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Sapporo Steakhouse

Spatulas, meat, and veggies are all flying about as part of the dining experience

You don’t need a special occasion to enjoy Japanese hibachi fare. Photo credit: Jackie Fender

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ANNOUNCER: Taking over the old Jade Palace location in University Place, Sapporo Japanese Steakhouse and Sushi are beginning to establish their own reputation as a go-to location on this end of town. Whether it is flying kitchen utensils or fresh sushi, Dutch and Jackie head in to check it out.

JACKIE: I don't know what my mental block is but I always feel like I need a special occasion as an excuse to indulge in some Japanese hibachi fare. Writing about a University Place establishment was my reasoning this round, but really, I think I won't wait so long for the next time. It's just good fun! Sapporo sets an appropriate ambiance, regular dining and an intimate lounge on one side, hibachi service on the other. Pops of color thanks to bright, hanging umbrellas, a slick modern feel with the classic Japanese restaurant touches throughout make it both casual and date-night worthy. It's another of those strip-mall gems to put on your list.

DUTCH: There is a great number of sushi options on the menu, all of which are prepared and rolled to order like most sushi places in the South Sound. However, some of the selections here are offered in either a traditional cut option, or in a seaweed cone option that comes as a full sushi roll wrapped in essentially a cone of seaweed. One such option is the Seattle roll that combines sticky rice with smoked salmon, cucumber and crab meat. This is a refreshingly light and fresh roll, that with the addition of the salty seaweed, makes for an excellent combination of flavors and textures not often expected from sushi.

JACKIE: The staff displays their warm sense of humor throughout your visit with kind hosts and Benihana cooks that are ready to entertain. We watched on in childlike amazement as they flipped and tossed spatulas, chopped ingredients and set the flattop ablaze. The menu is pretty standard with your choice of proteins: chicken, steak, shrimp, scallops and lobster tail served up with a side of fried rice or noodles, veggies and two dipping sauces. And let's face it, if you're not here for the pyrotechnics, it's the Yum Yum sauce that'll captivate you.

DUTCH: I must still be a bit of a kid then, because I love the fun and games that comes with hibachi-style cooking. I ordered the chicken and salmon option which came with soup and salad to start, and then followed by the veggies and a pair of shrimp. The chicken is chopped and grilled while the salmon is served in one fillet before being doused in a teriyaki-style sauce. The salmon was sufficiently flavored and I gobbled it down as is. However, the chicken, though also flavorful, begged to be dipped in the provided dipping sauce, so I proceeded to dip. In a rare move for me, I strayed from my go-to fried rice and opted for the fried yakisoba noodles. This was a delicious alternate option, and may become my new go-to.

JACKIE: If it weren't afternoon during my dining journey, I might have opted for a sake-fueled finale, but the kids munched on a scoop of ice cream, whip cream, and sprinkles included.

SAPPORO STEAKHOUSE, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Monday-Thursday; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Friday-Saturday; noon to 9:30 p.m., Sunday, 3810 Bridgeport Way W, Green Firs Village Shopping Center, University Place,

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