Want to get a little weird and eclectic with modern Japanese inspired food? Good news, because just like Adam, Blake, and 'Ders from Workaholics that’s what we're about to do. Enter, Yusho, brainchild of Mattheis Merges, the guy who spent over 14 years running Charlie Trotter’s entire operation. NBD but KBD. He’s not in the kitchen these days, but Yusho is still going strong.
Yusho's thing is Japanese style cooking, but they incorporate different flavors and ingredients from around the world. There are two different routes you can go here. One is to get ramen for yourself at around $16, but you'll miss the better experience if you do. Instead, come with a few others and the intention of sharing a mix of everything, because that's where the most interesting dishes are hiding. Snacks + sides, skewers, steam buns, noodles, and fish + meat - you're going to need a bit of it all.
Dishes like bucatini with spicy cod roe and fried chicken steam buns incorporate the best of Japanese style and different regional cuisines. Not everything works though, and some flavors, like the catfish steam bun, can be a bit confusing and miss the mark. But like a young Madonna, you’ll respect the f*ck out of the fact Yusho takes risks and pushes boundaries all of the time.
If you go the route we suggest, the whole experience will be a bit different and fun. That includes the very particularly decorated room with its light fixtures, artwork, and tchotchke's that make Yusho a comfortable but interesting space. The personal sake they make is quite unique too. Get some of that to ensure things get weird.
On Sunday's, Yusho does a special noodle menu including noodles, dessert, and a drink for $25. Don't feel the need to get sucked into it. As mentioned, Yusho is more interesting if you experience the whole menu.
They are served in a heavy "Chinese sausage vinaigrette." The brussels sprouts are grilled well and the sauce has good flavor, but the sauce is too heavy for us. We’d prefer a lighter dressing.
A creamy garlic miso sauce over some real looking chicken wings. Great to start.
In general, the skewers are all excellent, but on this smaller side. If available, our favorite is the wagyu beef skewer over mushroom rice-sotto.
Solid lamb skewer accompanied by charred shishito and szechuan peppers.
Another skewer of fatty barbecued pork over a kewpie mayo potato salad. The pork is fatty and delicious and the kewpie mayo potato salad is like a mashed potato/potato salad hybrid.
I love catfish. I love steamed buns. I don't love this catfish steamed bun. Something about the combination of fried catfish, yuzu aioli, candied sesame, and jalapeno doesn't work.
Mushroom based ramen with roasted mushroom, pickled plums, tofu, and a poached egg. Heavy mushroom flavor and a solid ramen.
Low-key our favorite dish on the menu - bucatini noodles with hen egg and spicy cod row. The thick noodles become creamy once you mix in the egg, and the spicy cod roe creates an excellent flavor and spicy kick.
The octopus is way too salty for us, and ultimately we can't get over that fact.
A little fried chicken in a steam bun never hurt anyone.
Don't want to pay $7 for a little bit of fried chicken in a steam bun? Get either the half or whole twice fried chicken entrée instead. Either version of substantial.
Jackfruit flavored ice cream with a roasted banana puree and matcha, which is finely ground green tea powder, sprinkled over the top. It's refreshing and delicious without being too heavy, so will satisfy a sweet tooth if you need.