2060 West Street (Germantown)
Sakura is a semi-fancy pants Japanese restaurant in Germantown. Yes, I said Germantown, but I can only say that it is definitely worth the drive (and the money). The food is absolutely excellent and it is so incredibly child-friendly that we usually go with my sister and her kids (ages 5 and 9).
I love Sakura (properly pronounced Sa-Koo-Da) because we are always greeted by several smiling waitrons, even when the adults are outnumbered by children. There is always an abundance of other people with small (or medium or large) children happily eating and I immediately feel at ease. Like no matter what happens (i.e. “Mommy I just pooped my pants!”), everything will be okay.
The nice big bowl of candy (including Bit-o-Honeys!) perched on the bar where the sushi chefs diligently work, immediately puts Satchel (age 3) in a good mood. (There was a time when we could reward a “happy plate” with the candy, but now we usually give in and let him have a lollipop for an appetizer.)
If there are more than just the four of us, we ask to sit in the back. They have a nice partitioned area with four large tables that seat 8-10 people. Back there we often find ourselves surrounded by other families with children who sometimes squawk, stand on their chairs, and even throw food. We feel right at home.
As soon as our server arrives, we greedily grab the hot towels being offered (perfect for wiping off playground dirt) and put in our order for edamame (soybeans cooked in their skins like snap peas). Edamame is a big hit with the kids and keeps them busy while we figure out what exactly we want to order.
Warren has gotten pretty set on the pork katsu and shrimp tempura combination plate. It comes with soup, salad, and vegetables and is plenty for him to share with Satchel and still have leftovers. I always get sushi. Sushi at Sakura is humongous. I can easily eat 4-5 rolls of sushi at Sekisui, but at Sakura I don’t dare order more than two unless I am sharing with my (pregnant) sister. I highly recommend the Joyce, the Jillian, and the Gustav, although I really don’t think you can go wrong. (Sakura has a special crawfish salad that serves as the base for many rolls and makes everything yummy.) We order cold tofu and white rice for Jiro (who is one, and anti-meat), and he shares a Miso soup with Satchel. My sister’s kids like the shrimp and vegetable tempura, crunchy crab rolls, gyoza (pork dumplings), and clear soup.
Sakura’s menu does not have a single chicken nugget on it, which is becoming increasingly rare these days. I love going and introducing the kids to new foods and even though they pilfer candy, I leave feeling like they have had a healthy meal. The servers are happy to bring Styrofoam cups for the kids and even special chop sticks tied together with rubber bands for little hands. The service is fast, there’s lots of activity going on that masks toddler squeals and school age disputes, and there is a casual attitude toward spills. What more could you ask for?
Oh yeah, they have sparkling clean bathrooms!