Yoshis Japanese Restaurant Reviewed November / December 2009
Yoshis Japanese Restaurant at The Saltmills
A virtuoso of creativity, Chef Yoshi Ono has repeatedly demonstrated and proven his natural and unrivaled talent to turn food into an absolute art form. His pursuit of perfection is unrelenting, fuelled by an inherent desire to continually create. He has become a veritable household name since opening Matsuri Sushi Bar at Graceway House in January 2005, followed by Yoshis Japanese Restaurant at The Saltmills in May 2007. Hip, trendy, yet casual, Matsuri Sushi Bar continues to be a popular and celebrated island hotspot for Provo’s flourishing sushi aficionados... while at Yoshis, a stylish, exotic, yet relaxed dining vibe sets the scene, where his loyal and devout following frequently succumb to their yen for that same world–class sushi and an expanded menu featuring authentic Japanese cuisine.
Special Roll — Kamikaze Roll
Together with his wife and her vibrant sense of style, they have created an absolutely original and avant–garde dining ambiance with a pulsating atmosphere and stimulating edge. Servers attired in eye–catching black and white kimono–style silk dresses suggest an elegant Eastern aura, while the illusions of ‘dancing flames’ exude a bold and enigmatic panache against a dramatic backdrop of vivid orange walls and ceilings. Clean, uncluttered lines define the striking ebony black bar that features illuminated ‘place settings’ that take on an ethereal glow in the evenings, with the playful effects of black lights and paper lanterns. Less is more with minimalist accents and natural furnishings of bamboo tables and chairs. Outdoors, take pleasure in al fresco dining beneath palms wrapped in lights and shade sails of deep maroon.
Sashimi Selection at Yoshis
Our dining consortium takes pleasure in dining at Yoshis on a habitual basis. Quite simply, Yoshis’ culinary creations are habit–forming, necessitating routine visits for a ‘fix’ of our many favourite sushi dishes. This particular evening, we enthusiastically and collectively agreed to experience as many ‘new’ menu items as we possibly could.
Wagyu Steak Dinner and Wagyu Tataki Appetiser
Over 100 menu items makes one delirious with decision–making. If you’re visiting these islands between August 1st and March 31st good fortune is yours indeed with the propitious opportunity of experiencing Chef Yoshi’s succulent lobster creations. We began with a starter of Lobster Dumplings (#20). These delicious morsels were incredibly crunchy on the outside with moist and tender minced lobster and roe stuffed inside and served with a sweet chili dipping sauce that packed a pleasurable bite. A stunning floral presentation of very thinly sliced raw fish arrived in the form of Sashimi Blossom (#4) featuring white tuna, red tuna, salmon and yellowtail snapper and Chef’s Special Sauce. Invigorating and fresh, the sashimi simply melted in your mouth. The white tuna was a new one for us, also called ‘escolar’, the very delicate yet rich flavour was even further enhanced by Yoshi’s famous Ginger Dressing (it’s absolutely addictive), chopped scallions and roe – those marvelous and almost luminous tiny fish eggs that literally burst in your mouth engulfing it with flavour – unanimously agreeing that we could eat roe by the bucket!
Special Roll — Rainbow Roll
Gasps of delight and awe proliferated from our table as our sushi boat secured its mooring... followed by an unreserved free–for–all as a flurry of animated chopsticks greedily assailed the incredible, edible vessel! Bowls of soya sauce were in position and at the ready with individualized intensities of heat compliments of the wasabi along with heaps of refreshingly cool and delectable pickled ginger. If size matters and you’re looking for a hefty roll, the Lobster Tempura Roll will not disappoint. A colossal creation with big chunks of lobster ‘so large you can actually taste the lobster’ was loaded with masago (capelin roe), rich and buttery avocado and crunchy cucumber making this eating endeavour a two–bite maneuver! Spicy Scallop (#148) was a delicious roll of minced scallops, crispy cucumber, invigorating scallions and spicy sauce prepared ‘uramaki’ style (inside–out) with the sushi rice on the outside – a layer of black and white sesame seeds added a great nutty flavour. It’s no surprise that Chef Yoshi comes out with some of the most innovative and ingenious sushi creations imaginable, but he also has a knack for coming up with some of the most peculiar names. Take for example, Garlic Kamikaze (#179). This superb sushi creation falls under the realms of ‘Special Rolls’ and ‘special’ it certainly was! With a choice of snow crab or lobster (in season) we opted for the crab – delicate and succulent flakes of crab with cucumber, avocado, scallion, roe and spicy sauce this tantalising treat was deep–fried with panko – Japanese bread crumbs with an almost airy texture that bring about the most incredible crunchiness, yet still taste incredibly light. If ‘Kamikaze’ relates to some sort of ‘search and destroy’ mission, we were unquestionably victorious! I decided to save the undisputed hit of the evening for last. By no means do I intend to negate any of our previously depicted sushi delights as we loved them all, but this particular Special Roll had an irresistible edge. The ingredients were simple and unambiguous – fresh fish, cream cheese, scallion, roe and spicy sauce – again, deep–fried in that ever so light and crispy panko... but the ensuing taste sensation of Garlic Rock ‘n Roll (#184) was anything but! Fervently passionate and almost bordering on the fanatical we all couldn’t help but rave over this one. Powerful, dominant and intense garlic flavours – but not over the top, “fantastic!” If you were only to order one item from the menu, without a doubt, this is it!
Fish and Seaweed Salad
In addition to his incredibly original and imaginative food menu items, Yoshi has turned a perceptible focus towards libations as well. Check out the bar menu featuring his Top 10 Cocktails, hot and cold sake, several Japanese beers, Shochu – a distinctive product of Japan similar to vodka and a pleasing selection of white and red wines. After initially considering a Pinot Grigio that promised to match exceptionally well with all types of sushi and light seafood, the women opted for a Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc. Powerfully fragrant and intensely zesty the clean and crisp flavours were a great pairing in the company of all of our menu selections. The men went for the ‘wheat beer’ flavours of Kirin Ichiban, recognizing and professing equal enjoyment with their match.
Lunch or Dinner Box Set Meals includes Miso Soup
Sweet endings from the East include green tea or red bean ice–cream, dessert mainstays on Yoshis’ menu. But for those of you with a predilection for the more decadent (aka chocoholic) be tempted and enticed by the Deep–Fried Ice–Cream Tempura. Layers of flavours, textures and temperatures, drizzled in chocolate sauce... quite possibly yin and yang in perfect balance! I think so!
Executive Chef and Owner Yoshi Ono
For those of you who may be timid or shy about sushi, or for those who perhaps harbour the misguided conception that all sushi is raw, Yoshis’ comprehensive and all–embracing menu is certain to quash any fears or reservations. Appetisers, salads, soups, sushi and special rolls, set dinners, Bento box set meals, grilled entrees including Wagyu beef plus desserts and also great lunch specials... cooked and raw... there is no need to be apprehensive... only adventurous!
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