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Restaurants & Bars 4

Restaurant Yasu in SJ J-town (review, long)

Jinks | Jun 17, 200502:18 PM

Thanks to Altair, I went to check out Yasu's in San Jose's J town. Have to admit was kinda skeptical, but WOW!!! Talk about a hidden gem! It was pretty steady on Saturday, but with the food they serve, I'm surprised the line wasn't out the door!

The Black Cod Miso was two filets of rich, translucent cod marinated in a sake/miso sauce with a soy balsamic and ginger miso sauce striping the top. It had a crispy bit of marinated cucumber which balanced out the richness of the cod. We also had the Greens with Smoked Salmon and a Honey Jalapeno vinagrette (which wasn't hot, but sweet and tangy with slices of smoked salmon that complemented the flavours.

Definitely try the San Jose Tofu...Brett, the owner/chef gets it fresh everyday from the tofu company down the street. It's nothing like the packaged stuff you get in the stores. It's paired with a black/tan sesame sauces, nutty and creamy! The Duck in a ginger/miso with sauteed spinach and shiitake mushrooms was a highlight. The duck was perfectly cooked, tender and flavorful and the ginger/miso sauce was wonderful, complementing the duck perfectly. But I LOVED the "Pinch and Moo" It had big fat prawns, grilled and perched on a small bed of rice, with a rich mushroom and sirloin tip sauce smothering the ensemble. It was drizzled with a ponzu/cream sauce (which I'd never heard of) that mellowed the richness of the meat. Dessert was the Yasu Trifle...a big mound of succulent pound cake layered with his berry compote and creme anglaise. All his sauces are freshly made and have amazing depth and complexity. Like Altair, I was asking for rice just so I could get all of it.

Drinks are innovative for a beer/sake/wine selection. He has some sake "cocktails" that are really interesting. I had the "drunken berries" and LOVED it! It was a berry compote with a fresh, light cold sake mixed in. It's served with a spoon, so you can get out all the wonderful berries. His wine selection, although small is quite good. I liked the Bonny Doon Malvasia, a white that was clean, had a sweet nose, but crisp finish. The sake list is incredible, my friend had the sake taster for $12.00, had three generous cups of the top sakes...all cold. The Dewasansan (sp?) was my favorite, crisp and clean with a fruity finish.

He is definitely a first class chef...and his prices are so reasonable for the portions and the quality! A dinner like this would have run me triple the price and still have been worth it. He came to chat with us and we found out that he worked for Wolfgang Puck Chinois and NOBU'S in Vegas and New York before branching out on his own.

Like his menu says, you aren't going to find any miso soup or teriyaki, but you are going to find some incredible food at great prices. Prices range from 6.50 to 20.00. All dishes are served family style, and he said that he can also accomodate vegetarian patrons.

I'm definitely going back...it's rare you find a restaurant of this quality in the South Bay. We told him he should move to Los Gatos or Saratoga and he'd have a line out the door.

Link: http://www.restaurantyasu.com

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