Former Japan resident Katie Aspen finds great Japanese food at Sushi Yama in Dallas
Sushi Yama! WOW!! What a pleasant experience. Like Sharaku, Sushi Yama is another place I immediately feel transported back to Japan. Takeuchi-san, the owner, has operated Sushi Yama for nearly fifteen years. This is a very casual izakaya (Japanese tapas place), so feel free to go in your swimwear and flip flops. The restaurant reminds me of the first place I went to when I lived in Japan. A little stark but full of character. The walls are covered with lime green construction paper, and the menu is written in both English and Japanese. (Guys: if you are trying to impress a well-travelled, cultured chick, this is your place!)
I order exactly what I used to drink when I lived in Osaka: a large bottle of Asahi Super Dry and a glass of shochu. Sushiyama’s menu has a variety of shochu, beer and wine. Shochu is the same as Korean Soju, a distilled beverage made from wheat, barley, rice, potato and sweet potato. Unfortunately, sake is losing popularity in Japan, as younger Japanese prefer shochu and wine over sake.
Sushi Yama offers many Japanese dishes that are hard to find in DFW. I especially like the wide variety of Japanese tapas, all of which are great for sharing. If you go with a few friends, order at least fifteen dishes.
I like to start with sunagimo karate (fried chicken gizzards), which are perfect for munching on with beer. Nice and crispy with a chewy center.
Then, order the kakuni, which is Japanese pork belly made with sugar, sake, mirin, soy sauce, and ginger. The dish is a great example of how the Japanese culinary arts marries texture with sweet and savory.
If you’re feeling adventurous, order the takoyaki, a specialty of Osaka. Takoyaki are small octopus cakes, which remind me of the beignets you find at Café du Monde in New Orleans, but takoyaki are savory and topped with bonita (fish flakes). If you want to go true Osaka-style, ask for the kuppie mayonnaise for dipping. Add gyoza (pork pot stickers), yakitori, (skewered meat) and tai kama (snapper collar) to round out the meal. If you’re a sushi fan (I am), Sushiyama sells surprisingly good $1 sushi on Tuesdays and Saturdays. Give Sushi Yama a try. You’ll get a taste of true Japanese cuisine.
8989 Forest Ln # 112 Dallas, (972) 234-3474
Katie Aspen is a residential Realtor in Dallas. “I am passionately, madly in love with Japanse cuisine, having lived and taught in Japan for several years,” she writes.