Our reviewer enjoys a Valentine's dinner at this Holešovice superclub's Asian fusion eatery
I'd heard a lot of good things about Sasazu and, since Valentine's Day was approaching, I thought it'd be a good time to check out this Asian fusion joint.
We aimed to celebrate our day of love on Saturday the 13th and, frankly, I was surprised to find that the restaurant was completely booked except for 6pm or 9:30pm. With the latter time being far too late for an old-timer like myself, we chose the 6pm seating.
I was a bit wary of the location, which had always seemed a bit out of the way. SaSaZu is within Holešovická tržnice, a sprawling riverside market in Prague 7 where you can buy everything from cheap "designer labeled" clothes to your standard battery-operated waving cat. It was, however, surprisingly easy to reach -- we took the red line to Vltavská, from where every tram will take you the one stop. There's also free parking nearby but if you plan on drinking public transport is always the wise choice.
SaSaZu is in a converted warehouse but, upon entering the restaurant, you immediately forget you're in Pražská t?znice or even in Prague.
The decor is luxurious and beautifully executed. Massive bulb-shaped hanging lights, mirrors, red plush chairs and heavy teak tables make the space quite breathtaking.
The hostess checked our reservations, took our coats and showed us to our table.
If you're given the choice, I recommend the kitchen-view seating, which has a commanding view of the restaurant.
Upon opening the menu, I was struck by the fact that the meals weren't that expensive. And while it's an Asian menu, featuring sushi and other small dishes, the prices seemed very reasonable.
The waitress came over and immediately asked us if we'd been to SaSaZu, before. We said no, so she began to explain the concept of the menu. Essentially there are five distinct Asian cooking types on offer: Sambal, Otak Otak, Flame, Roti and Tai-Tai Grill. We asked about the portion sizes and decided that we would try and sample all five.
For starters we ordered the Yam Yam Soup, Indonesian Chicken Saté, Empire Saigon Roll and the Sasa Crispy Roll. For drinks we ordered a couple of glasses of Chardonnay and a bottle of water.
I have to say that as we waited for our meal the atmosphere was perfect. Low lighting, chill lounge music and a buzz of low conversation. This place is hip, no question about it, but not pretentious and the staff all seemed very pleasant, like they were enjoying what they were doing.
As each dish came out there was an explanation of what it was and how best to savor it.
The presentation was also fantastic, with big gray slate slabs for plates and a cool Asian bowl for the soup.
The Yam Yam soup arrived with the main ingredients -- seaweed, long thing mushrooms, noodles, a piece of fish and a large shrimp -- in a bowl, along with a separate pitcher of fish bouillon, which is poured over the main ingredients at your table.
It was delicious. All the ingredients were fresh and you could tell the fish broth had taken some time to make.
The Indonesian Chicken Saté was also good. The peanut sauce was tasty and the two skewered chicken pieces were cooked well.
The Empire Saigon rolls were actually two rolls of wrapped shrimp with mint and basil. These were great and came with a very interesting basil/mint/lime sauce.
I saved the Sasa Crispy Rolls for last and they were by far the best -- five rice-wrapped rolls with a black sesame crust.
The rolls were split in half with salmon on one side and tuna on the other. There was a sauce of thick soy and wasabi underneath, which you are encouraged to dip generously on to each bite.
It was very, very good. The fish was super fresh and a little warm, which was perfect. I highly recommend this as a starter.
We asked the waitress how big a few of the other dishes we were eyeing were and she assured us that they were small and manageable. She also gave us a full description of each, along with her take on which she thought was the best -- a nice touch which was not price-based.
We ordered the Hanoi Shrimps, Bombay Butter Chicken and the Stone Oven Crispy Duck. Once again, the presentation was immaculate and the portions were small but sufficient for a two-person sample.
The Hanoi Shrimps consisted of five Tempura-style fried shrimp in a rich,creamy sauce with a few snap beans and sweet potatoes. The shrimp were cooked to perfection -- still firm and juicy with a great light, crisp batter -- and the beans and sweet potatoes were tasty too, but the sauce stole the show. It was a rich and tasty dashi-cream sauce and we didn't leave a drop of it on the plate.
The Bombay Butter Chicken was also fantastic. There were three open-faced mini wraps on roti bread with the chicken, plus sauce and a little red onion. You could taste lime, yogurt and Indian spices. Once again the sauce was rich and delicious.
The last item we tried was the Stone Oven Crispy Duck, which was also amazing. Four small, juicy slices of Peking duck topped with Foie Gras and green onion with a side of cucumber. All would be placed on little mandarin pancakes. The duck was warm and succulent with a thick, sweet soy-based sauce. The Foie Gras was delicious and the taste of all the items together made for a mouthwatering experience.
We were pleasantly full at this point and although we were curious to see what all the other dishes tasted like, we decided to pass and move on to the dessert section.
They have a pretty interesting spread, including coconut Tiramisu and a cheese cake which the waitress assured us was delicious, but we chose the Sesame crème brulee. It was a perfect size for one, with a crispy top and some tasty fruit -- perhaps peach or apricot.
We relaxed for a bit, took in the chill vibe and ordered the check.
I was expecting a pretty hefty tab but was pleasantly surprised.
We left a generous tip and the whole bill was 2,050 CZK. One important note here is we only had a couple of glasses of wine, otherwise our bill would've been quite a bit higher. (Glasses start at 110 CZK each; bottles at 450 CZK.)
There's also the option of jumping next door to the club, a very cool space that reminded me of something you'd see in New York. They've get some pretty big live acts and DJs coming through so check their website for upcoming shows.
Overall, it's a thumbs-up for Sasazu, which is an ideal place for a romantic dinner, a business meal or a pre-party dining experience with friends.
Bubenské náb?. 306, Prague 7
Phone: (+420) 284 097 444
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