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Restaurant Review: Yutaka Sushi Bistro

Chef Yamamoto can still take your breath away.
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Enter through a tiny Uptown doorway, and the space that greets you opens up in a way that might elicit a gasp, an effect Yutaka Sushi Bistro continues to produce after 10 years. It’s still one of the city’s best places for sushi, with Yutaka Yamamoto steering operations adroitly from behind the elegant ash-wood sushi bar. If you’ve chosen omakase (chef’s choice), nigiri will be set off with sushi rice, warm and perfectly seasoned. You might be paced through courses of delicate flounder, sweet-fleshed sea eel, and pickled turnip, a ghostly gush. A hollowed sea urchin shell adrift with grated daikon, like eerie witch’s moss, dramatically stages sashimi. Toro melts like butter; yellowtail is firmer. Bright orange uni, all saline pungency, comes wrapped in a sliver of crisp, clean snapper. It’s a bit like diving into the coldest, bracing ocean depths and emerging invigorated and a little breathless. In contrast to such cool, clean flavors, snapper gently laid over warm braised chard bathes in a yuzu truffle sauce whose complex flavor is bewitching. Service is exquisite, the experience a quiet communion. And so it continues, through miso soup, fawn-colored and cloudy; a final, deftly wrapped hand roll; and the light matcha tea that returns you to the night bright-eyed and pleasantly dazzled.

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