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Kumo: Ridgewood, NJ

Sakura Bana: Ridgewood, NJ, is good for a cold

This damned cold

Five days running now. At least I don't feel like death warmed over any longer. That feeling lasted only the first three days.

Just look at you

You don't care. Can't say I blame you.

Getting on with it

In addition to fried chicken, and chicken soup, one of the best meals for that shitty-ass sore-throat why-am-I-not-on-the-couch feeling is a proper and luxurious sushi meal. Could be the salt, could be the inherent healthfulness of the whole deal, could be the pretty colors. Hard to say. But it's easy to say that a proper sushi meal, especially midday, can make you feel alive again.

Troubling statistics and dropping science. Also, subtle sexism and rent this movie

I'd say 90% of my sushi meals are eaten as delivery. This is most certainly not preferable. Sushi doesn't travel well. First and foremost, you are losing the contrast of temperatures that are so important with sushi. That slightly warm rice. The fish, slightly less warm, but still warmed by the energy in the sushi-manperson's hands.

Sushi should be eaten immediately. Jiro will tell you. (Yes, you should click the link. Yes, you should watch it. Yes, you should rent 'Jiro Dreams of Sushi.' Yes, you should prepare to order sushi immediately after watching it.) Armed with this understanding of sushi thermodynamics, and wanting a proper sushi meal, I got myself off the couch and over to Sakura Bana, in Ridgewood.

First things first

None of this "lunch box" nonsense. I don't want no shrimp tempura that seems like an afterthought getting in the way of my proper sushi meal. What I do want getting in the way of my proper sushi meal, however, is that danged delicious miso cod they've got over there.

Look, a big but, in your face

Look, miso cod has been going strong since the 90s, and one could argue that it's run its course, and God only knows how many times I've eaten it over the past 20 years, not to mention made it. But, and this is the big but, Sakura Bana is, well, adding butter. That's always a good plan, and quite frankly, butter keeps the relationship fresh.

This fish is so delicate, the dish so flavorful, so luscious, you want to pick it up and rub it all over your face. This action is, no doubt, a compliment to the chef in some cultures. Gotta order it every time I'm at Sakura Bana. Oh yes, I do.


Miso simple. I mean complex

When I hear "soup and salad" visions of some horrible, heavy, cup of thick, noodle-filled soup, and an equally heavy and not terribly appetizing salad come to mind, at some sort of chain restaurant or crummy local joint. 'Soup and salad' is for amateurs. Unless you're at a Japanese place, and the soup is miso and the salad is greens simply dressed with a carrot and ginger dressing. Unbelievably simple yet complex all at once. And always just the right size.

18 dollars, not pieces

The fish at Sakura Bana has been consistently pristine over the 12 years I've been going there. Never a dud in the bunch. Can't say that about many places in the area.

The "Sushi 18" is 18 bucks, and looked like this today.  The tamago (the egg omelette) is over-the-top satisfying. It's said that sushi chefs pride themselves on their tamago. Jiro, I believe, agrees. IIRC, he spends some time on, and has a significant amount of pride in, his tamago. It's certainly no throw-away at Sakura Bana. Of this you are assured.

It's the end of the meal, and I feel fine

This meal came out to 32 dollars or something like that. A bargain for this level of food and pleasant service. Not to mention I haven't felt this good all week. 

You're doing it all wrong, how about trying the tongue

If you're eating sushi in Ridgewood, and not hitting Sakura Bana, you're doing it all wrong. And don't forget to check the specials board, for the fun stuff like grilled tongue (sushi, or plate).

Sakura Bana : 43 Franklin Ave : Ridgewood, NJ : 201.447.6525 : BYOB