Yoshi: A beautiful accident

Yoshi’s food menu has a wide variety of food options from soups, salads, starters, dumplings, and of course, sushi. (Photos: Zeid Odeh/Jordan News and Yoshi’s Facebook account)
This month, we’ve been going through quite a journey with different restaurants as every cuisine has its own flavors, combinations, and eating manners. This week, I went to one of my favorite spots in Amman, Yoshi!اضافة اعلان

Yoshi is a contemporary Asian restaurant and lounge near the 4th Circle that specializes in Japanese cuisine. In Japanese, Yoshi translates to “best” or “doing things better”. If you are looking for one of the best sushi spots and a good night out on the town, Yoshi never fails.

Going up the long staircase at Yoshi’s entrance, you will see a beautiful interior comprised of wood-paneled walls, banquet seating, fine art, a contemporary fireplace, and a summer terrace. The restaurant also showcases its kitchen, where you can see the chefs preparing your food. If you’re not facing the kitchen while sitting down, you can see the chefs working from mirrors on the ceiling.

Yoshi’s menu includes dim sum, authentic teppanyaki, and other Asian platters. Finely crafted sushi is prepared live at the sushi bar and served in a tranquil spot perfect for lunch, afternoon Japanese tea on the terrace, or dinner.

A fun fact about Yoshi is that it was an accidental restaurant. Yoshi is part of the ATICO group that runs multiple restaurants in Amman. Yoshi is located above their Chinese restaurant. At the time, the company was going through a renovation of their Vinaigrette restaurant. To maintain their customer base in the meantime, the group needed to open another spot, and Yoshi did so well that they decided to keep the restaurant open.

When sushi comes up in conversation, some people get overwhelmed with the names and the differences. The chopsticks themselves are a hassle. Hopefully, by the end of this article, everyone will feel a little more confident going to a sushi place, picking up chopsticks, and trying out some food items.

First, let’s dig into Asian table manners. This might not seem essential in Amman, but learning something new doesn’t hurt anyone. When we get chopsticks and pull them apart, many of us tend to rub them together. Don’t! In Japanese culture, rubbing chopsticks together, even if the purpose is to remove splinters from the wood, implies that the restaurant gave their customers cheap chopsticks.

Second, chopsticks should not be crossed, put on the table, or held in the mouth. The proper thing to do is to place them next to each other on the plate when taking a break.

Finally, use the serving chopsticks to put food on your plate and eat it off your plate using your own chopsticks. Don’t go straight from the main dish into your mouth without making that little stop to your plate in between. You’ll burn an extra calorie or two and do a little bicep workout along the way.

The food menu has a wide variety of food options from soups, salads, starters, dumplings, and of course, sushi. During my visit, I ordered the sashimi (raw seafood) salad, the kani (crab) salad, crunchy salmon, crab rangoon, and a sushi boat with eight types of sushi.

For those confused about the differences in pieces, think of sushi as a whole family of food. Maki has rice and other ingredients rolled in seaweed. Uramaki is an inside-out maki with rice on the outside and seaweed on the inside. Nigiri is a rice portion topped with raw fish, and sashimi is just the raw fish item itself.

The sashimi salad, consisting of raw tuna, salmon, crab, and octopus, is tossed in a chef’s special dressing. The dressing was light and did not overwhelm the fish. The flavor combination had the perfect balance of creaminess and sweetness with a bit of a spicy kick towards the end.

The kani salad is also a highlight at Yoshi, consisting of imitation crab, carrots, cucumbers with Japanese mayonnaise, and tempura flakes. The dressing to salad ratio is always right. I have to mention the perfect cuts of the vegetables in this salad from a technical aspect. It is not easy to have proper julienne cuts consistent in size and thickness.

Kani salads (crab salads) are crawling their way into the menus of various restaurants in Amman. In most cases, imitation crab is used, which is made out of white fish meat mixed with flavors, sugars, starch, and sodium. Real crab is expensive, and imitation crab sticks are a cheap alternative.

If I had to choose again, I would probably pick one salad instead of both, considering both salads were very similar. If you’re leaning more towards a raw-based salad, go for the sashimi.

Let me now appreciate the crab rangoon, deep-fried wontons with a velvety crab and cheese filling. If soy sauce is not your ideal dipping sauce for the rangoon, I suggest asking for the tempura dipping sauce; the two items complement each other perfectly.

The crunchy salmon is a simple salad of raw salmon pieces covered in crunchy tempura, dipped in a little bit of soy sauce. It is an excellent appetizer for those who love raw fish and want something to nibble on before the sushi boat docks at the table.

The sushi boat arrived with different selections of rainbow, fried California, and crispy crab, as well as our server’s recommendation: the exotic and flying dragon rolls. The names can be misleading, but the differences between flavors, techniques, the freshness of the seafood, and the flavor combination of each brought out the chef’s creativity and mastery of flavor pairings.

Even if the quality of seafood is top-notch, there are some unforgivable mistakes with soy sauce, wasabi, and pickled ginger that genuinely affects the taste and the whole experience. Many mix wasabi in the soy sauce bowl before dipping and consuming the sushi piece. In this case, the wasabi loses its natural flavors. If you prefer to have that little extra kick, take a little bit of wasabi, spread it on one side of the maki, and then dip the other side in the soy sauce.

However, if you are eating nigiri, the fish should be dipped in soy sauce, not the rice. Rice soaks up a lot of soy sauce and will overpower the taste of the fish.

Pickled ginger is not a condiment placed on the boat like that sad lettuce leaf that restaurants usually put on the plate of sandwich dishes. The ginger is used as a palate cleanser that should be consumed between every sushi piece to enjoy the individual pieces’ full flavor.

I ended my meal with fried bananas and vanilla ice cream. As I always say, dessert goes straight to the heart. Even though I am not a fan of bananas in desserts, this one was an exception. Combining a hot fried banana and ice cream was a great way to end the meal.

Yoshi’s menu prices are a little higher than average sushi places in Amman. The service would have been better if the servers were more attentive to the tables; however, the overall experience was a success.

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