There is a new teppanyaki restaurant in town. Sakura Chaya expanded into the Sierra Vista Mall last summer, offering Clovis residents yet another choice for Japanese steakhouse cuisine.
Sakura Chaya’s Clovis location is its second restaurant. The original eatery is located in Fresno near Nees Avenue and First Street.
A spacious interior with typified Japanese furnishings awaited the Clovis Roundup staff and I when we walked in hungry for lunch at 1 p.m. on a Thursday.
It seemed busy for a weekday afternoon, as more than a dozen people milled about the waiting area. Despite the amount of people, the friendly staff seated us within 10 minutes.
The restaurant is split into different sections, including a sushi bar showcasing delicious-looking slabs of raw fish, a traditional dining area and a teppanyaki dining area located in the back. While the sushi bar area where guests enter was comfortable and roomy, the teppanyaki seating was a bit tight, as I sat elbow to elbow with the guest next me.
The menu featured typical teppanyaki dishes, including the familiar hibachi chicken, New York steak, fillet mignon and tofu with vegetables. There were also the seafood options of cod, shrimp, calamari, scallop, salmon and lobster.
Prices on the lunchtime menu ranged from $10 to $20. Guests choosing to dine in the evening will have to pay a little more, as most dinner menu items vary from $17 to $28.
I ordered the hot and spicy hibachi chicken, my go-to teppanyaki dish.
Any teppanyaki fan knows that the experience is only as good as the chef who cooks for you. Good chefs know how to play the role of cook and entertainer at the same time.
Our chef, John Tran, who told us he recently moved to Clovis from the Seattle area, did not disappoint. He was as charismatic and funny as he was skilled with his spatula and knife.
The miso soup, salad, fried rice and veggies were so good I could have easily gone for a second helping of each. The spicy chicken was tangy, smokey and tender, delivering that signature teppanyaki taste.
The Roundup had a great experience at Sakura Chaya. It’s worth a visit from anyone who enjoys teppanyaki and is a great addition to Sierra Vista’s selection of restaurants.