OKLAHOMA CITY — Since I left the Pacific Northwest and moved back to Oklahoma, there has been a hole in my heart, or more like my stomach, that can only be filled by fresh, tasty sushi. I must confess: I have not eaten sushi since returning to the Sooner State- two long years!
The drought ended when I visited Yuzo Sushi Tapas, 808 North Broadway, in the heart of Automobile Alley.
Behind heavy wooden doors, the dining room is open and airy. The space is both minimalist and inviting; warm lighting and big, plush booths help the modern, industrial space feel less stark and more comfortable.
I was seated at the large U-shaped sushi bar. My server uickly took my drink order and was outstanding for the entire meal- attentive but did not hover.
While looking through the menu, I was surprised at the variance in selection: ramen, Brazilian meatloaf, a “smokehouse” roll that includes bacon bits, as well as multiple tapas. Yuzo offers 18 “signature rolls” and eight “nostalgic rolls” as well as sashimi.
The star of the drink menu is the martini; Yuzo has 20 different offerings including a “Moonrise” comprised of vodka and Asian pear sake.
I finally settled on a tuna lettuce wrap (spicy tuna, crab, avocado and butter leaf lettuce), a bowl of spicy miso ramen (spicy pork, egg, string chili, miso broth), and a bombshell roll (shrimp, avocado, tuna, strawberry, kiwi).
Before I knew it, the tuna lettuce wrap was delivered. Fresh, crisp buttered lettuce fanned on top of layers of avocado, tuna, and….imitation crab. My heart sank. I was looking forward to delicate, fresh crab meat not the red- flecked, oddly uniform imitation crab strips. I really wanted to give this dish a chance but I couldn’t dismiss the disappointing faux crab. While the tuna was bright and fresh and was complemented nicely by the creamy, satisfying avocado, it was drowned out by the limp, flavorless crab meat.
Thankfully, I didn’t have to dwell on the faux pas for long before a big hot bowl of spicy miso ramen arrived.
Served al dente in a miso broth, the spicy miso ramen was a belly-warming series of simple tastes that all worked in tandem. Spicy ground pork brought a smoky richness to the soup. Perhaps the best part of the ramen was the half an egg that sat on top. Cooked to a perfect soft-boiled firmness, it held together until cut, releasing the yolk into the mix and binding the flavors together.
Finally, I finished the meal with a “bombshell” sushi roll. Tempura battered shrimp gave a needed textural component to a roll with fresh tuna, avocado, sliced strawberries and a kiwi glaze. Initially wary that the sweetness of the fruit would overwhelm the roll, I was pleasantly surprised. After the heaviness of the spicy miso ramen, a roll that was light and refreshing was a perfect ending to the meal.
A relatively new spot in Automobile Alley, Yuzo Sushi and Tapas is a welcomed addition to the neighborhood. Yuzo has an inviting space, great customer service, and innovative, unexpected menu choices. With a new seasonal menu set to debut this fall, I will definitely go back; only this time, I’ll stay away from the crab.
Photos by Alicia Fraire / Red Dirt Report