Thursday, July 24, 2008

No chance to say goodbye

I'm so blue I can't stand it. Today after many a hard lap around the Southside pool Skpr and I thought we might get lunch at Wakano Ura. Neither of us had been there in awhile and I had heard that they were remodeling so the two of us drove over with fingers crossed. When we walked up to the front door we saw a sign taped to the inside explaining that the owners had decided not to reopen.

Wakano Ura was absolutely in my top five favorite restaurants in Sacramento. The food was good, the service was efficient, honest, and pleasant, the budget 1950s interior reminded me of Self-Service Leonardo (perhaps my favorite European restaurant), and best of all it was affordable. GOD(!) how I loved that restaurant.

One of my favorite Wakano Ura stories was when Skpr and I had lunch there about a year ago. We were dining on a Tuesday (an iffy day to order sushi for those in the know in the restaurant biz) and when our server arrived we asked her how the sashimi was that day. She politely said she would ask and then walked over to the owner who was sitting by the register reading a Japanese language newspaper. From across the room we could see her asking him about the fish and then saw him violently shaking his head "no." When she returned she recommended that we order something else to which Skpr and I were both amused, encouraged, and surprised by her earnestness.

The WU was gonna be my next food review for Capitol Weekly but alas... Here's an excerpt just for giggles:

"Stacked atop a row of retail spaces on 10th street just past W, the restaurant specializes in traditional Japanese fare as well as an array of Chinese dishes. The establishment has existed since 1923 and rumor has it that the joint was known for their bootlegged sake production during prohibition. With the exception of a brief spell during WWII as a result of the Japanese interment, Wakano Ura has been in steady operation since the year it opened."

So sad!

Now, as I sit here wondering what happened to all that fabulous Tepco dinner ware they had sitting in that place I beg of you... next time you're thinking about lunch or dinner remember our local institutions. Just because they've been around since dirt doesn't necessarily mean they're here to last.


wburg said...

That makes me sad too...I stopped by a few weeks ago when they still had the "remodeling" sign, went to Ricksha instead, and waited for the grand reopening. I had asked the operators at one point about the location of the old Wakano Ura, which I assume was somewhere in the old Japantown neighborhood, but they weren't the original owners and couldn't tell me much.

Dammit, we've lost New Lu-Shan and New Wakano Ura in one year! If Jade Garden closes we'll have a serious deficit of awesome cheap Chinese grub in the 95814...

Liv Moe said...

from what i understand the original location was over by the denny's on j street. i'm not really sure when they moved over to 10th and W. once i got a whisper of their history i started delving further for my review because it was so interesting.

Skipper said...

That's what I luved about that place...the honesty. I'll basically eat most any sushi in front of me, so to have a waitress say, "don't get the tuna today" is great. So bummed. so Bummed...