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Feasts in a Flash

Whether your go-to is shrimp, salmon, steak, chicken, noodles or ramen, you'll love Saku Japan's unyielding commitment to great food, service, and attitude.

Donna Leahey
Sarah Eliza Roberts
April 28, 2019

Japanese cuisine is booming all over Tulsa. Ramen, noodle bowls, fusion — we can’t get enough of it. And who doesn’t love hibachi? Flavorful grilled meats, fresh vegetables, perfectly cooked, hot and delicious. The only downside is the time commitment. And having to leave the couch.

Restaurateur JoJo Chen has helped solve the first of those problems with Saku Japan Hibachi and Ramen in south Tulsa. Convenient and affordable, Saku Japan is excellent for dine-in or takeout. You still have to leave your couch, but you’ll be back home with your hot and tasty takeout while your spot is still warm.

Chen knows hibachi. He’s got more than 15 years in the restaurant business, starting at Mount Fuji in New Jersey before bringing his culinary talents to Oklahoma. “I like Oklahoma,” Chen says. “The people are nice here.”

Steak and Chicken Hibachi with Fried Rice (Photo: Marc Rains)
Steak and Chicken Hibachi with Fried Rice (Photo: Marc Rains)

Saku Japan is Chen’s third venture in Oklahoma. He also owns Ichiban Japanese Steakhouse and Sushi Bar in Owasso and Soho Japanese Steakhouse in Bartlesville.

Saku Japan is a unique space at the corner of 71st Street and Memorial Drive. The furnishings have a distinctly industrial feel to them, set off by the Japanese mural above the counter and the three colorful lucky cat sculptures at the register. Colorful banners and flags add bright accents to the already friendly atmosphere.

Chen’s inspiration for Saku Japan was simple. “Hibachi, but no time to sit. Grab and go,” he says. It’s express service, but that doesn’t mean it’s not great quality. “Everything we do is like fine-dining hibachi,” says Chen. “Good quality at a good price.”

Saku Japan offers its signature hibachi with vegetables, chicken, shrimp, salmon, calamari, scallop, Angus beef New York strip or Angus beef filet mignon. It’s served with hibachi vegetables including zucchini, broccoli, onions, and mushrooms as well as your choice of steamed rice, fried rice, or noodles. They use only the best ingredients, fresh and high quality.

All of the hibachi items are fantastic. “Asian people like the seafood,” says Chen. “Americans prefer the chicken and steak.”

Onion Rings, Wontons and Squid (Photo: Marc Rains)
Onion Rings, Wontons and Squid (Photo: Marc Rains)

The salmon is a special treat, prepared with a slightly sweet glaze and cooked just right. The delicate flavor of the salmon is enhanced nicely by the sauce and the hibachi veggies which makes it a perfect meal. If you choose the shrimp, be confident that you are getting a generous portion, cooked just right and seasoned deftly. The chicken is cooked to a tender and flavorful perfection while the steak — oh, the steak. The steak is nicely seared and sure to satisfy any beef-lover’s hankering. If you can’t decide which you prefer, Saku Japan offers a chicken combo or a steak combo, with a portion of chicken or steak served alongside your choice of shrimp, salmon, or calamari.

While the hibachi is the star of the show, Saku Japan has plenty of offerings for you to consider. To start your meal, there’s a nice selection of small plates like the traditional edamame or spring egg rolls. You can enjoy steamed dumplings, shrimp tempura, or a delicious crabcake. The crab wontons are an especially good choice. The filling is creamy and tart with a wonton wrapper fried nicely crisp. You’ll keep reaching for them; they’re so good. The fried calamari is another good choice, fried to a delightfully light crunch and served with a pair of dipping sauces. The spicy tako salad is an octopus salad in a sweet sauce with a subtle hint of sesame. The cheese mushroom, though, may be the standout star of the small plate menu. Saku Japan takes a mushroom cap and stuffs it with a rich, creamy, cheesy mixture with masago and crab, then coats it in tempura batter and fries it crisp. You won’t believe how delicious this little mouthful of heaven is.

If you’re looking for comfort food, Saku Japan offers traditional ramen. You can choose from the four traditional broths: salt broth, soy sauce broth, miso based, or pork-based toroniku broth. Each broth is lovingly made in-house and served with your choice of chicken, shrimp, or pork. The presentation is beautiful, and the serving size is generous.

If you want to get your chopsticks on some noodles, Saku Japan offers a selection of stir-fried rice and noodles. You can choose udon, lo mein, nutty buckwheat soba, or fried rice. Saku Japan fries your noodles or rice up hot and flavorful with your choice of chicken, shrimp, beef, or vegetables.

Saku Japan
8216 E. 71st St. | Tulsa
Monday-Thursday: 10:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m.
Friday-Saturday: 10:30 a.m.-10 p.m.
Sunday: 10:30 a.m.-9 p.m.