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Sunday, May 23, 2010

Modern Japanese in Sushi Suburbia: Yang's Teppanyaki & Sushi

It was inevitable, we all knew it was coming. All-you-can eat sushi joints of poor service and sloppy maki rolls would do for a lunch-time craving or a lazy Friday night binge. But what about the family get-togethers or friendly reunions that you want to celebrate local, but in a venue that makes the night feel as special as it should? And what if you're tired of grilled calamari followed by penne alla vodka? Yang's seems to be the perfect fit for those who want to take a culinary globe trot to Japan, sans traffic jam and overpriced sake. I hadn't been to Yang's since the Grand Opening sign was up a few years ago and being back  made me reminisce of my first experience there (as a merely budding foodista) and how the clean lines and black and white decor reminded me of what trendy restaurants should look like in a big city. (Who am I kidding, I felt like Carrie Bradshaw that day minus the fact that I was too minor to enjoy a Manhattan with my mango rolls). Although the Tuesday night crowd was less than bumping, the atmosphere automatically made me categorize Yang's in a separate class from the Akita's and Makimono's of the GTA--I would consider it more on track of being a Ki of the north. That comparison is to be taken lightly, mind you, especially when it comes to menu selection where it does not come close to rivalry in originality. The menu does offer all the standards you would expect from any sushi joint, with a few added bonuses. In fact, one of the three leather-bound menus placed in front of me offered two prix fixe specials featuring Kobe beef, jumbo shrimps, black cod and 2lbs live lobster. Not to mention the teppanyaki bar located in the back rooms of the restaurant and the fresh oysters to boot. Another leather bound menu especially excited me with a selection of sake infused martinis and a decently varied choice of wine. I ordered a sushi appetizer plate that came with 3 pieces of sushi (salmon, shrimp and tuna) and 3 avocado rolls and 3 salmon rolls along with a small wakame(seaweed) salad. Everything seemed fresh and flavourful--not to be taken for granted in an area loaded with all-you-can eats. Dining partner Mel had the nabe udon which was served in a traditional nabe or metal pot. Laura started off with the salmon pizza. It was one of the biggest sushi pizzas I had ever seen and was made beautifully (in comparison to the heaps of fried rice patty and scattered fish pieces I am usually served) She also had the sushi and sashimi combo: a well priced platter with 8 pieces of sashimi, 5 pieces sushi and 4 large soft-shell crab rolls, miso soup and wakame salad. The portions left us all satisfied: no need to over-order in fear of not being full enough just to have to over-stuff yourself to avoid extra surcharges for leaving food behind. (A mistake I commonly make at all-you-can-eats) The service was better than what I usually expect from a sushi restaurant--attentive when necessary but not exactly engaging or personal. The ingredients tasted fresh and the presentation gave credit to the masters behind the glass bar. A return back to Yang's will occur much sooner than it did this time, next with an emptier stomach to experience the market fresh oysters and teppanyaki marinated black cod dinner that caught my eye. Check out the photos I posted on flicker, all courtesy of Laura Conte. Thanks for the great work Laura!!



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