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Food Review: Yokozuna Teriyaki

On the plate of reviewer number two


Strip mall dining and store-bought sushi. Yep, my pedestrian--or very brave--tastes dictate that I often partake of both. Yokozuna Teriyaki in the Vista Village Shopping Center is within walking distance of my house, and on a muggy weekday evening, I told the I.T. Guy to put on some shoes and we ambled over.

A few tables on the small patio and the indoor blonde-wood seating looked welcoming enough, but we had a Tivo'ed Medium to watch so we ordered to go. While we waited, I plucked a plastic container with a Sugar Daddy sushi roll inside ($4.50) out of a tub of ice on the counter to munch on.

The tempura shrimp, avocado and cream cheese in the roll was a little bland, and the dry, popcorn-kernel textured rice left much to be desired. A sticker on each container states the sushi is made fresh daily, but keeping it refrigerated might help the rice maintain some of its desired moisture.

To drink, we ordered bubble tea, a recent discovery for me. The I.T. Guy kept it simple and rather than ordering some exotic or inscrutable flavor such as passion fruit or bubblegum, he went with orange while I stepped out on a tropical limb and picked papaya.

A bubble tea machine made quick work of our drink order and sealed each one with a plastic cover that had a happy, if somewhat grammatically strange message on it. Poking a wide-mouth straw through "Kiss, Kiss. Life is good," I slurped up dark brown tapioca balls and frosty, light yellow, slushy sweet tea. An ice-cream headache was an easy price to pay.

At home, we dug into our take-out containers of chicken teriyaki ($6.25), chicken katsu ($6.25) and grilled steak salad ($6.95) as Allison Dubois dreamed about a bank robbery. Several strips of moist chicken, dark and rich with a teriyaki marinade, were coupled with a few quartered slices of lightly sauteed carrots and zucchini and spread atop a big pile of soft, hot sticky rice (which would have been perfect wrapped around the Sugar Daddy roll). Panko bread crumbs kept the katsu golden-brown and crispy outside, white and moist inside, and the thin, watery ponzu dipping sauce lent the slices a savory, vinegary flavor.

The steak salad topped our list of entrees. As Allison tried to convince the people around her that she knew who the bank robbers were, we speared bright greens, julienned carrots, edamame beans and strips of tender steak that were seared outside and still a little pink inside, and swirled them through a pool of sesame Asian dressing at the bottom of the bowl. I unsuccessfully tried to convince the I.T. Guy he should eat more of the katsu and teriyaki so as to dissuade him from the salad--thereby leaving me a larger portion--but he was having none of it. I mollified myself with a plan to go back for lunch.

The next day, I took a friend and went back for more salad and more bubble tea. My friend covered his chicken yakisoba (pan-fried noodles, chicken and veggies, $5.75) in chili sauce before I could even ask for a bite (the men in my life are often smarter than I give them credit for). My friend is a very talkative guy and was actually quiet for 15 or 20 minutes, which was a sign that he enjoyed the food. My grilled chicken salad with the same vegetables and dressing as the steak salad--I'll be adding edamame to all of my own green salads at home from now on--and papaya bubble tea made for a light but filling lunch.

I wish Allison had been around on Sunday when the I.T. Guy and I went back for what would be my third visit that week. She could have warned us that Yokozuna is closed on Sundays. Rather than take on a greasy meal from a nearby burger joint, we pieced together something at home. That night, I had visions of my own future; I will eat at Yokozuna again. Soon.

--Amy Atkins often dreams of having her own TV show entitled Average.

Boise Weekly sends two reviewers to every restaurant we review. Click here to read what BW's other reviewer had to say about Yokozuna Teriyaki.