|Japanese Restaurant Sushi Yokozuna|
|It was my dream to own the Japanese restaurant, and I was living in my dream for while from March 2003 to March 2004. I am appreciating the loyal customers, employees and especially the very good restaurant review from the Denver Post by Kyle Wagner. I wish I kept it but I couldn't do the two full time jobs at the same time, I was full time employee at CDOT (Colorado Department of Transportation). I hope some day may dream come true again !!!|
|-------- Below article has been extracted from the Denver Post Site and link is http://www.denverpost.com/restaurants/ci_0002537322 --------
Denver Post Dining Critic
Article Launched: 11/17/2004 12:00:00 AM MST
Anyone who thinks the key to a successful restaurant doesn't rest with the management needs to stop by Sushi Yokozuna.
Owner Kay Komuro doesn't just work the compact, sparsely decorated room; she is the room, its life and its color, and that makes all the difference at this otherwise middle-of-the-road Japanese restaurant and sushi bar that took over what was the popular Yoshi Tei, tucked behind an old shopping mall at South Monaco Parkway and East Evans Avenue.
Where Komuro gets the energy is hard to say. Not only is she a webmaster for the Colorado Department of Transportation, she also teaches Japanese, works as a freelance computer programmer and, oh yeah, she has this restaurant thing going, too, where she waits tables and oversees the kitchen each night.
It's kind of apropos that Yokozuna is named after a famously tireless (even at 400 pounds) sumo wrestler.
Komuro's is the first face you see, always smiling, just inside the door, and it's the last face you see, always thanking, as you walk back out. In between, she is fairly hopping up and down at the ends of the tables, each covered with a pink tablecloth and carefully fan-folded napkins, trying to get diners to enjoy Japanese food as much as she does. She's also full of little tidbits about Japanese dining customs, and she's not afraid to step in and help.
"Sushi is a finger food," she admonishes those foolish enough to try to pick up the pieces with their chopsticks, and to help she gives everyone a warm, wet washcloth rolled up in a little holder. Komuro also offers two Japanese-only tables, where from the second a diner sits down, only Japanese is spoken, and it's expected that the diner will comply in return. Komuro prods and points, and eventually an entire conversation takes place. It's impressive to watch.
It's also impressive to see Komuro sell her special mix of warm sake and plum wine ($4) served in a wine glass and quite the tummy-warming (and brain-soothing) concoction.
Meanwhile, up at the sushi bar, the sushi chef is always studying his little book of sushi preparation. He is probably not a master yet, but he is earnest and eager, and he works hard at presentation, carving the wasabi into little spearmint leaves, putting hot-sauce smiley faces on the caterpillar rolls and arranging larger orders of sushi on oversized white plates in flower shapes.
And if he messes something up, such as tamago ($3.50 for two pieces) that wasn't quite right on one of our visits, he makes it up by sending out a couple of pieces of impeccable tuna ($4 for two pieces).
Somehow, in the midst of everything else she does, Komuro also hikes, having summited 32 of Colorado's 54 fourteeners. She pays homage to the mountains with her "Colorado 14ers" sampler platter, $54 for 54 pieces of nigiri (the regular kind made from a log of rice topped with seafood) and maki (the rolled kind) sushi. It's just right for four people for dinner, although you might feel like a climb is in order afterward.
The rest of the food was mostly quality dishes interspersed with a few that needed a little work. For instance, with the exception of the tamago, all of the sushi was well-carved and fresh, including the salmon ($3.75 for two), the snapper ($4.50 for 2) and the yellowtail ($4.50), as well as rolls such as the Boulder ($6.75), with fresh eel, tuna and cucumber inside and avocado and flying-fish roe on the outside, were well- balanced with flavors and textures.
The freshwater eel, or unagi ($4.25 for two), one of my favorites, was light on sauce and unusually thinly sliced, but it was nonetheless tasty.
Also excellent were the salads, such as sunomono ($2.50), the paper-thin cucumber slices marinated in sweetened vinegar and sprinkled with sesame seeds, which had obviously been made to order, as was the seaweed salad ($3.50), crunchy and fresh. Appetizers of gyoza ($3.75), five fried dumplings and their gingery soy dipping sauce, and yudofu ($3.75), pingpong-ball bubbles of pancake batter stuffed with tako (octopus) were well-executed too.
The surprise dish, though, was the yudofu ($3.75), simple but appealing cubes of boiled tofu served with a side of bonito flakes (dried fish shavings) and green onions.
We really enjoyed the shabu- shabu dinner ($20), a holdout from Yoshi Tei, since this had been one of the few places in the Denver area to offer the tabletop dish of beef and vegetables cooked in stock. The meal is made for two, and involves a traditional Japanese hot pot put in the center of the table to simmer; the result was a condensed brew of tender meat and stock-soaked vegetables.
But the tempura dinner of shrimp and vegetables ($14.50) was a little heavy-handed, the batter unable to stick entirely and on the thick side, although the vegetables and shrimp were properly cooked and fresh, and the salmon in a teriyaki dinner ($10.50) was overcooked and dry, with too little of the thin sauce.
Still, considering the rest of the experience and Komuro herself, this is a friendly spot that's worth checking out.
As we left, Komuro came racing after us. "Sayonara," she said.
"We'll be back," we replied.
Dining critic Kyle Wagner can be reached at 303-820-1958 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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