IN THE KITCHEN Sapa, a Japanese and Asian fusion restaurant with a major focus on sushi, opened in December in the space formerly occupied by Zendo Asian Bistro and Lounge at the Hingham Shipyard. The new owners, Michael Truong and two undisclosed partners, had been looking for a location for three years — and once they found it they barely changed a thing.
The expansive dining room seats 150 indoors (and 45 on the patio when nice weather arrives) and looks remarkably like the old Zendo. Sapa’s manager, Lesa Tu, confirms that the new owners freshened up and repainted, but left most of the existing décor in place. The result is a lovely space with high ceilings, clean lines, and flattering lighting.
Two of the chefs also remain: sushi chef Luc and non-sushi chef Bao — each of whom has a team of two other chefs. There’s a long bar next to the sushi station for those who enjoy watching their food being prepared with much finesse. Sapa also has two hibachi tables, which are available by reservation on Friday and Saturday nights to parties of four or more who appreciate the knife and flame skills, and banter, of the hibachi chef cooking in front of them.
THE LOCALE Sapa is set in a cluster of restaurants at the 10-year-old Hingham Shipyard, next to the movie theater and surrounded by two successful Wahlberg places — the upscale Alma Nove and hamburger purveyor Wahlburgers — a nice pizza place, a frozen yogurt shop, Hingham BeerWorks, and local restaurateur Brian Houlihan’s Trident Galley and Raw Bar.
“All the entrepreneurs here are very supportive of new businesses,” Tu said. And the aromas wafting into the air are enticing to anyone walking by.
Sapa is open daily for lunch and dinner, and, so far, lunchtime has been slow, Tu said. She said the restaurant is exploring ways to bring in moviegoers, ferry commuters, and those who live in the shipyard’s apartments and condominiums, as well as planning more takeout and delivery. Tu said Sapa also has applied for an entertainment license for the summer.
ON THE MENU Sushi rules at Sapa, where the sushi bar menu runs for pages — everything from fatty tuna rolls to poached octopus to kamikaze rolls ($17) of eel, cucumber, shrimp, flying fish roe and spicy mayo and sweet soy sauce. On Tuesdays, Sapa offers all-you-can-eat sushi, 12 varieties, for $28 a person.
Entrees include sushi choices as well as seafood, beef, chicken, duck, and vegetarian plates. For dinner, we had the walnut shrimp ($26), a delicious mound of fat, lightly battered shrimp served with steamed broccoli and honey-glazed walnuts on a bed of coconut rice. Equally yummy was the teriyaki panku tofu served sizzling with garlic buttered fried rice in a hot clay pot. ($16)
We also enjoyed the breadth of the appetizer list, appreciating the lightness of the salt-and-pepper vegetable tempura ($12) and the tenderness of the teriyaki beef skewers ($10).
Sapa has a nice selection of cocktails, wines and beer. There is ample parking and the restaurant is handicapped accessible.
Sapa, 25 Shipyard Drive, Hingham; 781-749-1620; sapahingham.com.
Johanna Seltz can be reached at [email protected].