What makes Yui Bistro one of the hottest new places in the city? It could be the two friendly and ambitious owners Reginald Lai and Ping Ho’s creative menu that continues to expand. Or maybe it’s the affordable aburi sushi. Whatever might attract you to this restaurant, know that you’re not the only one – expect at least a 30-40 minute wait, if not longer.
Don’t let detract you from visiting Yui Bistro, their menu is solid and the service is great. With over 20 years in the business and a stint at Minami, Reggie and Ping are bringing their own fresh takes on local favourites.
One item that stood out to me was the Karai Don Buri made with okra, Bincho toro, spicy kimchi and amakuchi soy. The flavour is fresh overall, the kimchi’s sourness balances out the buttery toro and crunch from the okra, fresh greens and slivers of onion. The dish was clean and not too heavy.
Diana and I also tried the Salmon Carpaccio which is freshly sliced and topped with dried black olive and slivers of white onion. Overall, the garnish left a clean taste on the palate – there were muted bright flavours here which was good.
Diana decided we should try all the aburi sushi (cuz you know, that’s how we roll). There are three different types (at the time of writing this review): Salmon, Ebi and Saba.
The Salmon Aburi might look a little familiar – it’s made with sockeye salmon, jalapeno and house-made sauce. I’d say it’s pretty comparable to other places in the city that serve the salmon aburi sushi. It’s made to order and torched right in front of you (if you’re lucky to sit by the bar). I’d love to see the jalapeno a bit more seared to infuse the fish and sauce with it’s bite.
The Ebi Aburi is made with lime sauce and ume sauce. I was surprised by the flavour profile of this particular sushi – it was definitely an interesting fusion of flavours. The lime is the predominant flavour here that gave the ebi a cleaner flavour and the ume gave the sushi a very slight hint of sweetness.
The Saba Aburi is made with mackerel, shiso and miso sauce. The Saba Aburi sushi is good, the fish is fresh and is complimented with the slightly salty flavour from the miso.
What’s next for Yui? An upcoming liquor license and more items on the menu it seems. I asked if they had plans to expand their space but they seem to be happy with this spot for now. Be sure to check out Yui Japanese Bistro.