Sake – Latham, NY
Since it opened a few months ago, people have been asking me to share my experience with Sake in Latham.
From the local coverage by Cheryl Clark as well as an intriguing look at a festive holiday lunch that Steve Barnes had, it really was only a matter of time before I decided to eat there.
Sake is located right off of “The Northway”, I-87 at exit 6. Driving east to west on route 7, you will encounter first Sake, then Carrabas, then Ruby Tuesday on your right.
I made a reservation for a Saturday evening to dine with Cassie and two close friends. We opted for the main dining room instead of “hibachi.” Once we entered, the temperature in the lobby area was, not kidding, over 90 degrees. It took a few moments for the staff to set up our table, and, as we walked back to the table right in front of the kitchen, with each stride, various extremes in temperature were experienced. To our delight, having the seat in front of the kitchen gave us access to a nice cold breeze every time something left the kitchen. I guess the restaurant thought enough to isolate the heating controls in the dining room and in the kitchen [which is a great idea.].
There are very many items on the menu that are unique. I decided to order a Sake signature dish, rock shrimp, and a sushi dinner.
But first, I had to order a Japanese soda.
These have a cool little marble contraption to keep it sealed. It’s really fun to open and then drink.
Along with my soda, the salad with ginger dressing and miso soup were served to me.
The salad was pretty good. This style of restaurant usually gives a small bowl with the whitest part of the iceberg lettuce head along with some tomato, cucumber, and a ginger dressing. In this case, the ginger dressing was slightly creamy, but had good flavor and adhered to the greens nicely.
The soup was also decent. They chop the seaweed that goes into the soup, so it’s difficult to pick around (I am not a huge fan of this in the soup), but otherwise, this is also pretty standard. It was served much cooler than I am accustomed to.
The rock shrimp was a disappointment. The shrimp arrived nice and crisp to the table, but service over a bed of iceberg lettuce inevitably results in a layer of soggy shrimp. The shrimp were battered in an unseasoned flour or corn starch mixture and then fried a bit too far, resulting in tough, bland shrimp. The were tossed in a flavorful slightly sweet and slightly spicy mayo mixture; however, the lack of individual seasoning on the shrimp made this a flat-tasting dish. It’s a shame because it’s touted as a house special.
The sushi dinner was, on the other hand, fairly decent.
I unfortunately didn’t get to enjoy the fresh wasabi that Steve pictured in his post, but the fish was fresh. The white fishes on my plate, red snapper (upper left), white tuna (bottom), and yellowtail (right) were outstanding, with the white tuna being superior to other white tuna I’ve had in the area. The red tuna in both the nigiri and roll I was given was a bit on the dry side, but tasted fine.
Overall, this was a very middle of the line experience. The prices are a bit on the high side for their specialty items and sushi rolls, and, from the impression the rock shrimp appetizer left, I’m not totally convinced they would be worth the money.
Also worth noting, if you are a fan of the music of pop sensation, Madonna, you are going to love this place. The ambient music throughout the restaurant is a compilation of all of her hits…on loop! I definitely had to refrain from singing along to “Lucky Star” and “Celebration”. (I’m a pre-Evita fan)