37 W Crescent Blvd
Collingswood, NJ 08108
When I heard about Sagami, I envisioned a large Hibachi-style Japanese place with a new fancy façade and the whole nine. I couldn’t have been further from the truth. I wanted something light last Sunday in order to balance out the pathetic amount of fast food I consumed that morning at Sonic after a camping trip to Maple Grove Raceway. Sagami came to mind, and it HAD been on my list so I made the trek to the dirty Jerz. Although it is a bit difficult to find, as it is a very non-descript building with few windows off of a main through fare in Collingswood, it was like finding a pearl inside of an oyster.
When you walk in, the ceiling is about six and a half feet high, and the aged wood and nautical theme feels like you are walking into a Long John Silver’s in the 70’s. There is a sushi bar directly on the right and it is manned with four chefs who looked very Japanese and very professional. It smelled distinctly like fresh fish. We sat down and checked out the menu. Being my first time, I didn’t opt for anything too adventurous. I am not going to order sea urchin on my first go around. We got a seaweed salad that was perfectly marinated in a sumptuous dressing that involved citrus, sesame and miso I believe. It was extremely refreshing on a hot summer day. For an appetizer, we ordered the Negimaki, which consisted of thinly sliced beef rolled around green onion, grilled and served atop a ponzu style sauce. It was quite tasty, though I don’t think I would order it again.
The reason I would not order said appetizer is that the next and every other time I go to Sagami, I am ordering nothing but fish. Not that the other food didn’t look great, but this place put out some of the best sushi I have ever tasted. Not that the Maki rolls were that stellar (too much rice), but the fish was unbelievable. The only time I have eaten fish that fresh was at a little shop in Sherman Oaks. The owner was the main importer of fish for Los Angeles sushi restaurants, and he kept the prize cuts for himself. This fish was on par. Seriously.
We opted for a traditional (Americanized) assortment of maki: Softshell Crab Roll, Spicy Tuna with Avocado, Yellowtail with Scallions, and Philly Roll (to represent!). The rolls were average sized and looked just like any other decent sushi joint. But my lord, the fish literally melted with each bite. It was outstanding. They really know their fish at Sagami, and next time, I am going to sit at the bar and let them decide what to serve me. It will not be too far in the future, either.