Sunday, August 12, 2007

Yasu's - Lunch visit

I was craving sushi this past week, and I was torn between Hana and Yasu. Hana is great, but Yasu is closer for a lunch visit. I picked Yasu. I really enjoyed our first visit for dinner, so I had high hopes.

Unfortunately, they were dashed. The miso soup I got was a pale shadow of the great soup I had on that first visit. The California roll was uber-generic and something that was even below the supermarket stuff in terms of ingredients and presentation. I know Cali rolls aren't anything special, but done right, they can be really good. This was not. My shrimp tempura roll was equally mundane. I had to ask for eel sauce on the side as it wasn't served with the roll, as it is most places I go. I got some yellowtail, albacore, tuna or salmon (can't remember) and unagi nigiri. The eel was tepid, like it had been sitting out for too long after it was toasted. It had good flavor and texture, though, and didn't make me queasy like the order I had recently at Shiro. The rest of the nigiri was nearly room temperature, also leading me to believe my plate had spent some time just sitting in the back before it was served. All in all, I felt like I should have taken the extra time and gone to Hana.

Service and pacing was also an issue. After sitting for 20 minutes, the waiter said my soup would be out in 5 minutes. Um, how long does it take to ladle soup into a bowl? Then my soup came, and within a minute, both rolls were brought out at the same time. My nigiri came out just as I finished the rolls. Towards the end of the meal, my water was just about empty and several times my waiter walked by (my table was right next to the kitchen doorway), glanced at it, but didn't do anything. Finally, when I was obviously finished, he stopped by and asked if there was anything else. I pointed to my water and asked for a refill. He grabbed the glass and vanished into the back. For another 5 or 10 minutes, I didn't see him. An older waiter stopped by and asked if everything was ok, and I mentioned my missing water glass. He went to get me some more and just as he vanished around the corner, my waiter came from the other direction with my water. I'm not sure what happened, but it was very odd.

All in all, it wasn't a very good lunch. It was better than Shiro, but that's damning with faint praise. As for the rather Spartan rolls, I know it was lunch, but nothing was mentioned as far as the rolls being different than the dinner options. I did notice that the lunch menu seemed to omit the page that lists all the grilled items that I thought was their specialty, so that threw me as well. They seem to be more generic for their lunch offerings than for dinner. If I'd known that, I definitely would have chosen Hana.

I've been to Tokyo Lobby for both lunch and dinner on multiple occasions, and they have the same quality and presentation for both meals. They are also a bit more adventurous with their rolls as well. The cinnamon added to the shrimp tempura rolls adds a great dimension. I know Yasu doesn't bill itself as a sushi-centric place, but given the creativity of their grilled items at dinner, I expected something more than what I got.

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