Jul 4, 2011

Tokyo Sakaba 東京酒場


Address: 高雄市五福三路152號
                No. 152, WǔFú 3rd Rd, Kaohsiung City
Phone #: 07-282-0818
Business Hours: 17:00-05:00
Website: N/A
Price Range:   $$
Accepts Credit Cards: yes
Attire: casual
Good for kids: yes
Take out: yes
Waiter Service: yes
Outdoor seating:  yes
Alcohol: yes


Food Quality: 2.5 out of 5
Decor:  3 out of 5
Service: 2.5 out of 5
Overall: 2.7 out of 5
Recommendation: Cheap late night eat, but not good.


The Love River in Kaohsiung City is a very scenic and leisurely spot enjoy an evening stroll. Among the many dining options around this area, there is this 3 story building that radiates itself over its competitors on the riverside. Tokyo Sakaba is a 100 NT taiwanese stir fry restaurant that has a pretty stocked alcohol list, sake in particular. Most of the famaliar items from those "beer station", "hot stir fry" restaurants are offered here, but they are not very good renditions in comparison to the better establishments that exist in Taipei. Try some other restaurant if you are in the area because this place is more like a last resort.
The interior was decorated in a Japanese fashion and it was generally ok. However, it was really hot and they did not have a real enclosed space so it got pretty hot in the mostly fanned area. This is minus points to this restaurant as it becomes a very uncomfortable to dine long term. Also, the server to patron ratio was too low. We had a hard time flagging down servers, and even when we did they would tell us to wait a minute and then not return to us. The service down in Kaohsiung just isn't the same as the level in Taipei. The food was not up to par to the standards similar restaurants deliver in Taipei. 
 The sashimi plate is 150 NT. They are placed on top of a coarsely shaved ice and garnished with some lowers and cucumbers. The wasabi they provided with this plate was super green and questionably chemically. The pieces of sashimi were very stingy and they were kind of rigid from possibly being frozen for a while. Only the tuna and the salmon were borderline edible. The red snapper and yellowtail were unacceptably rigid.
 The fish collar for 100 NT was actually not that bad for it's price. This is perfect for a group of four, which is the minimum number of people I would recommend for this type of restaurant. They were kind of fried on the outside, so you get a little oily charred exterior, but then the inside is more mushy-flakey. The flavor tastes like those general pan fried fish you can get at those cafeteria type restaurants. There is also lime and pepper-salt to help enhance the taste.
 I was kind of disappointed that the deep fried river shrimp came in such a little quantity for 100 NT. Usually it should be filled with the little river shrimp, but they filled half of the bowl with fried garlic, and you end up seeing a mound of fried stuff, but only a third of the mass is what you want to crunch on. Very disappointing.
 This is another disappointing dish for 100 NT. The clam and luffa not had the right taste and freshish clams, but the luffa were quartered instead of sliced into thin pieces like most places prepare it. The texture just was too hard and big to be enjoyable. The chinese translation of the vegetable is "silk gourd" and there was nothing that silky about it when they are quartered into huge chunks. I was stupid-eyed when I saw this lazily prepared dish plopped in front of me.
This is was acceptable for 100 NT. The taiwanese bbq sauce "sa-cha 沙茶" stir fried with beef was safe. The power of the sauce pervades the vegetable and the beef and makes a dish that works so well with rice. The beef slices were not the freshest. They carried the slippery feel and the texture was kind of loose and mushy, like it was tenderized too much. It is hard to disappoint me with meet with a flavorful sauce.
At last, the cherry blossom shrimp fried rice for 150 NT. This dish is a stomach filler and it really just tasted like regular fried rice with a hint of shrimp. The shrimp fragrance is muddled into the other ingredients and gives it that salty sea taste and crunchy texture.

There is nothing special or interesting about the food here, so don't be fooled by the neon lights, 3 stories packed with people, and hot female beer servers. There has to be better options for a meal than this place near the Love River. I don't think you should come here unless it's the only option around here at 3 am.

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