Friday, February 10, 2012

Yama Sushi -- The Secret Is Less Sauce

The Spicy Girl roll
Less is more -- at least at Yama Sushi, which has broken into my top sushi restaurants by making me plan my next trip before I have even paid the dinner bill.

The Ellicott City restaurant takes on the "big roll" style of Sushi Sono and Sushi King, and they're pulling it off.  The Yama chefs have their own style, their own flavor combinations.  Their own way of pulling off a style that calls for multiple ingredients, sauces and generally enough pizazz to be worth $12-20 per roll.

Less sauce.  More spicy options.  Those were the realizations from our last dinner at Yama Sushi.  Take the "Spicy Girl" roll -- tuna and avocado inside a roll wrapped with steamed shrimp and a kimchee sauce.  Just dabs of sauce, but it brightens the entire dish.

The Sweet Mango roll
All three restaurants serve terrific rolls.  The Yama Sushi touch is lighter than Sushi King, where the sauces are all thick and where they dominate some rolls, even some of my favorites.  Yama's rolls are a bit smaller.  The sauces range from thick to watery.  Many rolls are powered by "pepper tuna" or the kimchee sauce or even jalapeno.  You could pick a dozen rolls with no spiciness at all, but it's clear that the Yama chefs have fun with heat.

They're also really creative.  The "Sweet Mango" roll mixed tempura shrimp, mango and a sweet chili sauce.  The roll is actually wrapped in thin-sliced fruit.  They're always playing with exotic wrappers like pink soy paper, and they have more specials than I have seen elsewhere.  Check the board because some sound as good too good to miss.


Anonymous said...

You should rename your blog

Kattrina said...

I love Yama Sushi. I'm not a sushi expert by any means (I don't actually eat sushi with fish/seafood) but I love their sweet potato tempera roll - it's delicious.

HowChow said...

@Anon --

Oh, heavens. Do I need to re-explain the point of a hobby blog? I write about things that we eat. The point of HowChow was to argue that you can get all kinds of good food in Howard County. I love linking to opinions from all kinds of other people too.

The clever way to critize a food blog was the "trolling and pimping" comment from last year.

But, of course, it raises the whole question: It's crazy enough to write hobby food blog. Why would you read one that you don't enjoy? And then anonymously critize?

Sorry if I'm not eating your food. The trolling/pimping dude was such a fool that it inspired me create an entire line of Trolling posts. I'd love to do more. Email me three paragraphs and a cell phone photo. It can be great fun.

Here are the rules.

kam said...

Haters gonna hate, I suppose. ;)

Anyhow, Yama Sushi is my husband's favorite sushi place, and one of my favorites as well. I think you've pinpointed a large part of it: they mix up interesting flavors without letting one overwhelm the roll.

I love how there's a great variety of sushi places in HoCo. For a special night out, there's Sushi Sono. For something more traditional, Fuji or Hanamura. For the slightly less traditional style, Yama or Sushi King. For a quick pick-me-up, Katana. Plus there's more I haven't tried yet!


Tom Coale (HCR) said...

Thanks for writing about Dorsey's Search's premiere sushi spot! The folks there are also such nice people. They have my favorite order saved somewhere, which is a nice plus.

As for the Anonymi...there's a reason they have to comment on someone else's work to be noticed.

Alicyn D said...

I tried Yama a couple of months ago for the first time and I quite enjoyed it. The menu is daunting though with so many options! Not that that is a bad thing.

Anonymous said...

I tried Yama Sushi a few months ago, and while I liked it, my companions were less impressed. We also all left with some stomach aches - though 2 or the 3 of us have sensitive stomachs.

Anonymous said...

Oh, meant to add that we also tried Sushi Nari in King's Contrivance and LOVED it. On our first visit they seemed to get overwhelmed with takeout orders and our food took quite a long time, but it was delicious enough to make up for it. We've returned twice since then and loved it every time. The special rolls are just as expensive as elsewhere, but they're HUGE. Our previous favorites were the always good Sushi Sono and Sushi King (the whitefish tempura roll is delicious), but Nari is edging them out of the lead.

Lisa said...

FWIW, the "asian-facci-chow" comment made me LOL. I read it as humor, not criticism. And no, I'm not one of those people that always assumes positive intent.

Yama is my favorite sushi place. Check out their "Arts Chef" and sushi roll albums on their Facebook page. It's the most creative sushi in beautiful pictures.

HowChow said...

@Lisa --

I'd love for it to be humor. It's certainly not baseless.

The Yama rolls really are gorgeous. There are several that I want to try just off photos that make them seem unusual -- that's before I even know what's inside.

Troll Pimp said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Troll Pimp said...

This could be great fun. My alter ego will now be Troll Pimp!