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Yoshi's (Long)

G Wiv | Oct 18, 2003 09:45 AM

My wife, niece and I had the pleasure of dining with Melissa (MAG) and her husband Mike last Saturday at Yoshi's. Short answer, food, very good, conversation/company excellent.

I had not been to Yoshi's since the format change, but given Gypsy Boy's comprehensive, and thought provoking post, and D's followup I was well prepared for the less formal atmosphere and menu. Yoshi's was bustling, full bar, people waiting in the doorway, crowded restaurant, but, even given the full house, everything seemed to be moving along smoothly, a well run operation.

After a wait of 5-10 minutes in the bar area, not uncommon in a full restaurant on a Saturday night, we were seated at a well positioned, if not slightly large for conversation, round table. Our waiter, Kevin, was well versed in the menu and quite professional, even to the point of, without hesitation, answering whether the fresh, whole wasabi root, displayed next to the wagyu beef steak, was from Japan or Oregon.

I found the menu choices appealing, grilled matsutake mushrooms, though as soon as our waiter mentioned matsutake visions of Iron Chef sprang to mind, sauteed prawns on a wasabi mashed potato and Sushi, which in this instance was spicy tuna roll with sour cream and American sturgeon caviar. Yes, GB, I added the 'and', but would have never noticed in the restaurant if you had not pointed it out in your Yoshi's post. I guess that is the difference between two pre dinner drinks and wine and a more circumspect single sake. {smile}

The entree items were appealing to me as well, in particular the wagyu steak with fresh wasabi but then again I am a sucker for anything with an Asian influence. I had the Sushi as an appetizer, which I thought was quite a generous portion of excellent quality tuna and a very nice presentation, Mike had goat cheese spring roll, which was filled with chicken, mushroom and goat cheese and lightly dressed with truffle oil. We exchanged tastes and I enjoyed this appetizer as well. My niece had cream of asparagus soup, which she pronounced delicious, Ellen the tuna tartar and Melissa, I think, the matsutake mushrooms. I do not remember Melissa's appetizer as she was opposite me at the slightly overlarge round table, though, retrospectively she's fortunate as I might have tried to snap up a goodly portion of her mushrooms.

When we expressed interest in the wagyu beef by way of explanation Kevin, our waiter, bought out a steak for us to view, a good move on his part. As soon as we saw the incredible marbling in the meat and, at least for me, the knobby green fresh wasabi root alongside, it was all over but the grilling. The steak was simply grilled with a light dusting of sea salt and had a slight, very slight, charred flavor that I found exceptionably appealing. No gilding the lily with distracting flavors, this was an incredible piece of beef.

The steak was served with sauteed chantrelles, very good French fries and a red wine reduction fresh wasabi sauce. Thankfully, the red wine sauce was cooked down to the point where it did not cover the plate, there were four small dollops of the sauce, on the side of the plate, topped with fresh grated wasabi. To me, this was the only slight misstep of the evening, masking the subtle goodness of fresh grated wasabi with a, to my taste, mismatched red wine sauce, I simply did not like the red wine sauce. This was easily rectified, a request to Kevin for additional, unadulterated fresh grated wasabi brought us a small bowl of of pale green perfection. What a wonderful combination, a light application of wasabi and rare wagyu beef steak.

Emily had the shrimp, fresh cod and artichoke beignets with she enjoyed. I had planned on a small taste of the beignets with a dip in the sauce, just so I could comment on the sauce, but as soon as I tucked into my steak all thoughts of Chow Science went out the window.

There was one slightly odd little note in the meal, the amuse of buckwheat soba, which Gypsy Boy mentioned, served in a plastic cup. Melissa commented that this was especially puzzling given Asian inspired cuisine has such a focus on presentation, I thought it may have been a bit of a wry/ironic inside type joke.

We accompanied our meal with a very nice red wine, both Mike and Melissa are wine knowledgeable, and pleasant conversation. Emily, who is a somewhat quiet, polite, but very observant young lady, was much impressed with both the company and the restaurant. I am looking forward to a return visit to Yoshi's, for me it's a nice culinary fit.


3257 N Halsted
Chicago, IL 60657

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