Wednesday, September 28, 2005

A Second Visit to Yuji's - Habit Forming!

Normally, I would just put notes on a second visit to a restaurant in the comments section of the first visit post (in this case, August 2nd, 2005), but this meal was so good, I think it warrants another quick post. Especially since Yuji's (W. 4th, at Maple) seems to be so far under the radar, from what I can tell. As far as I'm concerned, everyone should be talking about this place. I've decided this one is definitely going on my list of restaurants to give out-of-towners a real taste of Vancouver, and show them what our restaurant scene can put out. I love how we can get such creative, beautiful, and yummy food at this price level (the menu below totalled only about $42 before tip). Sushi is such a great perk of living in Vancouver and I still don't take for granted that we can get this incredibly fresh sushi here so affordably.

Just listen to the great stuff we had (and I wish I had pics since everything was incredibly pretty):

1. Tuna and salmon wasabi tempura - lightly battered tuna maki and salmon maki with a forthright dose of wasabi right in the roll. Served on wasabi mayo and a thick soy sauce based sauce. I love how the nori tastes when it's deep-fried. Magnificent plating here, with thin radish slices for garnish and beautiful, tasty sauces.

2. Mango roll - mango, tuna, salmon, lettuce, avocado, and mayo. I loved this roll, since each component was top quality. The mango was sweet, ripe and flavourful enough to be the focal point of the bite.

3. Negitoro roll - a classic, and one of my standard favourites. They executed it wonderfully. The fish quality in everything has impressed me both visits.

4. Uni on warm Camembert cheese, with shiso leaves, served on slices of steamed bread - our server let us know that they had very fresh uni that they received today. What a wild combination. Guess what! It worked! I've only very recently acquired my taste for sea urchin gonads, and I'm thinking maybe I never had a fresh one first time. Nothing to be scared of, folks. (daily specials sheet)

5. Chicken breast wrapped around fresh fig, served with tomato banana sauce - Stunning presentation, like a chicken planet. It's a sphere cut in half, exposing the beautiful fig "core," with a white chicken meat "mantle," and deep fried batter "crust." And who's ever heard of a banana tomato sauce before? Just a beautiful sauce which tasted wonderfully fresh and sweet, and worked so well.
(daily specials sheet)

6. Wild boar, steamed, served with baby greens and pickled red onion (I think) - you just know this is going to be good...and it was! Even the greens were really nice! (daily specials sheet)

Dining here is a little foodie adventure in itself, because of the fun menu, and the tasting and sharing nature of the plates. You can just taste little dish after little dish. There's still plenty of menu for me to work through. Lots of things I want to try. Service was so hospitable, and I particularly liked that our waiter was excited about the fresh uni. Yuji himself seemed to be quite interested in how the Camembert and uni special went over with us. The jazz playing softly in the background was great too. There is something so quietly comfortable about the room. It's the whole package, and it's nice to have a restaurant exceed my expections again.


Tai said...

Well, Ms. Canabalistic Cotton Candy (can I just call you Nancy instead?)

You've written a blog I would have like to have written!
I've enjoyed it so much, you describe the restaurants AND the food very well.
I know some of the restaurants you've visited (including the 'Sandbar'...and may I just say you hit the nail on the head with that one!)

I DO have a suggestion for you...the "Tomato Fresh Food Cafe", Cambie and 16th if you haven't visited it yet.
I think you'll be pleased, average entree is about $20, and believe me, other restaurants charge upwards of $30 for some of the same fare.

And the mention of reading Feynman at Truffles!?! LOL!
Ah, yes, Richard Feynman, he's good to read anywhere, and the Italian plate at Truffles? Fabulous.

So thanks!
Keep up the good work...and if you don't mind, I'll be dropping by once in a while to leave my own comments?

Dumpling_Girl said...

Thank you for your very kind words, Tai. I popped onto your blog and was laughing my head off reading the very first entry (Cheap Roses and Hell)! It's nice to get a new reader too, especially one who will comment! (I'm curious how people who I don't know already find my blog). I have been to Tomato Fresh Food Cafe years ago, and liked it, but the visit didn't inspire great desire to return repeatedly (mainly due to the pricing), but I shall visit again, because the last visit was really too long ago to be relevant to what the restaurant is like now. Thanks for the suggestion! Heh, about Sandbar, coincidentally, I was just reiterating how bad that experience was when I was at dinner tonight at Dario. Tonight's meal was such a delightful one (full post coming soon), with everything done right, that it made me even less forgiving with reference to Sandbar, and other places. There really is no excuse for having a bad restaurant meal in Vancouver. There are certainly plenty of options around for outstanding meals. I can't believe it's taken me this long to try Dario's.

SaabKen said...

Hmm it seems the bad experiences at The Sandbar are more common than the good ones (?)

Hahaha, hell and roses now that's GOOD. It reminds me (brrrr) of this guy that used to stand at the corner of Kingsway and Fraser in the summer time peddling roses and flowers. He was an older Asian fellow who wore quite outlandish outfits but usually with a strange hat, a skimpy tank top and shorts, peddling a dozen roses for $10.99 or something like that. What was really *creepy* was as he's listening to his Walkman he'd be dancing and gyrating and doing a whole lotta "movements" that the average person would really not want to see anywhere by a guy like that, let alone while driving down Kingsway through a busy intersection. I better stop before Nancy boots me off of her blog.

Back to Tomato Fresh Cafe, it is a gem of a place (particularly when it's two blocks from us !). Prices may seem a bit high for what *appears* to be a diner at first, but appearances can be deceiving. The spinach with goat cheese, poached pear and pecans is a perennial favorite of mine (and every table seems to order it). The beef tenderloin is fabulous, as is the Westcoaster salad with Indian candy salmon, sweet peppers, goat cheese in maple balsamic dressing. My recent meal of rigatoni with chorizo, artichoke hearts and eggplant was so memorable. A small wine list (by the glass) but you'd have better luck ordering by the bottle. The restaurant attracts young and old (toddlers and lil' ones are common site) so it's a fun place to enjoy white-tablecloth Westcoast cuisine at Milestone prices.

Dumpling_Girl said...

I just want to add a note about that great banana tomato sauce served with the fried chicken wrapped fig. Tonight I discovered "banana ketchup", a phillipine product, in the international section of my local supermarket, and the label says it's best with fried chicken. I'm pretty sure the Yuji's sauce was made fresh with actual banana and tomato, but at least the idea of a red banana sauce with fried chicken has been around. Interestingly, the banana ketchup has no tomatoes listed in the ingredients.