Wednesday, October 20, 2010
One of the best Japanese restaurants is Yutaka Sushi Bistro in uptown Dallas. With exotic fish and vegetables served as sushi—from Tachiuo (belt fish) pressed sushi to crispy and sour Kabu (Japanese turnip) served nigiri-style—Yutaka’s offerings are rare and delicious.
It’s not just about the sushi at Yutaka. The menu here is also divided among the hot dishes, cold dishes, and specialty tempura, the latter of which boasts a memorable fried king crab with jalapeno vinaigrette, tossed with onions and shishito peppers.
For a refreshing and healthful appetizer, there’s always the Heirloom Tomato Salad, which combines cucumber slices, mint leaves and tangy, fermented miso. The artistically arranged salad is then dressed in what appears to be balsamic vinegar and oil, and pink peppercorns are tossed in.
A personal favorite? The Flounder Chips with avocado, green onions, masago, and spicy mayonnaise spread across them. The chefs display these (sans sauce) atop the sushi bar in a tray; unless someone orders some, the funny-looking crisps only pique curiosity and don’t get topped with the green-colored mix. The fishy chips are as crunchy as tortilla chips, and the topping is spicy and creamy, a perfect pairing.
2633 McKinney Avenue, Dallas
Also using the concept of ishiyaki, or the ancient Japanese method of cooking food on a hot stone, Kenichi offers a 12-piece Chef’s Selection of raw meats and mushrooms you can sear on your own with a round rock that has been heated at 1,000 degrees. Bite-sized portions of Akaushi “kobe style” meat, scallop, escolar and shiitake are served with three accompanying seasonings: ponzu sauce, smoked paprika salt, and pink peppercorn sesame salt.
Although the style and presentation were immaculate, the stone could have been bigger considering there were 12 pieces to be cooked, and perhaps there should have been a sliver of butter provided so that the food didn’t stick to the cooking surface (toward the end of the sizzling session, my rock had dwindled in heat and I had to request a second one).
The Jumbo Lump Blue Fin Crab Cake, served with yellow curry-lime and Thai basil emulsions, was a wonderful alternative to having just sushi and sashimi at the bar, although the Hawaiian Roll with blackened yellowtail, pineapple, asparagus, Serrano peppers and soy paper was impressive.
2400 Victory Park Lane, Dallas
For a fruity, really sweet twist, there’s always the Strawberry Roll, which has shrimp tempura and masago inside and is colorfully layered with tuna, avocado and strawberry slices on the outside. Kiwi Sauce and Las Vegas Sauce drizzle this eight-piece roll (I learned the kiwi sauce here was actually a kiwi-lime dessert syrup; the Las Vegas Sauce was what they called their spicy mayonnaise).
The Cayman Roll, also over-the-top with its ingredients of imitation crab, habanero-marinated tobiko, seaweed salad, cream cheese, pickled and fresh jalapenos, and honey wasabi sauce, makes your mouth feel as though it’s been stung by the very bee that made the honey in the sauce—it’s a spicy one, all right.
3858 Oak Lawn Avenue, Dallas
With its lethal-sounding name and sharply recognizable logo, Piranha Killer Sushi must make a killing in Downtown Fort Worth, which is just one of its four locations throughout the state. The central joint grows vibrant nightly with tourists, college kids and those just out on the town with its hip ambience and vast martini menu (Cowboytini and 5th Amendment are just two of the tempters on the list).
The “Piranha Signature Rolls” range from the Southwest Roll (Chipotle pesto over a California Roll) to Vietnamese Summer Roll (salmon, tuna, crab, tomatoes, mango, asparagus and other greens wrapped with rice paper). The Sexy Roll is just a bit more insidious than it sounds, since the unanticipated seasonings of cajun powder and chili sauce are so spicy they make you kick up your spurs, but overall the flavors enhance the load of shrimp tempura, crawfish, avocado, mango bits and ginger cream.
Although reminiscent of Florida, where the mollusks abound, the conch sushi here actually hails from Washington. Although fresh as can be, after one bite of the rubbery thing I was wondering what it is that makes me want to order any conch anywhere, and then I remember: I am a tourist from Los Angeles who craves the rarities.
Piranha Killer Sushi
335 W. 3rd Street, Fort Worth