Yui Japanese Bistro Media Event
Yui Japanese Bistro hosted a media event to celebrate their soft opening and testing of potential menu items for their grand opening. They specialise in Aburi (blowtorch) oshi (rectangular pressed) sushi & rolls and other popular local market trends like poke, and sous vide. Both chefs work at Miku & Minami for over 5 years before branching off to create their own restaurant. They offer the same quality Aburi sushi as Miku & Minami at a more affordable price. The chefs are not Japanese so they don't try to pretend by making an all Japanese menu and experience.
It's located in a Coal Harbour office building. My first impressions of the decor was pretty mild. It looked like those cheap sushi dives you might go to for cheap sushi like Fujiya but after tasting the food here I realised this is a hidden gem. They offer food as good as Miku & Minami at a No Frill's pricing. Since its inside an office building, and there isn't really signage on the outside it's pretty tricky to find! I was wandering around wondering where it was till someone came out of an office building to wave us in!
The seating in this place is pretty limited but if you're interested in watching a show I'd recommend sitting along the sushi bar and watching them make every dish! It makes for a fun night watching the chefs work their magic, and chatting to them. If the bar is full and you don't want to miss out on some behind the scenes action with the chefs making your dishes check out this YouTube video below. I usually upload behind the scenes footage Instagram stories that last for 24 hours so be sure to subscribe to me if you don't want to miss it!
Disclosure: This is a media event where we got to try some items they're testing which aren't on the menu and may never be. I will make a note on items not available below. If they interest you, then definitely let them know! Maybe they will add it if there's enough positive feedback.
Saba Aburi Oshi Sushi | $10.25
Mackerel, shiso, miso sauce pressed on sushi rice and blow torched with a charcoal stick. I enjoyed the use of shiso leaves and miso sauce. I thought it complimented the mackerel very well.
Sockeye Salmon Aburi Oshi Sushi | $10.25
Sockeye salmon, jalapeno, house-made sauce pressed on sushi rice and blow torched with a charcoal stick. This looked so good and was probably really good because I didn't even get a chance to eat one piece! I was taking too long taking photos of all the dishes and by the time I wanted to start eating, these were completely gone! I will be back for sure to give these a try for sure.
Ebi (Shrimp) Aburi Oshi Sushi | $10.25
Shrimp, lime zest, ume sauce pressed on sushi rice and blow torched with a charcoal stick. The lime zest was a nice touch to the sauce and helped add another layer of complexity. I don't know what they put in this sauce but for whatever reason the flame was getting crazy compared to the sauce on the salmon oshi sushi! It made for a beautiful sight to watch them prep this dish.
Karai donburi rice bowl | $12.50
Bincho toro, okra, spicy kimchi cabbage, and amakuchi soy on sushi rice.
Aburi Salmon, avocado, ikura donburi [Not on menu yet]
Salmon, avocado, ikura on sushi rice.
Hawaiian Poke | $13.50
Sake (salmon), maguro (tuna), bincho, onion, akanori, ogonori, cherry tomatoes, sweet corn, mini tomato, aonori mayo, chef special sauce on sushi rice.
veggie donburi | $11.50
Aburi red bell pepper, aburi shitake mushroom, aburi zucchini, pickled carrot, bamboo shoot, spinach, sweet corn, black sesame seed, and rayu soy.
yui Chef Special aburi Roll [not on menu]
Salmon, imitation crab, scallop with tobiko, chef special sauce and seared on the top. For those of us from Toronto, this reminds me of the "Ja Bistro Roll" which interestingly enough the head chef there, Koji Tashiro, use to work at Miku too. I really enjoyed this dish and would be interested in having it on the menu.
Dynamite Roll | $4.75
Shrimp Tempura, cucumber and avocado in the middle topped with spicy crab meat. It is charcoal blowtorch and garnished with tobiko. The spicy crab meat on top wasn't too hot and the smokey charcoal aroma added more depth to the roll.
yui red dragon Roll [not on menu]
Imitation crab, and avocado on the inside, wrapped with red tuna and garnished with caramelised onions. The use of caramelised onions changes the whole dish from what we're use to. It was a nice twist!
Chicken Chashu | $6.25
Slow cooked free range chicken, amakuchi soy, and gain mustard. They take the slow cooked chicken and grill it fast on super high heat to sear the outside. When eating this it reminded me of my sous vide chicken texture. It was absolutely delicious and juicy! We had a few people at the event ask if its cooked because it looked pink. For those familiar with sous vide / slow cooking chicken, it's perfectly safe to eat medium rare chicken.
Golden Sandwich [not on menu]
Tuna, pickled carrots, and cucumber pressed to a square and deep fried in panko batter. They are cut in halves and garnished with seaweed and freshly crushed black and white roasted sesame seeds. It is served with katsu sauce on the side. I thought this was interesting and not something we'd see at other places.
yui aburi chirashi tart [not on menu]
Salmon, tuna, avocado, pressed in a cylinder shape with chef special sauce on top. They blowtorch the sauce then garnished with scallop, albacore tuna, avocado, tobiko and lemon slices.
On the right is the blow torch of sauce for the chirashi tart before it is topped with more ingredients. They use a metal cylinder mold to get the shape
This is something you would see at Miku. Although it is pretty and executed well, it's not something I would order as it's not easy to share.
I think this is a dish people would want to order just to take a photo of.
OVERALL IMPRESSION OF yui japanese bistro:
Yui Japanese Bistro is nice for those who want to experience a more affordable Miku & Minami. The chefs worked at Miku & Minami for over 5 years before branching off and starting their own restaurant to offer the same great food without all the pretentiousness.If their goal is just to be a No Frill's copy of Miku & Minami then they succeeded. I would definitely go here just to save some money for the same great taste. I just feel like they'll always be living in the shadow of the company they worked for, and selling themselves short by charging cheaper for the same quality. They could be much more successful if they found their own style instead of just being a copy. That being said, I would come back and still recommend coming here and bring friends from out of town to try the food without being in a pretentious atmosphere! If there is anything you love at Yui Japanese Bistro and think we should try it next time, feel free to contact us!
Difficult to find for first timers
Delicious Miku|Minami style food at a cheaper price