UPDATE: As of March 31, 2012, Yutaka has been closed for renovations.
My friend told me about a new Japanese fusion place that opened recently on Main St and suggested that I try it out while I was in town a couple of weeks ago. He organized a group of his friends to come out and chow with me so we would have the opportunity to try out more items.
The menu at Yutaka Japanese Cuisine is quite diverse. They offer a variety of Japanese-style tapas in addition to the typical sushi, sashimi, and special rolls. They also offer some robata (grilled) items as well as rice and noodle dishes.
We started off with the Salmon Carpaccio ($9.00), which was dressed with a balsamic sauce. The sweetness of the balsamic vinegar sauce paired nicely with the fresh salmon, which just melted in our mouths.
Next was the Age King Oyster Mushroom ($4.00). The mushroom pieces were coated in a light batter, deep-fried, and then tossed in a chili spice mixture similar to togarashi. This dish was a winner and definitely my favourite of the evening. The mushroom pieces were tender yet toothsome and had a really good mouth feel when I bit into it. I’d definitely be back to Yutaka to have this dish again.
Another signature dish we tried was the Pearl Chicken ($6.00). The Pearl Chicken consisted of chicken nuggets that were coated in Masago arare, which are crispy micro balls the size of snow pellets. These little crispy pellets are like the Japanese version of Rice Krispies. These little pearls of crispy rice are actually quite a novelty item here and have to be imported from Japan. I’ve only come across them once as a garnish on a salad by Kimura-san as part of an omakase dinner at Sushi Kimura last year. In this case, they provide a nice crispy coating to the tender chicken nuggets. The Pearl Chicken nuggets were served with some mayo topped with a togarashi spice mixutre.
The one dish I was really looking forward to try was the Ebi Filo ($5.00). It consisted of shrimp wrapped in shredded phyllo (filo) dough, deep-fried, and drizzled with a mildly spicy mayo sauce. This dish is a creative play on the typical spicy Ebi Mayo, which incidentally is also available at Yutaka as well. The finely shredded phyllo (filo) dough (also sometimes known as kataifi dough) is typically used in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern desserts, such as the Greek dessert kataifi, of which the dough is named after, or the Turkish dessert künefe. In this case, the phyllo dough worked really well to provide really crispy coating for the shrimp. I just wish the spicy mayo would have a bit more of a kick to it but otherwise, I really enjoyed this dish.
Next up was the Beef Stone Rice ($10.50). This was supposedly another signature item at Yutaka. It consisted of minced beef and a raw quail egg on top of a bed of spicy rice served in a hot stone bowl. Presentation-wise, this dish certainly looked intriguing as it was a cross between classic steak tartare and the Korean dolsot bibimbap. After being presented at the table, our server helped to mix everything up in the sizzling hot stone bowl.
After everything was well mixed, we let the beef and rice sit in the stone bowl so that the rice would become crispy from the hot stone bowl. Flavour-wise, the dish was quite spicy and sweet. The concept was good but I wish the flavours would be more balanced than just the sheer heat from the chili and overall, the dish was a bit too sweet for my liking.
I had heard great things about the Beef Enoki Mushroom ($6.00) skewers so I was really looking forward to try them. Flavour-wise I loved the skewers. I really enjoyed the texture that the enoki mushrooms provided. My only quibble was that the beef on this occasion was chewier than I would have preferred.
Next came the rolls. The first set consisted of the Buddy Roll ($8.50) and the Phoenix Roll ($10.50). The Buddy Roll consisted of special crunchy tuna, cream cheese and was topped with torched salmon. The Phoenix Roll consisted of smoked salmon, cream cheese, and avocado and was topped with slices of salmon and tobiko. Of the two, I preferred the Buddy Roll as I am a huge fan of torched/seared salmon and also because, I liked the contrasting textures from the special crunchy tuna filling.
We then tried the Sunrise Roll ($10.50) and the Fire Roll ($10.50). The Sunrise Roll consisted of deep-fried white fish and avocado and was topped with kani salad and slices of fresh mango. The Fire Roll was filled with special crunchy salmon and cream cheese and was topped with a crunchy scallop topping. Between the two, I enjoyed the Sunrise Roll more as I liked the contrasting flavours and textures, especially the refreshing slices of fresh mango.
Lastly, we finished off with an order of the Miso Black Cod ($12.75). This dish was just ok. The fish was perfectly cooked but flavour-wise, it wasn’t all the exciting.
Overall, I enjoyed our meal at Yutaka. The prices at Yutaka are actually quite reasonable and the service was great. I thought the standout dish was definitely the Age King Oyster Mushroom. My other favourties were the Pearl Chicken and the Ebi Filo. I’d definitely go back to have those items again.
Yutaka Japanese Asian Cuisine
4148 Main St