Unlike hot magma, sushi’s raw beauty is welcoming and could only cause severe burns if something were to go terribly awry. Embrace nature’s more docile elements with today’s Groupon: for $10, you get $20 worth of sushi at Taka’s Sushi in Fair Oaks.
Taka’s Sushi artistically plates a rich menu of handcrafted sushi and other authentic Japanese fare. Diners can bait hunger with starters such as oysters in a half shell ($7) or a bowl of tonkatsu ramen, a brothy celebration of spinach, enoki, marinated pork, scallion, bamboo, tamago, fish cake, and shaved nori ($12). Kohaku, with red and white tuna, shrimp tempura, cucumber, avocado, and a rich onion-and-garlic cream sauce ($12), and other specialty rolls make tasteful meal centerpieces. Classic sushi nigiri delights, such as the yellowtail ($6.50) or tuna ($5.50) capture classic bites, and a full meal of pan-roasted duck breast ($19) or sesame chicken ($19) appeases heat-seeking eaters. The eatery's central sushi bar puts raw fish at the forefront of the dining experience, letting diners complement their eats with views of kitchen wizardry while waging invigorating chopstick duels.
Hailing from Brazil, where he witnessed his Japanese mother bind sushi at home, Taka Watanabe sharpened his sea-fare-swaddling skills under the tutelage of a Japan-born sushi expert. At Taka's Sushi, Californian twists wheedle their way into a menu that offers nigiri topped with fresh-water eel or Spanish mackerel, depending on the season and the fish's hectic schedule of social appearances. Chopsticks shuttle sushi such as the Ziggy roll—a soy-wrapped cocoon bulging with deep-fried soft-shell crab and a fiery garlic-avocado sauce—and seared duck from plate to palate.