Not the oldest Japanese restaurant in town by any means, Yokozuna Japanese Restaurant, which opened in 2001, has grown to three locations around our river city. A quick peek at their website and you see all the makings of what should be a good experience. There is the mention about fresh sashimi, high grade fish, crisp vegetables and the all important high grade sushi rice. On top of that, there is talk of the 20 years that owner Alan Demachi brings with him from his home in Japan. I have to wonder though, with three locations, how this man makes the most of every experience.
As we readied ourselves for a Sarah’s moms birthday dinner, it would appear that her craving for sushi was enough to book a table for 9 at Yokozuna last week. With the size of our group, we would have fit nicely into one of the restaurants tatami rooms. However, with Sarah’s grandmother coming along, the staff was nice enough to let us occupy half of their dining room. After some birthday gifts and congratulations, we set about ordering. I have to say everyone was game to conquer something different on the menu, and we ended up with quite the mix. Now I didn’t try all of the dishes, but sampled enough to know the table was happy. From the miso soup that accompanied a few combination’s to the mango ice cream at the end, here’s a snapshot of the table, with all but one dish missing as it became quite the challenge to photograph everything.
With Sarah’s family not interested in the raw side of the sushi experience, Sarah and I were left with some choices on our own. We shared a Sunomono Salad which was bright and refreshing, before conquering a solid and tasty portion of Beef Tataki. Sarah also ordered a Spicy Salmon Roll to compliment the growing selection of fried and fully cooked rolls already on the table. I went with the standard test dish, Chirashi, and it came with Egg, Sake, Tuna, Tai, Tako, Hokkigai, Hotate, Saba, Ebi. A pretty standard mix in the bowl, but I was a bit bummed to find a lack of seasonal vegetables and/or roe of some sort. One last thing, and while it it’s small, it became obvious from the first bite, I started to hope for a slightly wider bowl to accommodate some movement of fish, as I ended up with something’s falling out.
The one dish I missed photographing was the Chicken Udon, but let’s just pretend you can see it. As our table was slowly empting of food, I say back and realized it was actually pretty fun dining out with a group that prefers cooked foods. As a classic sushi fan, I’m so used to people consuming sashimi that I almost forget many still don’t like raw seafood. If there was one downside to the meal, it’s that everything came in very quick succession…except the Chicken Teriyaki and Beef Shoga. Those two dishes didn’t come out for some time, and we had done some major damage to the table before those dishes arrived, leaving two dinners playing catch up. For a birthday meal I’d say Yokozuna worked out just fine. And it’s a good thing that not everyone ordered the mango ice cream, because we were invited over for some cake..and who can turn down that!