Monday, March 14, 2016

YO! Sushi Wends Its Way into the Middle East

The Dubai Mall, of all places, happened to be the first attraction to which I gravitated on Day One of my trip: Hey, there is a method to my madness here...I felt it was a safe place to observe how the locals dressed in this Muslim country, in a walk-at-your-own-pace, air conditioned ambience.

I am difficult to please, and I am easy to please, I think to myself as I discover YO! Sushi inside The Dubai Mall. Normally I find ubiquitous chain restaurants to be obnoxious and repetitious; however, I felt pleased this time that YO! Sushi, headquartered in London, had wended its way into the Middle East. Although it's casual sushi, it's comfort sushi at a reasonable cost, and those who know me understand that I embrace (and blog about) all types of sushi, from the high-end to the lighter side of things, so that the world can see that not all sushi involves raw fish; it's not necessarily traditional, exorbitant or snooty. It need not be intimidating or confusing, and with the YO! Sushi chain, it can be approachable and fun at the same time.

I'm reminded of London when I catch a glimpse of chives in the smoked salmon roll that I pick up off the conveyor belt which snakes past my booth. (The English have a penchant for adding chives in their sushi rolls for some reason...that and red bell peppers.)

I'm a bit irked that they charge for bottled water here (I later learned that most touristy establishments in Dubai charge for water; they simply ask "Still or sparkling?" and next thing you know, you're paying $6 to $18 for a bottle of designer water wearing a dewy label).

The fact that there are signs in both English and Arabic everywhere amuses me. One side of the restaurant is open to the rest of the mall, and I'm enchanted as men and women saunter past me in Middle Eastern garb while clutching shopping bags emblazoned with Western brand names. The soothing sounds of the 24-meter-tall Dubai Mall Waterfall nearby lull me as they mix oddly with pop music in the background.

For good measure, I pluck non-sushi items off the conveyor belt as well: a chewy squid salad here (ah, there were red bell peppers in this one!), a trio of shumai there. The smoked salmon-wrapped roll of cream cheese and cucumber was actually quite aromatic, making me wish more sushi places offered more than just regular raw salmon.

Their to-go menu reveals more British sushi flair: a vegetable hand roll with strips of inari inside, the inclusion of dill in a poached salmon roll, the use of the chiefly Britain term aubergine as opposed to eggplant (there was an Aubergine Salad on the menu). And then you are quickly reminded that this is a melting pot in the Middle East, not London, when you spot a "Crispy Duck Futomaki" marinated in orange and Hoisin sauce, and a "Kimchee Salmon Salad."

YO! Sushi's motto is simple, and it's spelled out on a large sign in the middle of the joint: "SIT TAKE EAT PAY." Just like most sushi trains (otherwise known as conveyor belt sushi restaurants), YO! Sushi tallies up your plates at the end of your meal. How much simpler can it get?

The "Plate Rates" are broken down easily enough on a graph that appears on signs as well as on the menu: a lime green-rimmed dish costs Dhs 14 (as in 14 Dirhams, or AED$14, which is about $4.50 in U.S. dollars), while a yellow plate sets you back Dhs 26 (close to $8).

YO! Sushi
The Dubai Mall
Downtown Dubai, UAE
+971 800 9678744 or 800-YOSUSHI

1 comment :

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i dont like sushi at all .i would rather prefer fried fish .i dont know why people love this sushi so much .its not even cooked properly.