Nestled beneath the Jerusalem Theater, Yan is the perfect location for a pre or post theater meal or for patrons who are craving sushi or authentic Chinese noodles. There have been a number of restaurants in that premises with the same name, but as yan means “show” in Chinese, partners Itzik Shalev and Tal Rosenzweig felt it was appropriate to keep the name. The two met when Shalev worked as a manager at Rosenzweig’s Terrassa restaurant, and food and service are in their DNA.
The fish at Yan is delivered daily from Rosenzweig’s father’s stall in the Mahaneh Yehuda market, and the quality is apparent in the taste of the sushi. Yan is the first sushi restaurant in Jerusalem to have a conveyor belt, which allows customers to have a quick pre-theater meal without that fast-food feeling.
A lot of thought went into the layout and décor. Even though it is underneath the theater, the white décor and furniture provide a bright, cheerful feeling. In addition to stools around the bar, there are tables for small groups to enjoy the conveyor belt sushi and the show of the chefs in the open kitchen.
The menu is true Asian fusion, with dishes from all over Asia, including traditional and more creative sushi dishes. We started with the Yan signature tempura egg roll (NIS 21) and tartar wakame (NIS 46). The egg roll was unlike any I’d had, made to order, filled with crunchy fresh vegetables, lightly fried in tempura and served with a sweet spicy sauce.
A definite hit. The tartar is a tower of wakame seaweed, glass noodles, avocado and cubed red tuna. We also tasted the root salad (NIS 40), perfect as a light and healthy option.
The salad included thin strips of radish, kohlrabi, carrot and beets, mixed with bean shoots and glass noodles in a tangy sesame soy dressing.
For mains, we sampled a variety of styles and tastes. The sweet chicken noodles (NIS 50) showcased the chef’s Chinese origins. The stir-fried noodles with scallions, onions, pineapple and cashew in a sweetchilli sauce were cooked perfectly, and the dish was satisfying without being too heavy.
Next, we moved on to Thailand for the green curry chicken (NIS 50), where the same noodles and chicken were accompanied by vegetables with a coconut curry and herb sauce.
This was less creamy than I have had before, but no less appetizing. As a side dish, we had steamed vegetables, made in the Chinese steamer with green beans, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes and slices of lemon. It was such a simple dish, but the vegetables were fresh and crunchy and full of natural flavor.
This dish is often served as a special with steamed fish, which I would be keen to try on my next visit.
Moving over to Japan, we tried three of Yan’s sushi specials. The Yan special (NIS 43) was a ceviche of spicy tuna served on a square of crispy rice with thinly sliced lemon and avocado. The combination was fascinating to my eyes and my mouth. The crispy squares were like mini latkes, and the balls of tuna on top made it a very attractive dish.
Next, we tried the sushi club sandwich (NIS 39), which was total sushi decadence. It was a traditional sushi sandwich of salmon, avocado and sweet potato, which was then fried in tempura. The portion was generous, and the dish was quite heavy but very tasty. Last was the sweet and sour salmon (NIS 46), the ultimate fusion dish. It was an insideout spicy salmon roll with cucumber and avocado covered in salmon with lemon and drizzled with a sweet chili sauce. The combination tantalized the taste buds and was a pure pleasure to devour.
As if we had not eaten enough fried food, we finished our meal with the tempura fruit (NIS 35), a combination of apple, banana and pineapple fried in tempura and covered in chocolate sauce and crushed honeyed pecans. This dish reminded me of the banana fritters I had at Chinese restaurants as a child and was the perfect end to our Asian culinary journey. There is a good selection of fresh tea infusions, such as traditional lemon grass and jasmine.
Yan also has a well-stocked bar. For those who want to stick with the authentic Asian beverage experience, try the Japanese sake and Choya plum wine or Chinese Tsingtao beer.
The writer was a guest of the restaurant.
5 Chopin St., Jerusalem
Sunday – Thursday noon to midnight.
Friday noon – 4 p.m.
Saturday – one hour after Shabbat until last customer.