Yamamoto Sushi

Yamamoto Japanese Cuisine is located at 2900 Warden Ave., in the Bridlewood Mall at the northwest corner of Warden and Finch. Ave. in Scarborough (northeast Toronto.) Yamamoto has both an exterior and mall entrance. I'd seen it before but was rarely in the area; finally I had an appointment one weekday near there so took the opportunity for lunch… be early as the cutoff is only 2:30 in the afternoon which is the earliest I have yet seen.

Yamamoto has a darker modern interior with some (large) custom artwork and loudish radio music atmosphere. Tea is left on the table in stainless-steel carafe; however pop is included as another menu item (served in plastic tumblers rather than cans.) The menu distinguishes dinner items with red text and a star (thankfully, as the black/red contrast is not good in lower lighting.) Low-sodium soy sauce is available on request. Sadly, they are still using disposable chopsticks, but I bring my own. There are also radio devices on some of the tables to call for service, which I have never seen before. Ordering is via item number from a fold-out menu.

The noodle soups are available in both ramen and udon varieties; I tried the spicy beef udon. It had not much flavour but was still good; the only spicy parts were the pieces of beef themselves. Miso soup was very savoury and enjoyable and I ended up having seconds. Green salad was OK; rather small portion and I didn't much care for the dressing.

The tempura sauce had too much soy and not enough rice vinegar in my opinion. Yam tempura was a bit too oily and correspondingly not flaky enough. Shrimp tempura was better and sufficiently light and flaky. Pumpkin tempura was also good. Veg. spring rolls were good with a light, cream dipping sauce (based on mayonnaise?) Japanese hash brown was very good with a curried (mayo again?) sauce. Tonkatsu (breaded pork cutlet) was good although a bit chewy but with an enjoyable flavour.

On to the sushi, salmon sake was excellent with very fresh salmon and good rice that held together. Salmon rose was similarly good and fresh with a good mild sauce. Cucumber avocado roll did not seem as absolutely fresh but I still enjoyed it nonetheless. However the spicy salmon sushi was not spicy and had an unidentified flavour that I did not like, so was difficult to finish.

Any shortcomings up until this point were more than made up for by the teriyaki beef, perfect cubes of pure savour with roasted garlic clove slices… worth the entire visit and you can be assured I had seconds! Chicken teriyaki was also served as cubes but was not as good with little to no teriyaki flavour. Grilled chicken skewers were delicious in a (vinaigrette?) sauce; very much enjoyed them as I also did Yoshino's beef, which are delicious and interestingly flavoured rib slices.

For dessert, there was green tea, chocolate and vanilla ice cream; I enjoyed them all (especially the chocolate!) I liked the mango yogurt but the tiny plastic spoon included was to small; however it can be drunk from its shot-glass-sized serving. I did not like the fried banana at all unfortunately; it was made with green banana, and had no sauce and a flavourless breading that seemed cardboardy.

Weekday lunch at Yamamoto was $16.99 which is at the higher end, and there is also a 10% surprise service charge (which as noted before becomes my tip and no more.) I did enjoy my lunch and most items were good with a few excellent; the included pop is also a nice touch. Some items though did miss the mark and for this price point this really shouldn't happen. However it was still good enough that I would still recommend it if one is in the area, and I may well return.

Rating: 7/10