Endless possibilities

The food does all the talking at the new sushi bar Yan

Yan sushi bar (photo credit: PR)
Yan sushi bar
(photo credit: PR)
Tel Aviv’s Ben-Gurion Street has a host of trendy café chains and modern restaurants to match the atmosphere. Yan, a more subdued sushi bar, is one of the newer eateries in the area.
Diners can choose to sit at the bar watching the sushi master in action, or at regular wooden tables in the relatively small dining room. The tables on the narrow patio outside are great perches for people-watching. I think that the small interior and design allows the food do all the talking for the restaurant.
Throughout our meal, I noticed that they really take their time to make dinner an enjoyable experience, bringing just one dish at a time and waiting for us to finish a course before clearing the table and bringing the next. Our server was extremely polite and soft-spoken, explaining every dish and answering any questions that we may have.
Before the meal, we tried Chang, a refreshingly fruity and delicious Japanese beer served by the glass.
Forgoing the miso soup as there are enough classic Japanese dishes worth trying. We began our meal with the spicy tofu (NIS 37), which was delicious. The tofu was firm and silky. But where Yan truly stands out is in the execution of the layer of fried batter surrounding the tofu. It’s thin, slightly stretchy and fried to a perfect golden brown.
You also won’t go wrong with the papaya salad (NIS 33). It was sweet, fresh and super light – the dressing was not overpowering with vinegar, while the papaya was cut into thin shreds and not too chewy.
Before the sushi, we wanted to try one of Yan’s noodle dishes. Our lovely waitress recommended the Vietnamese green curry (NIS 44). This was one of our favorite dishes of the night, extremely flavorful with broccoli, zucchini, peanuts and coconut milk. The curry was so light and delicate, but it still had a very dynamic and exciting flavor. Some places have pungent, overly thick curry that reminds me of what I can make at home out of the jar.
The variety of sushi at Yan appears endless and we sampled some of the most interesting combinations. First up was the spicy jalapeño tuna (NIS 44). I know people say you can hide bad tuna in a spicy roll, but I can tell, this was fresh. This was followed by the salmon lemon roll (NIS 42). The freshness of the salmon was unbelievable, the roll was plump and simply melted in one’s mouth. I want one right now just thinking about it. Next up was the mussar, or red drum fish, roll (NIS 44). Who knew mussar would taste so delectably buttery and smooth? I’ve never had a sushi roll before with mussar but it was incredible. Very flavorful and well balanced. Last but not least we tried the spicy tuna beet roll (NIS 42). This was the perfect mix of spicy and sweet melt-in-your-mouth goodness.
All sushi dishes were served with generous amounts of wasabi, pickled ginger.
Even though we were stuffed, we couldn’t resist sharing a dessert and ordered the chilled crème brûlée (NIS 33) with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and grilled banana. It was perfection – rich, creamy and perfectly caramelized.
We had to try the hot sake, served in the traditional Japanese ceramic utensils, to end off the evening. I had always drunk sake cold previously, so this was a new experience. It tasted very good and indeed provided a nice way to finish the meal.
Overall Yan is great. It was a simple meal but so fresh and with such bold flavors that it was a highlight of the week.
The writer was a guest of the restaurant.
Yan Not Kosher 40 Ben Gurion Street, Tel Aviv 053-937-7266