Beijing is slowly coming into its own. After a long time without any serious product-driven restaurants, the past years have seen a handful of chefs set up restaurants that serve seriously impressive ingredients in the Chinese capital. Yotsuba is one of them, serving the best sushi in town.
Not unlike restaurants in Japan, Yotsuba is relatively inconspicuous. You would easily drive or walk past it. Once you enter things are not exactly fancy either. The restaurant seats no more than a couple of handful of people in the small private rooms, and around the sushi counter. The service is friendly and efficient, but the real reason to come here is the sushi.
What is remarkable about Yotsuba is that it is practically the only sushi restaurant in Beijing, which Japanese expats will recommend. Whilst it doesn’t operate at the same level as the very best in Japan, it nonetheless offers sushi that beats anything you can have in Europe for instance.
Most remarkable are for instance the sweet and succulent spot prawns served here. Brushed with a little soy sauce, their crunchy, sweet flesh literally bursts in your mouth. As an extra, the chef serves the grilled heads. Smoky and crunchy, the brains are an intense shot of almost painfully concentrated flavours of the sea. Again, the sweetness comes out beautifully, making you understand why this is such a prized ingredient.
Equally good is sea urchin. Depending on the season, they either come from Dalian, on China’s coast, or Hokkaido. What some probably don’t know, is that due to its proximity to Japan, Dalian supplies parts of Japan with all manner of seafood, among which sea urchins figure prominently. The ones served at Yotsuba are of very fine quality. Sweet, creamy and of pristine freshness, there is nothing to complain about here.
Where the restaurant’s quality really shows is with the quality of the tuna they serve here. No matter whether you go for one of the different cuts of o-toro or chu-toro, the quality is remarkable compared to every other restaurant in Beijing.
Yotsuba is a bit of a pioneer in Beijing. After trendy, less traditional sushi restaurants such as Hatsune have paved the way, it now offers serious sushi that can pride itself with solid craftsmanship and high quality fish. That is something not a lot of restaurants can claim in China’s capital.