How many times have you driven by SakÉ-Tumi on Court Street in Binghamton? If you're like me, probably several dozen, but have you ever stopped in? I hadn't either...until yesterday.

Binghamton Restaurant Week is happening now through this Thursday, April 10th. If there’s a local restaurant you’ve wanted to check out, but haven’t yet, this is the time to do it because not only will you be able to enjoy a multi-course meal at a discounted price, but a portion of the proceeds benefit local community organizations.

I'm all about trying new things, so was really excited to check out SakÉ-Tumi. SakÉ-Tumi is located at 71 Court Street in Binghamton. There are a few parking spaces available in front of the restaurant, but to be on the safe side, you might want to think about parking in the State Street parking ramp and walking the half a block to the restaurant.

The first thing I noticed when I walked into SakÉ-Tumi was the decor. Red is my favorite color, so my eyes were pulled in all directions as soon as I walked through the doors. The restaurant is decorated in red and black with beautiful black and white paintings on the walls. Oh, and the chandeliers? They're a twist between classic and modern and black. I've definitely got chandelier envy!

I was greeted as though I were a long lost friend and found myself sitting at a quaint table by the big window in the front of the restaurant. Christine and Andrew own SakÉ-Tumi and the mom of Christine, or Chrissy as her friend's call her, was my server. Kathy goes by the name "just the mom" an inside joke among employees and friends I suppose, but I thought that it was cute.

Before I could even place my order, I was surprised with a spicy crab salad. I have to tell you, I'm not a big seafood eater. Shrimp and steamed hard shell crabs (the kind you buy by the bushel) are about as adventurous as I get. But the spicy crab salad was mind blowing good. It was prepared with care by Sushi chef Floyd who owned his own restaurant in New York City for 21 years.

If you're planning to visit SakÉ-Tumi for lunch during restaurant week, stretchy pants might be a good idea. The meal starts with miso soup, a house salad made with homemade ginger dressing and a pork egg roll. The egg roll was the very best that I've ever had anywhere. I think the magic behind it is that rather than buying their egg rolls frozen in bulk, each is made by hand by head chef Jordon.

I wasn't quite ready to try the sushi, but I heard rave reviews. As a matter of fact, while I was enjoying lunch, a man named Don came in. Don is from San Jose, California where they know a thing or two about sushi. Don is teaching yoga locally and said that he'd already visited SakÉ-Tumi several times because their sushi is the best that he's ever had.

It's hard to believe that with as much as I love Asian food, I've never had Pad Thai, so that's what I decided on for my main course. I opted not to add meat to the dish. The serving size was so ginormous that I couldn't even finish half of it and I'll tell you what- it was delicious! If you've never had it, Pad Thai is a Thai noodle dish made from stir fried rice noodles with ingredients including egg, peanuts, shallots, bean sprouts, and a choice of meat.

As a snack, I was given edamame. I second "just the mom" Kathy's statement: "I can devour them like popcorn." Not familiar with edamame? Edamame is young soybeans.  Because the beans are young and green when they're picked, edamame soybeans are soft, not hard and dry like the mature soybeans which are used to make soy milk and tofu. To eat edamame, you place the pod at your mouth, then squeeze or bite the beans into your mouth. You don't eat the pod, just the edamame beans inside.

Just before I left, "just the mom" Kathy surprised me with a to-go box filled with cashew chicken, which is spicy chicken with Thai chili sauce, cashews, onions, bell peppers & red peppers served over a bed of jasmine rice. She told me it's a dish that people who dine there regularly rave over. I don't have a picture to show you because I devoured it for dinner last night and it's definitely worth every bit of rave it gets!

Whether you're a fan of sushi, Asian cuisine or are just looking for a friendly and cozy place downtown to grab a bite, I highly recommend SakÉ-Tumi. In addition to the Pad Thai I tried and the cashew chicken sent home with me, SakÉ-Tumi also offers these types of sushi during Restaurant Week (I think I'll try the Veggie Futo next time I go!):

California Roll- crab, cucumber, avocado & masago
Philadelphia- crab, cream cheese, avocado & masago
JB (Japanese Bagel) Roll- asparagus tempura in smoked salmon & cream cheese
Tuna/Salmon/Yellowtail Roll
Unagi Roll- baked fresh water eel and cucumber & sesame seed
Veggie Futo- cucumber, shiitake mushroom, asparagus, apple, tamago with sesame seed
Shrimp Asparagus-pickled shrimp, asparagus & mint leaves in wasabi tobiko
Shrimp Tempura Roll-shrimp tempura, cream cheese, masago & sesame seed

Learn more about SakÉ-Tumi and about Binghamton Restaurant Week (don't forget that it ends Thursday April 10th!) here.