The bottom line: My judgement is still not out on this one!
There are a few times when I am hardly stumped on how to start my posts and I’ll be honest and say that this was one of them. Sometimes it isn’t easy to foresee what path exactly the review will be taking so for this occasion I’ll just let the words flow and let the food and everything else about the restaurant guide you!
A recent night out with a close group of friends led me to the restaurant Yama Asian Fusion. The restaurant is located in the South Park area by Earthfare, Barnes & Nobles, and other retailers. Although I had heard of this place before I never had the opportunity to go dine there so I was excited to check it out. The restaurant’s main focus is sushi however they also have other offerings such as hibachi and bento boxes for the non-sushi eaters. Likewise, they have a good selection of sake for those who want to try something different than beer, cocktails, or wine.
Before diving right in to the food portion I’ll touch briefly on the atmosphere as this also plays an important part in any restaurant visit. Upon entering Yama I noticed that it was a nicely decorated restaurant. There were a lot of wooden elements throughout the place. One of the decorations that I found pretty was a “wall” made out of interwoven bamboo stems. It served to separate one section of a dining area from another. At the restaurant there is also a small sushi bar at which you can sit if you so desire. Something that struck me right away was how family oriented the restaurant was. Maybe it’s because of the location but for the most part the tables were of families or people out on a date night. There were hardly any large groups of friends here and everyone was fairly quiet. The restaurant also has dim lighting so this further adds to the more intimate feel. Overall I felt that the place didn’t seem as lively as other restaurants I’ve gone to and for that reason did not feel as inviting. I love being able to enjoy a peaceful meal but it’s also so much nicer when you see groups of people sharing smiles and laughter along with their food! Who knows, maybe it was just that kind of crowd that night.
For my meal I opted to order an appetizer and a specialty sushi roll. Being that the restaurant prides itself in serving some of the freshest sushi in town there really wasn’t another way for me to go with food wise. The appetizer I ordered was the Shu-Mai. This is a steamed shrimp dumpling. The serving is generous as you get six dumplings for a price of $4.95. Believe it or not I had not had dumplings before! The shrimp Shu Mai provided for an interesting texture once it entered your mouth. The dumpling “paper” feels mushy and more or less dissolves right away. The dumpling is filled with tiny pieces of shrimp seasoned with garlic and not much more. The taste of it was good, very simplistic in nature but flavorful at the same time. My only gripe is that I wish the shrimp bits were a bit bigger.
As for my sushi I ordered the Firecraker Roll (the bigger roll from the picture of rolls above). After my order I did kick myself because I should have gone for a sushi roll with traditional raw fish and confirm whether Yama truly does serve some of the freshest sushi around town. It would have been great to taste some of that buttery tuna on top of a piece of nigiri or on its own in a sashimi. Oh well for next time I suppose! The Firecracker Roll was made of tuna and white tuna wrapped in nori, flash fried and serve with spicy sauce on the side. Honestly as I am writing this I can’t help but think of the recent story of a group of girls who went to Jiro’s in Japan and ordered cooked sushi. I am a culprit to this at Yama’s as well! The spicy sauce that was served with the roll was tasty and truly spicy. I did prefer dipping my roll in this sauce as opposed to the soy. The rolls themselves were pretty big. I felt like the roll had a bit more rice than what it really needed to though. The Firecracker had pieces of both cooked and raw tuna which were good although I didn’t get a full taste of the fish itself because the pieces were relatively small. Overall I found the roll satisfying and filling but quite similar to the roll other places offer by the same name as well.
I had high expectations for Yama but at the end of the day I am still ambivalent about how I feel about it. The service was good although it did take a pretty long time (30 minutes +) for us to get our food. I think I’ll give the restaurant another try but not before getting to check out some of the other sushi restaurants around town as well!