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Sake House has the shimmy and the sashimi

New sushi restaurant at Fountains also has dance club scene
By: Raheem Hosseini Special to the Press Tribune
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A white stretch limousine sat idling at the narrow, curved mouth of the street waiting for the black one before it to navigate a tortuous six-point turn in a quiet nook of The Fountains in Roseville. The city’s retail Mecca better get used to an influx of glamour now that Sake House is open. A unique pairing of upscale sushi restaurant and posh nightclub, the latest venture from Sacramento nightclub maven Bob Simpson and restaurateur Randy Paragary had its grand opening Jan. 28. “Opening night of a restaurant is one of the most exciting parts of the restaurant business,” Paragary said. “It’s the culmination of all that creativity that went into the effort. … It’s just as exciting for me as it was probably 10 restaurants ago or 20 restaurants ago.” At the opening, diners praised the free sushi rolls and sashimi samplers created by chef Lee Eao and executive consultant Billy Ngo, owner of Kru and Red Lotus restaurants. “I thought the sushi was great,” said Folsom resident Cody Bauer, who works at the Roseville West branch of Union Bank and attended the opening with some friends. Bauer especially liked the hamachi rolls stuffed with farmed yellowtail. There was steady traffic at the steel and marble bar designed, along with the rest of the atmospheric interior, by Bruce Benning. On the recent opening night, the crowd consisted of well-dressed professionals chatting about development proposals and more innocuous topics. Operators are hoping to make the business a fine dining and night-time destination spot for locals who normally have to travel downtown to dance. That effort began roughly a year ago when Simpson, a nightlife mogul in downtown Sacramento known for his clubs Empire and Social, brought the idea to his business partner in those ventures, Paragary. Able to confirm interest from developers in having a restaurant-nightclub hybrid anchor the center of Roseville’s retail shopping destination, things moved relatively quickly from there. The owners secured a trifecta of liquor license and building and entertainment permits — what Paragary calls a “pioneering” effort outside of old Roseville — and turned an empty building with exposed wooden beams into a space buttressed by zebra wood and bathed in atmospheric lava lamp hues. The dual-purpose establishment is something of a rarity outside of Los Angeles, and the first Roseville place to shimmy and shake outside of the city’s downtown bars and clubs district. But Paragary, no stranger to success, thinks it has a good chance of working. “The Fountains didn’t have that specific style of restaurant,” Paragary said. “Sushi kind of has a rock ‘n’ roll energy. It’s the perfect style of cuisines to go with a nightclub aspect.” The comparatively intimate Sake House is permitted to occupy 250 people, compared to the thousand that a club like Empire or The Park can accommodate. “We don’t need to have those kinds of numbers to be successful,” Paragary said. While the nightclub aspect has garnered the most attention, Paragary has no illusions about what will keep Sake House’s doors open. “First and foremost, we are a restaurant,” he said, adding that Sake House’s longevity will depend on creating consistently vibrant dishes and winning over a local following. Of course, having a sleek dance floor with state of the art sound and lighting that comes alive at 10 p.m. doesn’t hurt either. “Without us, until Dave & Buster’s opens, the sidewalks roll up at 9 ‘o clock,” Paragary said. “This makes it a little more like a city, not just a suburban or retail area.” ---------- Sake House What: Sushi restaurant and nightclub Where: 1017 Galleria Blvd. #160 in The Fountains Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays; 11:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays. Info: (916) 782-5040