Featuring dishes blending Korean, Thai, Chinese and Japanese cuisine, Yuga’s menu is far from bland. The meal I had there on a recent Friday night with a friend was intriguingly flavorful – a combination of textures and sweet, tart, salty and spicy tastes.
We started our dinner with the miso salmon appetizer, which was served with pineapple. Marinated in miso and sake and grilled just long enough to preserve its moisture, this dish was utterly seductive. If you think of salmon as boring, this one will certainly change your mind.
An intensely fragrant entrée of lemongrass chicken followed. Served in a mild coconut bath with a hint of red pepper and ginger, giving it a mild sparkle, it was incredibly delicious. Accompanied by fluffy jasmine rice, the single portion was so large I can’t even imagine what you get if you order for two.
Next came a fresh and plump six-piece neggi-teka roll and an invigorating miso soup.
The dishes were gracefully served on elegant white plates and mildly sweet yellow ginger was plentiful as the service was attentive and concerned – except for when we had to move our plates ourselves to get a new set. The kitchen was speedy and our water glasses were topped off every few minutes.
In Japan, drinking from someone else’s sake cup is considered a sign of friendship, so we shared a small $4 glass of the hot house sake. Served in an ochoko, a small cylindrical cup, it was light and fragrant.
But our biggest indulgence was saved for dessert, a warm chocolate cake served with strawberry sauce and a scoop of vanilla ice cream that was truly divine.
Located on Alcazar Avenue, a quiet street four blocks south of Miracle Mile, Yuga’s décor is clean and elegant, with warm cherrywood furnishings and Asian pop music in the background that immediately begets the best dining mood. My friend, an architect, particularly liked the soothing sage-colored walls.
Despite its location, Yuga is not a high-rent version of Lan. Starters such as crispy calamari with mango sauce and dumplings run between $6 and $16, and rolls are priced between $3 and $12. Large plates such the pan-seared sea scallops and the Korean-style short ribs go for $10.95 to $18.95, and desserts range from $3.50 to $6.
For two hungry ladies, the $40 meal, including tax and tip, was immensely satisfying.