Sakura Sushi & Grill

The main road running east to west across the south side of Joplin is officially known by a number: 32nd Street. But, with the influx of popular sushi restaurants dotted along this thoroughfare, it might as well be called Sushi Street.


Anchored on the east side is Ichiban Sushi, with Han the Sushi Man located about midway, and the newest addition, Sakura Sushi & Grill, serving the west end.


For a city in the Ozarks, that’s pretty amazing.


sakura facade

Today I’d like to introduce you to the newest kid on Sushi Street: Sakura Sushi & Grill. Located in a strip mall just west of the Freeman Hospital complex, Sakura’s regular patrons include medical professionals and residents from the surrounding neighborhoods.


sakura bar

Inside, there’s a dining area with tables and booths, as well as a bar area (one of the waitresses here makes the best Lemon Drop Martini I’ve ever sipped).


I recently met my friend Carrie here for lunch, and ordered some hot tea.


sakura tea

For those of you looking for something stronger, Sakura serves sake, too (you can even order it cold, which sounds like an interesting drink on a hot summer day).


For an appetizer, we ordered edamame, a dish made from steamed young soybeans still in their pods.


sakura edamame

Sprinkled with salt, edamame becomes a highly addictive treat. Plus, it’s kind fun to pop the beans out of the pods, too.


I noticed that several people in the restaurant had ordered bento boxes for lunch. Here’s an example of one from Sakura’s menu.


sakura bento box


Bento boxes include a choice of one or two sushi rolls or stir-fried dishes, miso soup, a house salad, steamed rice, and edamame. It’s a lot a food for a reasonable price. Sakura offers dinner bento boxes, as well.


For my entree, I ordered the Green Goddess roll, which is a baked sushi roll that marries flavors from Japan and Mexico.


sakura green goddess

It’s filled with tempura shrimp, then topped with guacamole and tempura flakes. It sounds unusual, but it’s delicious!


Carrie, who is vegan, ordered the Vegetable Roll for her entrée. It was made with fresh cucumbers, avocados, and crunchy Japanese pickles.


sakura veggie roll

Look at that pretty roll.


At Sakura, there’s a variety of sushi rolls, either fresh or baked, to choose from. And for you purists out there who want to ditch the seaweed and other accompaniments that come in sushi rolls, there are many sashimi and nigiri options. Sashimi consists solely of pieces of fish or seafood, and nigiri is the same except the pieces of fish or seafood are served atop small mounds of rice.


But you don’t have to be a seafood lover to enjoy a meal at Sakura. Landlubbers can try entrees like Orange Chicken, BBQ Short Ribs, or Beef Teriyaki (Tofu Teriyaki, if you’re a vegetarian). And if you don’t have time to dine in at Sakura, you can order your food to go.


sakura logo


You’ll find first-rate, flavorful food and attentive service at Sakura. With the addition of this restaurant – the third quality sushi spot on this road – people might just start believing that 32nd Street (aka Sushi Street) leads directly to the ocean.


Sakura Sushi & Grill is located at 1802 W. 32nd Street, Suite K. Click here to follow Sakura on Facebook.


To read more about my adventures in the area, visit

Ichiban Sushi

Surprise! You can find a high quality restaurant in a strip mall.



Surprise! You can find an excellent sushi restaurant in the landlocked Midwest.



Surprise! You can find a restaurant that has had loyal customers for over a decade.



Surprise! You can find all of this at Ichiban Sushi, a Japanese restaurant in (surprise!) Joplin, Missouri.



This was the first sushi restaurant that I ever ate at in Joplin and, believe me, I was hesitant to do so. The idea of eating ocean fish in a strip mall, which was located in a part of the country where beef and pork dominate restaurant menus, was not very appealing to me. Still, people claimed that it was worth taking a chance on this hole-in-the-wall place, so I did.



It was worth it.



That was over ten years ago. Now, Ichiban is a restaurant that my husband and I visit on our date night, which works out well since our kids don’t like sushi anyway.



It’s also a fun place to meet my fellow sushi-eating friends for a girls’ night out, which is something I did recently with my friends Carrie and Erin.



We arrived around 5:30 p.m. on a Friday and there were two other tables occupied. By the time we left, nearly all the tables were filled. That shows you the kind of power that word-of-mouth advertising, plus internet reviews, has for Ichiban. While other restaurants may focus their resources on heavy media advertising or on elaborate buildings and decor, Ichiban focuses its energy on serving great food.



Let’s talk about this great food. I started my meal with a house salad, which contained crispy iceberg lettuce, crunchy carrots and red cabbage, and juicy tomatoes, topped with a refreshing dressing made with ginger and sesame.


ichiban salad


For an appetizer, Erin and I split an order of gyoza, pan-fried Japanese dumplings filled with ground pork and spices and served with a dipping sauce.


ichiban gyoza


It’s a good thing that I ordered the gyoza to take the edge off my hunger while I reviewed the sushi menu or I would have ordered more than I could eat. The portions here are very generous.



For instance, take the Thai Veggie roll that Carrie, my vegan friend, ordered.


ichiban thai veggie roll


This monstrous roll was stuffed with asparagus, broccoli, and Thai peanut sauce, then topped with jalapenos, cilantro, sriracha sauce, and crushed peanuts. This was not a roll that could be eaten in one bite, and Carrie struggled to figure out the best way to do it.


ichiban num


I ordered the TNT roll, which is an unusual sushi roll because it is served warm. It’s made with a California roll baked with Dynamite sauce and topped with masago, which is an orange roe that adds a crunchy “pop” when you eat it, exploding in your mouth like TNT.


ichiban tnt


Erin ordered the Sushi and Roll, which included tuna (three types), salmon, octopus, shrimp, unagi, and a couple more types of fish, plus a spicy tuna roll.


ichiban sushi and roll


Her platter was colorfully arranged like a masterpiece of art.


We ordered more rolls to split, like these mini rolls filled with shiitake mushrooms and avocados.


ichiban mini veggie


And the vegetarian version of sashimi: meaty Portobello Mushrooms, and Fried Tofu (which had a slightly sweet, dessert-like taste).


ichiban veggie sashimi


For those who don’t like sushi, Ichiban also serves cooked Japanese food like teriyaki dishes.



Carrie, Erin, and I were too full to order dessert that night, but I’ve heard wonderful things about Ichiban’s Tiger Chocolate Cake which contains layers of milk and white chocolate and is served with a secret sauce.



Surprise! Chocolate cake at a Japanese restaurant.



I love surprises.



Ichiban Sushi is located at 2914 E. 32nd St.



To read more about my adventures in the area, visit