After the demise of Zaki Kabob House in Albany — the first restaurant in that location to confound its formerly cursed status — came small local chainer Yo Sushi, a casual, order-at-the-front-and-pick-up-your-food-when-it’s ready, brightly-colored and youthful Japanese place focusing on sushi and sashimi, but offering many of the other usual suspects, like tempura and udon.
Oddball things that I tend to stay away from, too. You know, strange and/or deep-fried sushi-like concoctions.
Case in point, the Yo Nacho ($6.95), which my son and I took a chance on this past Thursday. Here’s the menu description:
Yo Nacho deep fried wonton cups stuffed w/crabmeat chopped Tataki Tuna, onion, Avocado, orange Top w/Tobiko & special sauce
We loved it. It was not only delicious, but complex. Lots of tataki tuna, which is seared on the edges but raw in the middle, green onion and tobiko. Plenty of avocado, too. It was a loose filling, because it had very little mayo, if any, and there was a tartness about it, too. There was also a bit of heat. Nice.
Cycle to today, when I took my husband there to have the same appetizer.
Now, I hate to open this essay with the one problem we had at Yo Sushi after a good half-dozen visits, but I’m plenty riled up about it, and it can be a real downer if it happens often. Consistency.
What we received today, Saturday, was heavy faux crab salad loaded with mayo. It was sweet and had mango chunks. There was no avocado, and if there was any onion or tataki tuna, I could not taste or see either. Ditto real crabmeat. If it was there, it was lost in a sea of one-dimernsional mush.
See the difference for yourself in the photo above.
When I pointed this out, one of the staff took it away and brought it back, telling me there was tuna in it. He pointed to some tiny shred in one I had taken a bite out of, saying that that was tuna. I could not see it. I could not taste it. No fix oferred. Just some kind of statement about a “new chef.”
I am seriously annoyed right now, because I wound up subjecting Steven to something blah after having given it a buildup.
Never again. It reinforces my general rule to steer clear of stuff like that altogether.
The nacho issue aside, this is a good place. A very good place.
We latched on since it opened, which was a few months ago, and make the short drive to 1107 San Pablo Avenue once a week, at least. Who doesn’t like good, affordable sushi on a regular basis?
The Yo Sashimi Combo ($16.95) is excellent. You get 16 pieces of sashimi (4 each of tuna, white tuna, salmon and hamachi), miso soup, rice and pickles. The generous slices of perfectly fresh fish sit atop bales of spiraled daikon and nestle a few slices of lemon.
If you want only tuna and salmon you save a couple of bucks — it’s $14.95.
The Deluxe Sushi Special is a good choice, too. A spicy tuna roll and 7 pieces of nigiri for $11.95. Included are salmon, tuna, white tuna, ebi, unagi, tako and hamachi.
The spicy tuna rolls are good. The eel, well, it’s a bit too sweet for me. There’s something about it I’m not crazy about compared to other places.
The miso soup is excellent, and the sushi rice is as it should be in terms of flavor and consistency. Not sweet, they don’t pack it too tightly, and it’s at the right temperature.
The Agedashi Tofu is OK. Not great, not enough sauce, and I prefer when it’s made with silken tofu, but it’s fine.
We stick mainly with the nigiri and sashimi combos. I was not blown away by any but the spicy tuna rolls so far, but it’s a long list and there’s time.