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Do Go Yuzo

Developing fresh tastes on Automobile Alley



 



When it comes to dining, familiarity often breeds contentment. We have a tendency to latch onto loved dishes and happily return to them again and again – consider the lasting success of the diner model Greg Horton explores in this month’s feature on p. 46, or the very concept of comfort food. But as enjoyable as it can be to revisit the known and loved, there are equally huge rewards waiting out there for exploration and innovation: I’d never heard the phrase Sushi Tapas before, but a visit to Yuzo provides an excellent reminder to savor life’s possibilities.
 

The restaurant is the brainchild of Tomi Le, a veteran chef who’s been running restaurants since opening Piranha in Arlington, Texas, in 2001, and who has watched OKC’s growth for some time. “I’ve been researching this city for four years, and I’m thrilled to be here,” he says. “I came up here while my brother was stationed here (at Tinker AFB) and I didn’t see the market for it then, but about four years ago I started seeing the market for it. DFW is so diverse in culture, and I thought we could do for Oklahoma something they didn’t have.”

It’s easy to find by looking for the surprised-looking puffer fish sign on the east side of Automobile Alley; the space has high ceilings and lots of elbow room, with warm tones and textures offsetting its sleek, minimalist lines. It’s also bigger than it looks from its streetside profile (although the orchids in the windows are a lovely touch). In fact, I really appreciated the decorative details throughout: the pendant lights reminiscent of pine cones, window boxes with wine bottles set into the south wall, an artistic lineup of sake and plum wines standing on the hostess’ table so they’re agleam with the afternoon sun as customers enter, even a lucky cat statue.

Visitors have a choice of open tables or semiprivate booths along the north wall, as well as underlit bar seating with an up-close-and-personal view of the sushi chefs at work on one side or the bartenders on the other. Both sides have TVs above, but the skilled performance art taking place on the sushi side is likely to be more interesting than whatever’s on cable.

Before you hit the sushi, several options from the tapas menu make ideal appetizers, whether you pick the tuna carpaccio with just a little bit of heat from its spicy ponzu, the perfectly prepared pork gyoza or the immense visual appeal of the salmon ceviche with mango/tomato salsa.

(bottom center) Chef Tomi Le


My favorite might have been the wasabi apple salmon; just the name says a lot about chef Le’s willingness to mix and experiment with flavors. The juxtaposition of tender, almost creamy fish and crisp slivers of fruit works surprisingly well in concert, and the hint of wasabi is in no danger of overpowering the blend of tastes.

In terms of rolls, follow your heart, since the variety is more than ample. I can tell you that we enjoyed the Big Easy (New Orleans-inspired mix of shrimp, crawfish and Cajun spices), Banjo (fried crab and avocado with chili) and the unconventional pop of the Bombshell (shrimp topped with tuna and strawberries in a horseradish tartar sauce – sounds odd, looks great, tastes even better). Chef Le likes the Viet Summer, which is a light, fresh-tasting seafood mix wrapped in rice paper; on the other hand, my notes simply say that “Wabi is the besssssst,” because apparently I’m quite susceptible to a tempura-fried salmon-and-cream-cheese roll swimming in a mix of eel sauce and wasabi cream. The only thing I tried that I wouldn’t recommend is the cucumber sashimi, and I’m not its target audience anyway, as I find that particular vegetable’s flavor a little overpowering.

And as bountiful as the sushi and sashimi options are, they represent only part of the culinary offerings: Some dishes will even do better with a fork, such as the rich, delicious salmon creole and the locomoco, which is Brazilian meatloaf on a bed of rice doused in a savory sauce and topped with an egg.

As you can see, there’s a lot to like about Yuzo – and I haven’t even mentioned the ramen and rice bowl options, or the ample martini menu with its upcoming seasonal specials.


Whatever you end up with is likely to impress … just please be certain to close your meal out with a tempura ice cream ball, and please be aware that they’re bigger than you think they are. Ordering all three flavors to try each is probably not a great plan.

OKC is enjoying a boom in restaurants, which makes this a great time to get out and try someplace new. Don’t let Yuzo slip off your radar; it’s an imaginative, flavorful treat.

 

One of the benefits of experience – “I’ve been doing this for 24 years,” Chef Le smiles – is a willingness to break with convention when warranted. Le said most places cut sushi rolls into six or eight pieces; he prefers at least 10 so you can get the individual slices into your mouth and expose your palate to more flavors at once. “I like small bites; I think about how you would eat it and that’s how I cut it. Most of our food is ‘party in your mouth,’ and that’s what we like: a lot of flavor.”

 

►Yuzo Sushi Tapas

 

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Calendar

April 2019

Men and women from across the American West played critical roles - both “over there” and on the home front - in helping the Allies win World War I. The National Cowboy & Western...

Cost: $12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 Northeast 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni
Website »

More information

Celebrate Easter with a trip to Andy Alligator’s Fun Park! On Saturday and Sunday, get $5 off an All-Day Pass with our Eggcellent Easter Special. All-Day Passes include Go-Karts,...

Cost: $23.95

Where:
Andy Alligator's Fun Park & Water Park
3300 Market Pl
Norman, OK  73072
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Men and women from across the American West played critical roles - both “over there” and on the home front - in helping the Allies win World War I. The National Cowboy & Western...

Cost: $12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 Northeast 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni
Website »

More information

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The Annual Mentorship Exhibition features pieces from Oklahoma City high school students that visit the Artspace studio each month. Throughout the duration of the program, the students engage with...

Cost: Free

Where:
Artspace at Untitled
1 NE 3rd st
Oklahoma City, OK  73104
View map »


Sponsor: Artspace at Untitled
Telephone: 405-815-9995
Website »

More information

Men and women from across the American West played critical roles - both “over there” and on the home front - in helping the Allies win World War I. The National Cowboy & Western...

Cost: $12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 Northeast 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni
Website »

More information

The OSU Symphony Orchestra will conclude the 2018-19 season with Schubert's monumental and majestic Symphony No. 9 in C ("The Great"). The concert opens with The European Anthem,...

Cost: General Admission: $10; Students & Seniors: $7

Where:
Oklahoma State University Department of Music
132 Seretean Ctr
Stillwater, OK  74078
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Sponsor: Oklahoma State University Department of Music
Telephone: 405.744.6133
Contact Name: Dr. Thomas Dickey
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The Annual Mentorship Exhibition features pieces from Oklahoma City high school students that visit the Artspace studio each month. Throughout the duration of the program, the students engage with...

Cost: Free

Where:
Artspace at Untitled
1 NE 3rd st
Oklahoma City, OK  73104
View map »


Sponsor: Artspace at Untitled
Telephone: 405-815-9995
Website »

More information

Men and women from across the American West played critical roles - both “over there” and on the home front - in helping the Allies win World War I. The National Cowboy & Western...

Cost: $12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 Northeast 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni
Website »

More information

Potbelly Sandwich Shop is giving back to the local neighborhood with Feed Your Smile, a fundraiser supporting Concordia Life Care Community.  Show this flyer on your smartphone or...

Cost: Free

Where:
Potbelly Sandwich Shop
8500 N Rockwell Ave
OKC, OK  73132
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Sponsor: Potbelly Sandwich Shop
Telephone: 405-792-5112
Contact Name: Katy Fabrie
Website »

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The Annual Mentorship Exhibition features pieces from Oklahoma City high school students that visit the Artspace studio each month. Throughout the duration of the program, the students engage with...

Cost: Free

Where:
Artspace at Untitled
1 NE 3rd st
Oklahoma City, OK  73104
View map »


Sponsor: Artspace at Untitled
Telephone: 405-815-9995
Website »

More information

RexFest will feature an interactive art exhibit called a luminarium created by Architects of Air. From April 25-28, visitors can walk through the inflatable sculpture, which disperses light and...

Cost: $8 for kids; $10 for adults; $30 for families of four

Where:
Together Square
400 W Sheridan Avenue
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: Delta Dental

More information

Men and women from across the American West played critical roles - both “over there” and on the home front - in helping the Allies win World War I. The National Cowboy & Western...

Cost: $12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 Northeast 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

The Annual Mentorship Exhibition features pieces from Oklahoma City high school students that visit the Artspace studio each month. Throughout the duration of the program, the students engage with...

Cost: Free

Where:
Artspace at Untitled
1 NE 3rd st
Oklahoma City, OK  73104
View map »


Sponsor: Artspace at Untitled
Telephone: 405-815-9995
Website »

More information

RexFest will feature an interactive art exhibit called a luminarium created by Architects of Air. From April 25-28, visitors can walk through the inflatable sculpture, which disperses light and...

Cost: $8 for kids; $10 for adults; $30 for families of four

Where:
Together Square
400 W Sheridan Avenue
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: Delta Dental

More information

Men and women from across the American West played critical roles - both “over there” and on the home front - in helping the Allies win World War I. The National Cowboy & Western...

Cost: $12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 Northeast 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni
Website »

More information

"Deliberately silencing the internal chatter and not overthinking. Conscious, but not over-trying. With this approach, things just seem to happen—it’s where all the substance is...

Cost: Free

Where:
Individual Artists of Oklahoma
706 W. Sheridan Ave.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
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Sponsor: Individual Artists of Oklahoma
Telephone: 405.412.2541
Contact Name: David Smith

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Shop over 200 vendors at this indoor event with everything from vintage furniture, retro and mid-century decor to handmade goods, antiques, industrial finds and architectural salvage!

Cost: $5 at the door, 13 and under free

Where:
Heritage Place
2829 S. MacArthur
Oklahoma City, OK  73128
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Sponsor: Junk Hippy
Contact Name: Kristen Grandi
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A Sporting Chance will host the 25th annual Track and Field Meet at Branson Junior High in Branson, Missouri. A Sporting Chance provides year-round sports and recreation programs designed for those...

Where:
Branson Junior High
263 Buccaneer Boulevard
Branson, MO  65616
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Sponsor: A Sporting Chance
Telephone: 404-314-2188
Contact Name: Hannah Schachinger

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RexFest will feature an interactive art exhibit called a luminarium created by Architects of Air. From April 25-28, visitors can walk through the inflatable sculpture, which disperses light and...

Cost: $8 for kids; $10 for adults; $30 for families of four

Where:
Together Square
400 W Sheridan Avenue
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: Delta Dental

More information

This one-day festival is rooted in the printing of large-scale woodblocks carved by local Oklahoma artists. We bring in a 5-ton steamroller and print pre-carved blocks throughout the day on Tyvek...

Cost: Free

Where:
Artspace at Untitled
1 NE 3rd st
Oklahoma City, OK  73104
View map »


Sponsor: Artspace at Untitled
Telephone: 405-815-9995
Contact Name: Evan
Website »

More information

Men and women from across the American West played critical roles - both “over there” and on the home front - in helping the Allies win World War I. The National Cowboy & Western...

Cost: $12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 Northeast 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni
Website »

More information

The Annual Mentorship Exhibition features pieces from Oklahoma City high school students that visit the Artspace studio each month. Throughout the duration of the program, the students engage with...

Cost: Free

Where:
Artspace at Untitled
1 NE 3rd st
Oklahoma City, OK  73104
View map »


Sponsor: Artspace at Untitled
Telephone: 405-815-9995
Website »

More information

Andy Alligator's is celebrating teachers! On Saturday and Sunday, teachers with a valid ID will receive a FREE All-Day Pass and $5 off for each family member! An All-Day Pass includes...

Cost: Teachers receive a FREE All-Day Pass; family members get $5 off

Where:
Andy Alligator's Fun Park & Water Park
3300 Market Pl
Norman, OK  73072
View map »

More information

America’s largest interactive comedy murder mystery dinner show is now playing at the Skirvin Hilton Hotel. At The Dinner Detective, you’ll tackle a challenging crime while you...

Cost: $59.95

Where:
The Skirvin Hilton
1 Park Ave
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
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Sponsor: The Dinner Detective
Telephone: 866.496.0535
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Get a sample of the nightlife of Spain at Tulsa Botanic Garden's "Viva La Vida." The Garden is bringing star chef Jamie Bissonnette (Toro restaurants in Boston, NYC, Bangkok and...

Cost: $250

Where:
Tulsa Botanic Garden
3900 Tulsa Botanic Dr
Tulsa, OK  74127
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Sponsor: Tulsa Botanic Garden
Telephone: 918-289-0330
Contact Name: Lori Hutson
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2nd annual gathering of "The Big Lebowksi" fans at The Dude Abides OKC All Oklahoma City Urban Achievers, Abiders and Coen Brothers fans are invited to join us at Fassler Hall OKC and...

Cost: Free, contests have entry fee

Where:
Fassler Hall
421 NW 10th
Oklahoma City, OK  73103
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Sponsor: Revolve Productions
Telephone: 405.810.6977
Contact Name: Tobi Coleman
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