Guam Diner Bytes: Sagano Japanese Restaurant
Sunday Brunch Buffet at Sagano Japanese Restaurant
(Onward Beach Resort)
This coming Sunday morning you may want to consider making a reservation for the Sagano Japanese Restaurant’s Sunday Japanese Brunch Buffet – it’s just that good! The Sagano has been completely renovated and you would not recognize the place.
The dining room and the private dining rooms all have a modern, linear look that marries traditional Japanese aesthetics to contemporary dining functionality. The room is more open, allowing more natural daylight, which is one of the restaurants best attractions – the extraordinary view overlooking Hagatna Bay.
What’s really significant is how Sagano’s kitchen team, headed up by Chef de Cuisine Koichi Komine, has worked to create a robust and complete menu of traditional Japanese favorites including nigiri sushi, teppanyaki, tempura, ramen, sushi rolls, chawanmushi and teriyaki.
The presentation is meticulous and well-orchestrated, with a large selection of cold appetizers like edamame, Japanese style handmade Nama kimchi, tuna and mushroom spaghetti, nanbanzuke (fried fish in vinegar and onion), furofuki daikon with Hamachi (a popular “simmered dish”), cold tofu with a spicy onion sauce, a tasty Japanese-style poki, seafood kelaguen, daigaku-imo (candied sweet potato), and something I’d not seen previously served anywhere, edamame gyoza. This bright green creation was new and probably something vegetarians would enjoy more.
I had arrived early to get photos and was able to sit down, take my time, marvel at Sagano’s commanding ocean view, enjoy some sparkling wine, and cold green tea while sampling several courses of food. The tempura was not only good, it also had some unusual and creative elements beyond just shrimp. They had pumpkin wrapped in kisu fish (a tasty popular Japanese fish) as well as shiitake mushroom (delicious).
I was intrigued by one of the cold platters that had smoked cheese sliced in semicircles. When I tasted this cheese, it had a special flavor which Chef Komine said was cherry blossom infused. This was what impressed me so much. There was a clear focus and concentration on the food tasting experience. It was not your typical Japanese buffet where food is made to look good and put on display. This food was made with taste and appearance in mind. This is definitely a quality dining experience.
I also enjoyed Sagano’s teriyaki chicken, which is marinated Japanese style and then grilled over charcoal. This again was something beyond the ordinary. The teppanyaki choices were well prepared, too. Steak, salmon, and prawns were grilled to my (and other customer’s) delight. My final dish that I had to try was Sagano’s ramen, for which they used fresh noodles and a balanced broth that enhanced, but did not overwhelmed, the noodles.
There is a dessert selection, however, I had completely satisfied myself and had no more room! Kudos to Chef Komine and his culinary team (Paul, Mike and Al) as well as to the friendly staff who made all Sagano’s customers feel welcome. The buffet is $28.00 for adults and $19 for children ages 5 to 11 (+10 percent service charge) and runs 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Ken The Guam Good Guy