Yama – Creating bold and intense sushi dishes

Yama’s healthful "Protein Roll" is wrapped in soy paper. Nathalie Taylor photos
Yama’s healthful “Protein Roll” is wrapped in soy paper. Nathalie Taylor photos

Nathalie Taylor
Special to the Village News

Establishing a pleasant dining experience is at the heart of what Steve and Jenny do at Yama Restaurant and Sushi Bar. They are the congenial owners of this cheerful restaurant that features a wide variety of Japanese foods including sushi, noodles, soups, and even some beef.  They purchased the thriving business a little over a year ago and are carrying on the tradition of excellence.

This hard-working couple is happy when they make their patrons happy. “We try to make our customers feel like they are visiting a friend’s house,” said Steve. These are not just words either – I felt the warmth as soon as I crossed the threshold.

The restaurant is brightly decorated with soothing green walls painted with blossoming cherry trees. The décor generates a peaceful atmosphere which is conducive to lingering.

The decorative order in the restaurant also extends to the food presentation. Just take one look at the artistic hand-rolled sushi creations. The sushi plates are long and narrow. This size is necessary in order to accommodate the long line of eight rolls and still have creative placement.

The most important element – flavor – is a result of a perfect combination of the freshest ingredients. Both Jenny and Steve stress that their food is healthful.

The couple also keep Yama’s menu fresh. They study it, and listen to the diners’ comments. That careful attention is reflected in the new and refreshed items on the menu.

The high quality fish served at Yama originates in various locales. For instance, they buy halibut from South Korea, tuna from Spain and salmon from Scotland and Alaska.

My sampling journey began with “Seaweed Salad.” This salad has a bit of a salty flavor – a taste of the sea – but is subdued by the slightly sweet, house-made sesame seed dressing.

A new item on the menu is the “Mexican Roll,” which is an intense combination of spicy crab, shrimp tempura, jalapeno, cucumber, cilantro, and rice. Thin avocado strips are artfully layered on top. A decadent orange sauce is drizzled on the avocado, and a dot of hot sauce completes this delicious and edible work of art. Yama has the ingredient ratio down with just the right amount of everything. I could isolate flavors, but nothing overpowered.

After a bite of fresh ginger to refresh my palate, I was on to sampling another new item – the “Protein Roll.” This roll is wrapped in soy paper instead of seaweed and is also made without rice. Jenny said that they created this roll “because not everyone likes seaweed or rice.”

The surprises cocooned in soy paper are, assorted fish, shrimp tempura, unagi (freshwater eel), asparagus, avocado, cucumber sprouts, and gobo (burdock root). The paper is then drizzled with eel sauce. Everything – including the soy paper – swirls together in an amazing blend of flavors.

Jenny and Steve have taken great care to intensify the Yama dining experience as demonstrated by the bold and intense sushi dishes.  So, relax, unwind, and enjoy the Yama experience.

Yama Restaurant and Sushi Bar is located at 1067 S. Main Ave. in Fallbrook. Telephone: (760) 723-9788 or visit www.yamasushifallbrook.com. Closed Sundays.

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