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Yi Cuisine Report

JudiAU | Sep 7, 2004 09:27 PM

My husband and I tried Yi Cuisine, the restaurant which replaced Tahiti on Third Street. We ate at the bar. My husband was in a fun cocktail/pu pu platter sort of mood so we weren't searching for the wholly grail of authenticity.

Massive overhaul of the space. Very pretty inside. Pretentious "theme" elaborated on the first page of the menu makes me groan but I enjoy myself immensely mercilessly deconstructing the menu. Menu descriptions seem to be words strung together randomly. Caviar gratinee? Ponzu aioli? Tartare tataki?

Husband orders a "My Lai" cocktail which is supposed to be similar to a Mai Ti. Quite possibly one of the worst named drinks of this century. Not very good. Too sweet and tastes strongly of Malibu rum. I have an interesting Australian rose sparkling wine.

We try three dishes: kobe beef tartare tataki on caramelized rice cake, sticky baby back pork ribs, tempura broccolini with ponzu aioli. We are quite alarmed when we are asked how we want our tartare cooked. We order it rare and hope for the best.

"kobe beef tartare tataki on caramelized rice cake" turns out to be lightly seared chopped beef on top of a rice cake. Beef is tender and fatty/luscious but has a very mild beef flavor and delicate texture that is overwhelmed by the crispy rice cake. Rice cake is the best part of any of the dishes. We still can't figure out how it is either a tataki or a tartare.

Pork ribs were very tender, in fact they were braised so long most of the meat has fallen off the bones into sodden little humps around "picked clean" bones. Not pretty. The sauce is not so terribly sweet but the meat is drenched in it so we are unhappy. We receive lemons and towels to clean our hands but instead squeeze desperately at the lemon to help out the ribs.

Broccolini is a bad choice for tempura. It ended up being 3/5 tempura batter because the little "branches" sucked up a lot of batter. Tastes unsalted. "Ponzu aioli" turns out to be a greasy, flavorless mayonnaise. We are very, very sad that we used all of our lemon on the ribs.

7910 w. Third Street
323-658-8028

We had a drink later at La Terza. Next dinner out: Pasta with braised beef cheeks and spit roasted duck!

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