New sushi restaurant is a family affair
A local couple bring the flavors of the Orient to Spokane Valley with their new restaurant called Sushi Sakai.
Jae-Eob and Shae Jeon opened Sushi Sakai May 7, after giving the restaurant interior a makeover from its previous atmosphere of a European cafe. Now, the name provides clues to what customers can expect inside – a sushi bar, wait staff in kimonos and a relaxed family atmosphere filled with Korean spices.
Jae-Eob, who also goes by James, is a licensed sushi chef in his native homeland of Korea, where he was a restaurateur for 15 years. He relocated in 2005 to be near family in the Inland Northwest.
He worked as the sushi chef at a restaurant in Pullman where he met Shae. They married in 2009.
Now, together they boast a menu that includes a variety of sushi selections and about 40 different rolls, as well as many Korean entrees including teriyaki and tempura items, noodle dishes and soups.
Typical roll prices range from $3.95 to $12.95 and include 6 to 8 pieces. The chef suggests the $15.95 Bento Box order as a good first-time order, as it comes with a selection of sushi, sashima and tempura choices and seaweed salad. Sushi orders include raw or cooked fish options.
Extended family also work at the restaurant, including Jae-Eob’s parents, Myung and Eun Jeon. His mother brings some 40 years of restaurateur experience and recipes as she also owned a restaurant in Korea. Brother Jae-Kyung Jeon is head chef.
Sushi Sakai is open for lunch and dinner and can accommodate large groups and to-go orders. The restaurant seats 51 customers. In recent weeks, the couple says Friday nights have been busiest with a wait of about 20 minutes during the dinner hours. They plan to expand the seating area in stages. Those who find seats along the bar area can watch Jae-Eob prepare the fish – including salmon and tuna and even sea urchin for sushi selections and rolls.
The sushi chef is particular about his ingredients – ensuring they are the freshest. And he takes special care slicing the fish, combining flavors and overall presentation.
“When people come to our restaurant, he will always be their sushi chef,” says his wife. “He’s the owner so he has a vested interest in making sure your food is good.”
So far the couple have had customers new to eating sushi and others very experienced with it. They have seen many return with family and friends, and say they are looking forward to sharing their cuisine with Spokane Valley.