Saturday, Oct 22, 2016
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Restaurant Reviews

Restaurant review: Yoko Japanese Restaurant ***

Yoko Japanese Restaurant is a low-key kind of place, serving its well-prepared food quietly and efficiently.

In a strip shopping center at West Dussel Drive and Ford Street in Maumee, Yoko is an unprepossessing storefront. Inside, Japanese prints and murals adorn the walls, and comfortable tables and booths fill the room. A low wall separates the main dining area from the sushi bar, where customers can sit and watch the chef create their favorites from an extensive menu.

My companions and I are not sushi fanciers, so we stuck with the main menu, but there was plenty of sushi being served while we were there, including to one little guy who looked to be about 4 and produced the most angelic smile when the server put his order in front of him. By the piece, sushi ranged in price from $1.99 to $12, with a few listed at "market price." Sushi combinations range up to $28.

Most lunch entrees are smaller-sized portions of the dinner menu, although the server handed us a special menu of teriyaki and tempura items for those dining with time constraints.

For lunch, we chose the nabi yaki udon ($8.95) and the chicken bento ($10.95). The former is a noodle soup served in a cast-iron pot that's about the diameter of a dinner plate. Large, flavorful mushroom slices swim in the broth, and the noodles are thick and long. It's hard to get control of them using the traditional spoon with the high-sided bowl that comes with it, but the flavor is worth the work. Completing the meal is shrimp and vegetable tempura and an iceberg lettuce and cucumber salad with a ginger dressing. The salad came with every meal we ordered; no other is on the menu.

The bento is a divided box that has different items in each compartment. Ours came with an Ohio roll (sushi), grilled chicken breast with teriyaki sauce, a potato cake, and tempura. The components seemed selected to present an overview of Japanese dining, and it was all delicious, especially the vegetables coated with tempura batter and deep fried.

We had the tempura again in a salmon teriyaki and shrimp tempura dinner ($19.95). The fish was perfectly prepared, with the sweet teriyaki sauce a fine complement. Served over a New York strip in a steak teriyaki dinner ($18.95), however, the sauce was too sweet for the grilled meat. A slice of meat that escaped the sauce proved how beautifully the steak was grilled, and I was tempted to ask for napkins to wipe the sauce off the rest of the entre. Both meals came with miso soup, rice, and the lettuce salad.

We did use extra napkins once to drain some tempura that came from the kitchen a bit too greasy, but once drained, it was delicious.

Green tea comes with the meals, and the Yoko has a tiny bar in the corner, well stocked with all sorts of whiskeys and wines.

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