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Jul 28, 2008 11:08 AM

Yakko San Miami- I am ready to be flamed

I've been twice over the last 3 weeks and I just don't get it. The food is interesting but incredibly greasy. I've had the bok choy chips, the hamachi kama, the shortribs, the pork belly, the fish jerky dish, the scallop aspara in butter sake sauce, the shrimp tempura, etc. It was all underwhelming and mediocre.

I know food is subjective but I'm having trouble understanding the raves on this board. I've covered a pretty good chunk of the menu and nothing really wowed me.

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  1. Maybe you just don't like it? Agree pork belly is tough and overfried. We don't usually order tempura so I can't vouch for it. Bok choy is fried and I have no idea how to not have it be greasy as the leaves soak up oil like sponges.

    Things we do like and recommend are the tuna harumaki (usually a special), bitter melon pork (also a special). The rest of our meal is usually a ramen or hot pot. There's lots of umami going on in the dishes and maybe you're not a big fan of that?

    1 Reply
    1. re: lax2mia

      Personally, the pork belly is one of my favorite dishes in SoFla. It's simple, unpretentious, and full of fatty goodness that cuts cut by that fab dipping sauce they serve it with. A couple times, I've gone and ordered it once, finished the plate and ordered a second one.

      The only thing I've had at Yakko that underwhelmed me was the beef tongue, and it was still fairly good. Maybe you were looking for fancy preparations or something a bit more gussied up? The place is more like mother-used-to-make fare (at least in my eyes), which is why I think I love it so much. And how can you not love the prices? You can eat like a king for $50.

    2. To each his own, of course, though I have to say that what you list hardly constitutes a good chunk of the menu. I've been going on average a couple times a month for years and still haven't come close to trying everything, particularly with the multiple daily specials. A couple years ago I made a partial list of several of my faves which I'd have to supplement quite a bit now ->

      No point in arguing over what you do and don't like, though I will ask: What Japanese have you had that DID wow you?

      2 Replies
      1. re: Frodnesor

        Well, I knew this would not be a particularly popular post....

        I wish I could say that much of the menu was left untried. I went once with a party of six, another time with a party of ten - each group ordered a ridiculous amount of food and there was a great deal of variation.

        The only thing I didn't try was the hot pot and I regret that. It was being devoured and looked very good.

        I'm usually a fan pork belly and I'm actually not opposed to grease, either. Unfortunately, everything was beyond greasy and made each one of my dining mates queasy afterwards.

        I want so much to like this place. I respect all of you but I just don't get it....

        1. re: jessierandall

          Seriously, it is ok. For example, I am the only one on the NYC board who likes carnegie deli and magnolia cupcakes. No worries. Obviously those people really don't understand what bad deli really tastes like :).

      2. not everything here is a hit

        If you go a lot, you can try different daily specials

        what i have liked:
        spicy beef tongue stew
        shishito peppers
        oyako don
        pork with bitter melon and tofu
        uni, ikura angel hair pasta
        minnow kara-age
        kabocha croquette
        lotus kinpira
        eel tofu omelet
        miso seafood hotpot
        chrysanthemum leaf tempura
        fried oysters and fried mahi mahi roe
        chicken wings and potato
        spanish mackerel miso flavored, ok

        what i have not liked as much:
        all their ramen (mediocre broth), black pork belly (too dry), takoyaki (too soggy), chuka don, kalbe yakiniku (chewy), mentai onigiri (rice not so good)

        3 Replies
        1. re: ankimo

          You've convinced me to give it another shot.

          1. re: jessierandall

            I would add ->

            kimchee hot pot - loaded w/ pork, clams, tofu & spicy kimchee
            agedashi tofu - fried puffy tofu, dashi broth, bonito shavings on top
            nuta ae - chunks of conch, octopus, tuna (or all of the above) in a sweet-spicy mustardy miso sauce w/ greens
            spicy manila clams - a fairly regular daily special, clams steamed w/ shiitake mushrooms, cilantro, brothy spicy red chili sauce
            sea bass miso - a similar dish to Nobu's famous black cod miso, though here the fish is sliced much thinner; quite oily, but it's mostly the natural oil of the fish
            crispy fish onion salad - another fairly regular special, slivers of white fish fried crispy and tossed w/ slivered onions, cherry tomatoes, cilantro, sesame oil dressing
            steamed fish w/ ginger and scallion - could be any fish depending on what's fresh (often grouper, jack), simple but always nice
            kabocha tempura, maitake mushroom tempura
            I agree with ankimo that the takoyaki are too soggy, but I like them anyway (esp. since they stopped making okonomiyaki).

            There are other things I like but which everyone may not - mahi mahi roe kara age, sanma (a/k/a saury or pike mackerel), served whole w/ innards, salted and half-dried calamari, motsuni (pork intestine stew) - but which you won't find many other places in town.

            If your problem was with greasiness, stay away from the fried items and stick with hot pots, and raw, steamed or grilled items.

          2. re: ankimo

            You guys are getting me too hungry! Cheap sake specials, the crispy fried shrimp (can't remember the name, they have that really light coating) - like popcorn shrimp but head and tail on, the whole steamed fish... shoot, I even have a soft spot for the egg and noodle salad they give you to start a meal. Maybe I need to go this weekend. :-D

          3. I'd like to add that personally I love the black pork belly in all it's cooked-within-an-inch-of-its-life glory. I guess one guys crispy is another guy's dry.

            Just goes to show that recommendations are all based on perspective, which is why a board like this is gold. Best thing to do is find a prolific poster who seems to have liked the things you liked in places you both visited, and then look into their history of posts to find out what else they liked.

            Sounds like a fun game for the board - with which other posters do you share the most similar palate?