Yellow Tail Sushi Bar (YTSB)
Designed by New York’s Rockwell Group, YTSB (Yellow Tail Sushi Bar) stands out as one of the most handsome Japanese restaurants in town, right up there with Zuma and JW Marriott’s Tsu. It’s a bold investment for VIE Hotel, whose run-down surroundings continue to contrast with the hotel’s high aspirations. But young Tokyo-trained Chef Yoji Kitayama’s skills are definitely up to par, and overall YTSB makes for a fantastic combination of style and substance. Kitayama is equally at ease with classics and signature recipes. The sashimi sets (B1,500, B1,900, B2,800) see thick slices of seafood flown in from Japan three times a week (or so we’re told). The result is fish that tastes as if it’s been plucked from the sea, such as the tuna on our last visit, which had bold iodine flavors almost reminiscent of oysters. The salmon, too, was a far cry from the muddy flavors of the farm-raised variety. In terms of mouthfeel, we’d still say Honmono’s sashimi continues to reign supreme, but YTSB is nearly as good. On the cooked side of things, a simple grilled piece of black cod (B900) nearly brought tears to our eyes: its flakey flesh had buttery, nutty notes and a smoky aroma from the slices of cedar wood in which it was grilled. The little condiments, from a perfectly sweet and tart prune to a crispy radish, were perfect too. Where most Japanese restaurants fail miserably is the signature dishes, which usually involve maki stuffed with spicy mayo and heaped with deep-fried tempura flakes—and end up tasting like fast food. At YTSB, the signature options maintain elegance and balance, such as the yellow tail in ponzu jelly (B600). Even fattier, more decadent options like the wagyu beef “rossini” rolls (B800) pack enough aroma—truffle and foie gras in this case—to keep things interesting. Note that whatever you select, dishes come out in just the right order, with the hostesses delivering 5-star service throughout. The soundtrack is more Hotel Costes than popsanova, and the mix of wooden alcoves, modernist seats with kimono prints and slate panels is impeccable. The plus-plus prices do add up, and those seeking value will be better served by Sushi Masa (across the road from YTSB), or even Honmono. But YTSB isn’t just a canteen to pig out on raw fish (not that there’s anything wrong with that). It’s an experience. Corkage charge B500.
|Address:||Yellow Tail Sushi Bar (YTSB), 3-4/F, VIE Hotel Bangkok, Phaya Thai Rd., Bangkok, Thailand|
|Opening hours:||daily 5:30-10pm|
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