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The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Sake sushi: almost average

Ariana Powell, editor-in-chief and sushi warrior

Sake has joined the barrage of restaurants on Business Lane, however, it does not mean it’s on the same level as its neighbors.

One of the best parts happened at the beginning of the dining experience; my dining companion and I were seated as soon as we walked through the door.

Being someone who had dined at the location when it was an IHOP, it was interesting to see how it had changed. My dining companion said the art on the walls looked highly AI-generated. It also didn’t sit well with me that every single piece of art displayed women, some with clear breast shots.

We went with the all-you-can-eat price — $35.99 per person — but were surprised by the 90-minute stipulation, so we decided to order a few rolls to share. We also each ordered a strawberry Ramune, which costs extra — $2.99.

Unfortunately, it took us about the 90-minute limit to get our first roll. It was pretty clear there were far more orders going in than dishes were coming out. Other diners were going up to the staff saying they’d been there a long time and still hadn’t received their food.

After the first roll hit our table, the rest came out at a fairly steady pace. The rolls we ordered — the spicy tuna roll, California roll, dragon roll, play boy roll and sky way roll, each were eight pieces — unfortunately, did not come out as well as I’d hoped.

Generally, when I eat sushi, from places like Izakaya Ichiban, Aonami Sustainable Sushi and even Butte Station on Chico State campus, I feel refreshed as sushi is a very light type of food.

However, Sake’s rolls were very heavy and did not seem to contain high quality fish.

After consuming part of the spicy tuna, California and dragon roll, I could not bring myself to try the other two because I was full, but not in a good way, I just couldn’t stand to try anymore.

After we finished, we flagged down a server and luckily we were given our check, paid and signed the receipt all within around ten minutes. 

I had hoped the “all-you-can-eat” option would be a good idea to save money and eat some great sushi, but no. Between the all-you-can-eat rate, drinks, tax and tip, the bill came to just over $100, for low-quality food.

Thanks to the inconsistent and lengthy service, dirty soy sauce dishes and insufficient food, I will not be going back.

I just hope they tighten things up once they hit their hard opening.

Jessica Miller, food editor and sushi novice

The minute I walked into Sake I was greeted by helpful staff who were ready to seat me, despite their parking lot and restaurant being full of customers. 

I decided, due to stipulations for the all-you-can-eat menu, to order my meal a la carte.

All-you-can-eat lasts 90 minutes at Sake and after that any food you haven’t eaten is then additionally charged at al la carte prices. 

As someone who has an unreliable appetite, sometimes eating a pizza on my own, sometimes having one slice of toast, I knew that the all-you-can-eat option would not be optimal for me. 

A server was quick to take my order and offer me water. I was a bit disappointed to find that although root beer was listed explicitly on the menu it wasn’t actually available.

Seared salmon nigiri in a base of spicy ponzu sauce that is a sneak attack on the taste buds. Taken by Jessica Miller on April 25.

I have never been a big fan of sushi but I knew that I couldn’t give a fair review of a sushi restaurant without at least trying some uncooked fish. 

This seared salmon nigiri was the least intimidating on their vast menu of options for an inexperienced sushi consumer. Thankfully, my snap judgement was a good choice and the texture of this $2.50 bite was completely manageable, even for a picky eater. 

I was served the nigiri within five minutes of ordering.

My first bite was an unexpected awakening to the presence of the spicy sauce coating the bottom of the nigiri. This ponzu sauce is not listed on the menu and therefore was an interesting surprise to my tastes. 

That said, I did ask the server to bring more to my table because it was delicious. 

Fried fish elegantly stacked to make it look like there is more food on the plate. Taken by Jessica Miller on April 25.

The fried fish had excellent flavor and was served within 15 minutes of ordering. 

I found the fish to taste very fresh and it was not overly greasy, as is sometimes the problem with fried food. I wished that for the price of $10 there was a bit more fish, but I was fairly satisfied by it. 

Avocado Nigiri wrapped in seaweed without a sauce base. Taken by Jessica Miller on April 25.

This avocado nigiri was also a stellar $2.50 for a less than lovely taste. The avocado was sub par, unfortunately. The nigiri held together well due to the seaweed, but the avocado wasn’t quite ripe which ruined the taste. 

It also tasted warm which is a very disconcerting discovery for avocado as it can make it taste old.  This old warm, yet somehow unripe, avocado is not a sensation I look forward to trying again anytime soon.

The Katsu chicken was by far the best part of my meal even if it was on the more expensive side, being $10.

The outside was extremely crispy and full of flavor while the inside avoided being dry. The mystery dipping sauce, which wasn’t listed on the menu, was also very good. 

If I was rating my experience based on this chicken alone, Sake would be a 10/10 experience. 

Cheese wontons prepared to be absurdly hot in your mouth. Taken by Jessica Miller on April 25.

These cheese wontons, at $7, were a disaster and that is putting it kindly. 

The outside of the dish was fairly cool by the time it was served to me. I made the mistake of assuming that meant they were safe to bite into. 

To keep it short, they were a boiling lava of hot cheese that quickly scalded the roof of my mouth when I bit into them. 

Obviously, eating food that is too hot is user error in most cases, but as I drove home with a blister forming in my mouth, I became more certain that it would have been nice for the server to warn me that the food had just been prepped. 

Additionally these wontons contained crab meat that wasn’t detailed on the menu and thus I wasn’t expecting. I don’t particularly enjoy crab and wouldn’t have ordered them if I had known the contents. 

All in all, I found that the menu was not very informative for people who are trying to order things they can guarantee they’ll enjoy, which is important when items are more expensive. I also wish they had some sort of signage or menu displaying dipping sauces as that greatly impacts the dining experience. 

I was able to stomach the raw fish, which was a welcome surprise but not exactly a high bar in the sushi world. 


Ariana Powell — one out of five stars

Jessica Miller — three out of five stars

Coverage of Sake’s opening can be found here.

Jessica Miller and Ariana Powell can be reached at [email protected].

Ariana Powell can also be reached at [email protected].

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About the Contributors
Ariana Powell
Ariana Powell, Editor-in-Chief
Ariana Powell is in her fourth year at Chico State as a media arts (criticism) and journalism (news) double-major. Now in her fourth semester on The Orion and having assumed the editor-in-chief position, she is prepared to continue helping upcoming journalists and endeavors to continue building her repertoire of multimedia and writing skills. In her free time, she enjoys writing, watching and analyzing films, reading and spending time with her loved ones.
Jessica Miller
Jessica Miller, News Editor
Jessica Miller is a fourth-year English literature studies major at Chico State with a minor in linguistics and Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. This will be her first semester with The Orion. After graduation, she plans to pursue a single-subject teaching credential in English and begin teaching at the high school level in California. She loves to write, read and work at the Student Learning Center on campus as a Writing Center tutor as well as her ESL Support Services tutoring position.

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    Melinda // May 15, 2024 at 4:28 pm

    Thank you for the review. I went by there today and thought I might stop by sometime. I’ll stick to my regulars in town. Ichiban is excellent!