closed! a/o 2015
YUZU JAPANESE KITCHEN 柚’s 和食廚房
MRT: SYS Memorial Hall
website: Yuzu's FB page
hours: 12PM - 2PM; 6PM - 11PM
Kid friendliness: high chairs available. pricey menu, but some ala carte options available.
Visit reviewed: 2/16/2012 and 3/1/2012
Diners looking for upscale (aka expensive) Japanese restaurants have no shortage of choices in Taipei and Yuzu has joined the pack with a stylish, modern vibe. Practically hidden behind the dark wood storefront and lone character signage, Yuzu would be easy to miss across from the more bright and obvious TJB Bar or remodeled Ma Shan Tang near the Guangfu SYS Memorial Hall MRT.
Inside, there's seating at tables along the side and front for groups, counter seating at the long bar where you might spy whole raw fishies on ice and chefs in action in the open kitchen or the back of the restaurant can be turned into a private room for a small party. Yuzu offers mostly set menus, especially at lunch (and in Chinese only) while dinner allows more ala carte options especially to be shared.
Yuzu's sake menu (NT$130/glass-NT$5200/bottle) was also the first time I noticed plus signs next to each bottle. The higher the number, the drier the sake. I couldn't read any of the menus, so I counted on my friends to order their favorites for a small birthday dinner.
Recommended appetizers include the truffle chawanmushi. If you like truffles, you'll have to order this- each spoonful of the steamed egg custard was infused with the fragrant truffle flavor.
the handmade tofu (NT$250), which was delicate and silky, but quite plain unless you dipped it in the accompanying sesame sauce....
and the vegetables with creamy crab dip, kept warm over a small candle and topped with slivers of fresh crab meat.
Sashimi gorgeously plated to share.
My friend really loved this tomato consomme and grilled baby corn (NT$200), but it was a bit too light for me.
The grilled yellowtail collar (or hamachi kama) was nice with the skin crispy and the meat flaky and sweet.
Dishes that were shared that I probably wouldn't order again - the deep fried tempura eel
And the Grilled steak (NT$680).
Only one person in our dinner group ordered the set menu (NT$1800), and the following were included in the set, though I don't think I got a photo of all seven courses.
I loved my friend's personal hotpot with kurobuta pork and fresh somen noodles so much that I had to order it again for myself when I returned for lunch.
A quick dip and the noodles are done.
Another special dish at Yuzu is the uni and squid stone bowl rice. I personally felt the uni flavor was lost and dried out after being cooked in the stone pot, but my friend loved this.
I took different friends to Yuzu for my second visit. The special bento box is only available at lunch and comes with nine mini portions of appetizers, like ikura and squid, almost like a mini tasting course or nine amuse bouches. Reminded me also of the Korean banchan small dishes, except this wasn't free.
I was bummed that the bento box wasn't offered as an appetizer for the hotpot, but I got to sample some of my friend's. I ordered based off memory, since again I couldn't completely read the menu. Lunch sets are slightly cheaper than dinner NT$800-NT$1200, but include a lot less courses than dinner and still a splurge.
Yuzu is a good choice for those tired of eating at Mitsui or looking for somewhere more cozy.