230 Commercial Street
Portland, ME 04101
Friday was the first day Dave and I had had alone together in three weeks, so we decided to have a real date night. Both of us wanted Japanese food, and the movie we wanted to see, The King's Speech, was only playing in Portland, so to Portland we would go. Being a port city, any cuisine based in seafood is very popular, and there are quite a few Japanese restaurants. We had already been to one, Benkay, and while it was good, I wanted to try a new one.
Sapporo got good ratings on Yelp! and seemed reasonably priced, so we made a reservation for 7:30. The restaurant was full, but the layout makes it both private and quieter than it really is. There are half walls in between most of the tables, and cloth hangings on the walls and ceiling to absorb noise. The ambiance is lovely and lets you concentrate on (and hear) your own conversation.
The food was simply fantastic. The menu is extensive and has both sushi, noodle dishes, teriyakis and various other things. We got miso soup, shrimp tempura (fried shrimp and vegetables - 6 pieces), shumai (shrimp and vegetable dumplings - 8 pieces) and edamame for appetizers. That sounds like a lot, but bear in mind that seafood is light and portions aren't huge. I had never eaten edamame before (yes, I know, *gasp*, the horror!) and I loved it. I'm craving more right now, actually.
For the sushi course we got a spicy tuna roll (excellent), a Boston roll (good) and a California roll (good). I would like to try different ones the next time we go back. And maybe be more adventurous. Anything not eel. I don't do eel.
For dessert Dave got the ginger tempura ice cream (good, just not enough ice cream) and I had the mochi sundae. The latter consisted of chocolate ice cream (which I generally don't like, but I ate it anyway), fresh strawberries and, my favorite, mango mochi ice cream (small scoops of mango ice cream encased in mochi). I'll ask in the future if they can substitute some other flavor for the chocolate.
After all that (very good) food, our bill came to about $50, which is insanely reasonable for a Japanese restaurant. There is an extensive drink menu, but hot tea is free, which is a large bonus. All in all, a fantastic restaurant that I look forward going to again.