For those who’ve been yearning to travel to Japan since its borders reopened last fall, a slice of Japanese cafe culture has landed on Adams Avenue with the arrival of Hatsuzakura, which debuts to the general public on Wednesday, July 5.
Prior to opening the cafe, proprietor Sakura Kadoya worked next door at Soichi Sushi, the Michelin-starred sushi bar owned by her parents. Created in partnership with co-owner Reymond Palisoc, Hatsuzakura is an updated take on the Japanese kissaten, a retro tea house, serving classic desserts and snacks as well as casual, homestyle dishes popularized by famiresu, or “family restaurants” that proliferate in Japan.
Kadoya’s master sushi chef father consulted on the menu, which features his recipe for karaage, or Japanese-style fried chicken, along with comfort food ranging from yakisoba and omurice to fusion dishes like Napolitan — spaghetti in a sweet tomato sauce with bacon — and doria, a baked gratin of buttered rice smothered in cream sauce and cheese that comes with either shrimp or chicken. There are also onigiri and Japanese sandos.
The homemade sweets include kakigori — Japanese shaved ice topped with matcha or fresh fruit — along with mochi ice cream, custard pudding with caramel sauce, skewered glutinous rice flour dumplings called dango, and anmitsu, a chilled dessert of jelly, fruit, and red bean paste. The all-day cafe also offers wine and beer, plus drinks like hojicha lattes and melon soda floats.
Hatsuzakara, 2123 Adams Avenue, University Heights. Tuesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.