>> Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Sushi Yasu has moved to 70-11 Austin Street. 
I don't think it's BYOB anymore.
71-45 Yellowstone Boulevard
Forest Hills, NY 11375
(718) 544-0942

Along with Italian and Thai, there is no shortage of places in Forest Hills for sushi. Off hand, not having done any recent polling, there are at least eight different restaurants to get raw fish and rice. Of these eight, Sushi Yasu might be the closest. It also might be the smallest. It also might have the best service of any of them. Oh yeah, and the sushi was pretty good too.

Sushi Yasu used to be a fish store before the owners decided to become a restaurant. But you can still get sushi-grade fish here too. Bro and I got sushi grade fish, but we had it sculpted... so to speak. Most of Sushi Yasu is the sushi bar, but there are three or four tables, which is where Bro and I sat, next to a low-rent koi pond. When we arrived, just one couple was there, drinking the wine that they brought with them. Steadily, more people arrived.

As you can see from the spread below, Bro and I went a little nuts with the menu, but we were determined to get our Omega-3s. First up, the a la cart pieces. Most run between $3 and $4. I ordered a piece each of Octopus and Sea Urchin. The octopus was great, but most people unaccustomed to octopus will have to get past the slight rubber texture. That said, this was some very tender, non-rubbery octopus. The sea urchin was something I've never had before and I think I'll make it a more regular staple of my sushi diet. It's hard to describe so I'll leave any description aside and just recommend that everyone try it for themselves.

The large specialty roll we ordered was the Marilyn Monroe Roll. Imitation (sigh...) crab meat, cucumber and scallops in a "special sauce". You have to love these nameless, descriptionless special sauces these places have. Normally, I hate scallops. No, that's inaccurate. I always hate scallops. But apparently, now I have to throw a caveat into the mix. I hate scallops unless they're raw and on top of rice and crab with a dab of wasabi. Given this seafood roll was fishless, it was extremely different from any other roll I've had (and I plan to order it again). But speaking of fishless, we also ordered two vegetarian rolls. The first up was the Kampyo Roll, which is rice around cooked gourd. Think of it as a Thanksgiving roll. I did not particularly care for it however. Too bitter. I had the same reaction from the very different taste of the Umeshiso Roll. This roll uses pickled plum and mint. Very sweet, almost like what sushi would be if it was a dessert. But again, I couldn't get into it and don't plan to order it again anytime soon. That doesn't mean that I wish they weren't on the menu. It's nice to find a place that has more than the usual rolls you see time and again everywhere.

We also ordered the Alaskan Roll, with salmon and avocado (very good), the Spicy Salmon Roll, with salmon, roe, and avocado under a spicy, creamy sauce (even better), and the Negitoro Roll, fatty tuna with scallion (also great). Sushi is one of those love it or hate it foods that everyone who loves it can't get enough of and everyone who hates it should learn to love. You'll develop your own tastes and preferences. Fatty tuna is on everyone's A-list. It's sweet and supple and not fishy. The service at Sushi Yasu was great. Both owners (who also make the sushi) were more than attentive and kept the green tea flowing. There was a constant concern that we were enjoying ourselves. And we were. It would be nice if they had beer or sake, but you can bring your own. The personal attention shown by the chefs here is far more akin to the way Sushi bars are traditionally supposed to be, rather than having them made by someone you never interact with. In fact, I almost felt guilty sitting at a table.

Our meal of two a la carte sushi pieces, one specialty roll and five standard rolls, plus tax and tip, came to $56.


Erica February 24, 2009 at 11:37 PM  

Sushi Yasu is awesome. I live up the block and go as often as I can. Definitely sit at the bar when there is a seat.

A few caveats - when service is awesome, it's awesome. When Yasu decides other customers are more interesting, or gets overwhelmed - you can literally sit there for an hour. Also, if you call for pick-up? What that means to him is to take the order, then start making it when you show up (even if he was totally just reading a book until then.) It's pretty hit or miss, but the fish? Amazing.

craft April 13, 2009 at 9:37 AM  

hmm.. nice. and the picture make me hungry..

Susan April 25, 2010 at 3:46 PM  

It's a hike from where I live, but now that the weather is warming up my 1x/week trek to Sushi Yasu has commenced.

There is simply no other sushi restaurant in the neighborhood that comes close and for < $20 you can get 3 rolls that are more than enough for dinner (for me it's typically the spicy tuna, salmon-avocado and yellow tail-scallion).

If they have King Salmon (ask, it's not always available) I'll also order a couple of pieces of Sashimi.


Jane June 23, 2010 at 2:42 PM  

To really appreciate Sushi Yasu, you must sit at the sushi bar and tell chef Yasu to give you whatever he wants. Don't even glance at the menu. You'll be rewarded with the "King Elvis" (king crab leg cooked under special sauce in the shell), the "little Monster" (raw, whole body of a tiny squid- tentacles and all), yellow tail with jalapeno (they were made for each other), an endive boat with a delicious fish filling, a succulent piece of monk fish liver... the list goes on. Basically the chef gives you whatever is most fresh and creative. I cannot wait to go back to see what Yasu has in store for me next.

Susan September 25, 2011 at 9:01 PM  

Sushi Yasu is relocating to the old Tako Sushi location on Austin Street. Should be in that new location by the end of this month according to the owners.

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