“I like to consider myself an adventurous eater but it’s taken me awhile to come around to sashimi, raw fish on a plate. The presentation at Yujiro and subtle flavors (not too “fishy”) reminded me how delicate it can be. Japanese mackerel, scallops, yellow fin tuna, wild salmon, octopus, are all true delicacies.
Opened seven years ago by Masa Sugita and Edward Lam, this traditional Japanese restaurant is both a favourite of the neighborhood and a destination for sushi lovers throughout Winnipeg.
Lam has had his hands in many restaurants around the city, all with Japanese roots, including the new Yea Dim Sum on Rupert, which incorporates fusion cooking between Japanese and Chinese styles. “I like to open restaurants,” explains Lam, laughing when I ask where he gets the energy.
Now with Masa in semi-retirement, Lam has taken over an ever-increasing workload at Yujiro, saying, “This is home to me.” Yet the two often collaborate on new creations over conversation or through simple experimentation. Their style is to stick with traditional methods, using tools and techniques proven hundreds of years ago.
The Western perception of Japanese cooking is “raw,” but if you’re new to Japanese food, there’s lots of warm and cooked through items to satisfy your tastes as well. Masa suggests ordering ‘omakase’ which is chef’s choice and let them know what you’d like to try.
Fish comes in to Yujiro twice a week from Japan via Vancouver. And this fish travels fast. Brokers auction off fish hours after it’s caught and it’s on your plate as early as three days after leaving the water. Ironically, the tuna from Nova Scotia, which is the most expensive, come on the same route: Japan, Vancouver to your plate in Winnipeg.
The demands of the fresh fish market lead to prices upwards of $8,000 per kilo of for fresh tuna. Tuna commands prices eight times the cost of silver according to a report earlier this year in Time magazine. So during the two months of the year that it’s available at Yujiro fresh and not farmed – which happened to be right now – there has never been a better excuse to try it.
Japanese cooking is more about balancing delicate flavours than the intense spices we see in other cuisines. With sauces made in house, the freshest ingredients possible and an experienced kitchen staff, you’ll be as satisfied by the fried pork dumplings as you will the omakase adventure. Self described as “fresh, delicious, authentic,” I whole-heartedly agree.
Located at 1822 Grant, you’ll want to make a reservation at this popular and intimate destination to avoid waiting for a table. With the addition of a new Kaiseki-trained chef with 10 years experience from Japan, they are now open seven days a week.”