Ambiance At Sakana
Inside Sakana wasn't anything special. It felt like a pop-up shop, or lunch place rather than a dinner restaurant with any real ambiance. The sushi bar did look pretty stylish, but the rest of the restaurant could have been a Mexican restaurant or American diner. I think they were playing the radio, which is always annoying to me. I don't need to hear ads for used cars when I'm eating!
Arriving & Ordering At Sakana
I love to comment on parking, and the parking at Sakana was great. You can park behind the restaurant, right up front close to the door. There was plenty of room, and it was off of the busy street.
Sakana was pretty empty for a Friday night. Our dining experience (more below) may be a reflection of why it was empty on Friday. The place was pretty dead, but it meant that we got fast service.
The menu at Sakana was quite large. There was a long list of interesting appetizers, including deep friend green beans and an “avocado bomb”, so my girlfriend and I decided to mix up our routine a bit and order some new items. The avocado bomb was delicious. It was basically chopped crab with mayo and spices, wrapped in avocado slices and covered in a savory sauce. Other commenters on Yelp have mentioned that this is a unique and tasty item.
I highly recommend it! I'm on a keto diet right now, so I the fattiness of this appetizer was in my wheelhouse.
Unfortunately, that's where the enjoyment of the food stopped. The miso soup was lukewarm. The beef in the stir fried rice was chewy and bland. The fried green beans didn't impress us as expected, and the gyoza were forgettable. It was just a bland eating experience (with the exception of the avocado bomb of course.
Even the beer I ordered was bad. It tasted obviously old, like stale malt. Bottled on April 17, this IPA was definitely stale 9 months later in January. That's pretty bad considering it's a local brewery. I guess they don't sell a lot of beer here so it doesn't get cycled out. Bleh.
The sashimi was tasty! I enjoyed the thick, stout cuts of salmon. The presentation was pretty weak though. I'm no expert, but compared to what I've seen before, the fish looked dull. Normally I don't care about “looks” very much, but it just added to a stack of complaints about the food. My octopush sashimi was terrible as well. It was very chewy, and I wasn't expecting the vinegar taste. I'm not sure if that was intentional or not!
How Was The Service?
The service at Sakana was great. Everyone was very friendly, and the food came out fast. Our particular waitress was very charming, but she was new, and had to go back and forth to ask questions about our order.
However, I didn't like that the staff started cleaning up while we were still eating! We were about half way through our meal when they started their nightly cleanup duties. They started mopping about 10 minutes before we left, and I had to step through their slick floor to leave (almost slipping!). The lights were going out as we stepped out the door.
It felt very unfriendly and we felt like we were inconveniencing them to have to stay open “that late”. It was 8:30 on a Friday night and their hours, according to Google are to 9:30.
There are lots of decent places in Manteca, and even some great ones in the surrounding area. I can't recommend going to Sakana, except if you really want to try that avocado bomb.