different ingredients. I generally like this, but with a couple of the rolls we ordered, they were almost too much, with lots of different flavors competing on your palate.

But the fish is fresh, and everything we had here has been good. The wakame (seaweed salad, $5) is pretty standard, which is great, and the portion is generous—big enough that you’re not having a chopsticks fight for the last bit of it.

There is an entire other menu here, mainly steaks and seafood. Personally, I don’t think I’ve really ever ordered much besides sushi in a sushi bar. I never saw the point, but I know there are people out there who don’t like the raw fish. Until they find a cure for that particular mental disorder, rest assured, you can join your more enlightened friends here without worry.

One thing that wasn’t half-price was the $10 drink Joy ordered. Served in a theatrically-large martini glass, it was a sweet combination of vodka, Asian lychee fruit and a couple of other ingredients. Its one of several interesting mixed drinks they offer. Thankfully for my wallet, she reverse-engineered it and figured out how to make it at home.

Sapporo Grill
1118 16th Street
Monday- Wednesday: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Thursday: 11 a.m. to midnight
Friday/Saturday: 11 a.m. to 2:30 a.m.
Sunday: 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Happy Hour
Weekdays 2 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Weekends 4 p.m to 6:30 p.m.

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