Alpine cuisine usually involves lots of melted cheese, dried meats, heavy cream, pungent garlic - but sushi?! If you’re looking for something a bit different from the usual gut-busting Savoyard experience then a night out at Satsuki will hit the spot.
We piled into the last remaining table yesterday evening; it’s only a small restaurant and booking ahead is always advised - it’s very popular with locals as well as tourists, so it can even be busy in the off-season. When we arrived shortly after 8pm they were busy but ticking over nicely, with the staff as polite and efficient as ever. They took our drinks order and left us for a few minutes to look over the menu and make our choices.
Sipping on a cold Kirin beer I opted for miso soup to start, followed by maki and ganmo - it appeared to be a popular choice as at least half of our table ordered pretty much the same thing!
The menu offers a good range of choices, with lots of salads and side dishes to accompany your main meal. As well as a selection of all the usual items such as maki, sashimi, California rolls, etc, they also have quite a few hot dishes of tempura fried fish, meat, vegetables and tofu as well as udon and soba noodle bowls - which I’ve had before and were delicious. If raw fish isn’t your thing then there’s plenty else to make your mouth water.
I’m never quite sure with Japanese food what constitutes a starter and what is a main course, so I always run the gamble of not ordering enough or ending up with way too much. The good thing about dining in a group is that you can always pool the extras and have a little buffet to share between you.
The miso soup was lovely, well seasoned but not too salty and swimming with little bits of softened cabbage and cubes of tofu. I’d never had the ganmo before and only ordered it because of the way one of my friends raves about it - so it had a fair bit to live up to. The description on the menu is “fried bean curd and vegetables”, illustrated by a tiny photo of some little round beige things. The reality was one of the nicest things I’ve eaten in a long while - the bean curd was so tender and well-seasoned, flecked with little morsels of vegetables and glazed with a slightly sweet sticky sauce. Nothing like what I usually expect tofu to be - I guarantee that any tofu-haters out there will be converted by this dish.
The maki was also a success, compact little rolls of sticky rice containing avocado, cucumber and carrot, just the right size to pop into your mouth without having to do that tricky manoeuvre of trying to bite it in half without it all falling to pieces. I went for the vegetarian maki but there was also plenty of salmon, tuna, surimi and spicy options to try - which went down well with the other girls. All the plates were served with a little dollop of quite fierce wasabi and a few strips of pickled ginger on the side.
Another thing that always confuses me about Japanese food is how something so light and healthy tasting can fill you up so much - it never seems like a lot of food when I’m eating it but I’ve never yet had space for dessert. So, the delights of green tea cheesecake and crème zenzai remain a mystery to me. Maybe next time…
One thing to note when visiting Satsuki is the toilets. On first glance they appear to be normal, well kept WCs. But then you sit down and see the panel at eye level on the wall next to you. The panel with buttons marked with things like “rear cleansing”, “dryer”, and most worryingly of all, “oscillating”. I’ve only ever heard of the word “oscillating” in relation to electric toothbrushes, so I’m certainly not pressing that button. In fact, so scared am I at the thought of emerging from the ladies looking like I’ve been through a carwash that I won’t be pressing any of the buttons. Although my friend, who visits the toilets often and presses all the buttons, says there’s nothing to worry about and I should give it a whirl. Again, maybe next time...
Our dinner for six including a few beers and soft drinks came to just under 120€ - not bad at all for excellent food, good service and, of course, those exciting toilets.
Location: Chamonix - Centre
Cuisine: Asian / Fusion | International | Japanese | Sushi | Take Away | Vegetarian
Vibe / Atmosphere: Modern
Access: Children welcome | Pedestrian access
Open Seasons: Spring | Summer | Autumn | Winter
Address: Chamonix Mont Blanc 74400 France Chamonix - Centre |