Sake House

sake-house

A home-grown sushi bar that delivers quality fish for a reasonable price… on Mondays.

Fish: Raw and rolled
Location: Sparse but real
Authenticity: Questionable
Mondays: Unquestionably cheap

She said: Sake House hangs out with some of the ‘big’ kinds in Blacksburg’s First & Main shopping center. This lovely little spot is rather sad due to it’s quasi-emptiness. (Fear not – a supposed IMAX is getting put in). The interior of Sake House feels a bit like a tiny strip mall cafeteria, except for the fact that it’s large. To appease the town, they’ve got a bar with a couple TVs. Obviously something every sushi joint needs.

IMAG0786-1We ordered two rolls & Unagi Nigiri. The first roll (The Bomb) was wrapped in cucumber. Pretty decent tasting although I wasn’t a fan of the mayo-like sauce it was sitting in. The other roll was a Spicy Salmon Naruto – quite tasty. The Unagi was great but I’ve never met an Unagi I didn’t like. Their pickled ginger had a slightly odd taste to it but oh well. Overall, I think the sushi is pretty decent.

Only problem I have with this place is the price. For two moderate rolls and Nigiri we were at $31. It’s a tad on the pricey side for what you get.

Monday nights are ½ price rolls so perhaps they do this just to offset that? Our next sushi night will definitely be here on a Monday.

Grade: B-

He said: Being situated at least a four-hour drive from the nearest ocean, I do not expect Blacksburg to have good sushi. I can’t imagine that there are a ton of talented sushi chefs dying to live in the New River Valley, one of the whiter places I’ve ever encountered, where fresh salt water fish are difficult to come by. That being said, it’s still a college town, and every college town has a sushi joint.

sake house

As a tenant of First and Main, I expected Sake House to be a member of some giant corporate conglomerate like the rest of the strip mall. But as soon as I walked in, I knew it wasn’t. There’s none of the trendy, fake decorations here that corporate restaurants seem incapable of escaping. In fact, they could actually probably stand to spend a little bit more on the atmosphere. There’s a bunch of random Japenese-styled pieces of art randomly put up on the walls of a very disordered series of rooms. I can’t imagine the Qi in this place flows very well.

The menu reads pretty typically for a sushi house. There’s a good variety of standard cheap rolls, a handful of specialty house rolls, and a wide assortment of non-sushi items. The two specialty rolls we ordered were most definitely not bad. There was a good amount of fish in them and the flavors melded together nicely.

Now, if Sake House digresses from the standard First and Main business in its corporate ties – which it does, having gotten its start in Roanoke – it joins the rest of its neighbors in price. Every place I’ve been in the strip mall has punched in at about 25 percent overpriced. Our small meal, consisting of about 20 pieces of sushi, cost us a little more than $30. In case your math skills are those of a communications major, that averages out to $1.50 for every tiny piece of sushi.

Here’s the catch – fresh fish doesn’t last that long. Since a sushi place has to bring in new material every week, there’s always one day that they need to sell the remaining stock. In Blacksburg, that day is Monday. And at Sake House, sushi is 50 percent off on that fateful day.

I will gladly show up on Mondays and pay $15 for the meal we had. But don’t expect to see me there any other day of the week.

Grade: C+

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