MURFREESBORO – Maybe
somewhere it is written: Man shall not live by burger and fries alone.
that injunction, the ‘Boro’s restaurant menu continues to expand with
the recent opening of a high-quality Japanese eatery with moderately
priced entrees – where Korean food is now also available.
Square’s Sakura (Japanese for “cherry blossom”) Japanese Restaurant
is owned by Korean-born Japanese cuisine chef James Han, who offers
traditional Japanese favorites like teriyaki steak and sushi on the menu,
but also serves up off-menu Korean dishes on request, like spicy Bulgoki
and Kim chi.
fact, the very customers often likely to special order Korean delicacies
are Japanese diners themselves, such as Nissan executives – no surprise
since Japanese and Korean food share some similarities.
only 120 Koreans counted in Murfreesboro in the 2000 census out of a then
city population of 68,816, the ‘Boro is probably not yet ready for a
full-fledged Korean restaurant, notes the Seoul-born Han, who came to
Middle Tennessee from San Francisco. There, he managed a Japanese
restaurant as part of a 33-year career as chef, manager and restaurateur.
Japanese restaurants, Han adds, are owned by Koreans, who have made it a
popular entrepreneurial niche for themselves.
the sushi at Sakura with a $1,000 trademark knife – the equivalent of a
professional musician’s instrument – is certified sushi chef Ken
Chang, hired in from Atlanta.
another option in the eternal quest by diners for alternatives,” said
Chang of the restaurant, whose sushi bar and dining tables are adorned by
wall-hung kimonos, ceiling lanterns, cherry blossoms, and an oriental
trestle at the entrance.