Yakko San - I really want to get it....
So, I went again to Yakko San and I just don't get all the hoopla. We had eel (non -sushi preparation), the triggerfish jerky, the squid and a whole host of other dishes. None were particularly noteworthy and many were fishy. I know this place is a chef's hang out and I really do want to understand the allure. Is there a secret menu that we were not made aware of? Should I be downing cold sake prior to tasting anything?
Many of you whom I respect love this place. The service was stellar but the food....not s'much.
Tried this place on and off for years.
There is no "secret menu" but the daily specials used to be more interesting before they moved. Having said that, it's a long menu, and some dishes will appear more to some people than others. For instance, I really like the triggerfish jerky. My wife thinks it smells and tastes like cat food. (Yes, it's fishy).
There are also some things that just round out the menu, and are not exactly "specialties." For instance, the eel comes pre-prepared in a bag from Japan and is just heated up at the restaurant. That's also true of 90% of Japanese restaurants (Naoe is the only place I know of that consistently prepares its own eel from scratch). The ingredient quality - other than daily fish specials - is nowhere near Naoe, or even Sushi Deli for that matter. But there are also typical izakaya dishes that you just won't easily find elsewhere (maguro natto, una tama tofu, takoyaki, etc.).
If I were to pick a handful of dishes I'd say to order if you want to "get" Yakko-San, the list might look something like this:
- "Chef's Daily 6" (a new addition to the menu and an exception to my "skip the sushi section" suggestion - 6 little tastes of various raw and cooked seafood items, served cold).
- crispy bok choy
- usuzukuri (whatever white fish is on the specials board)
- mixed nuta ae
- chicken liver itame w bean sprouts & chives
- spicy manila clams
- vegetable tempura (look for mushrooms in the specials, but I also like the kabocha squash and the chrysanthemum in the regular vegetable order).
- yakiniku don
- kimchi ramen.
And if there's nothing there that makes you want to come back, then so be it - it's just not for you.
For me you hit the nail on the head by saying the daily specials were more interesting before the move. There were times when our entire meal was off the specials board. Dropping the specials coupled with the introduction of sushi just tells you they've made a conscious shift to be more mainstream. Plus I miss the "Tokyo in the 80's" decor.
With 350,000 places to eat in South Florida, why would you ever go to a place that disappointed you more than once? Regardless of what's been written, your own taste buds and service sensibilities should tell you -- "No thanks, I'll try somewhere else."
Disappoint me once, maybe shame on me. Disappoint me more than once, shame on you.
To answer Bigstu's question, I love Naoe and Sushi Deli. I'm also a fan of Makoto and Bond Street's sushi. And, yes, I love Japanese food and am pretty adventurous.
Southocean, some of my friends enjoy Yakko and since I drag them to Broward and beyond for food, least I can do is meet them at Yakko a few times a year.