Neighbourhood: River Heights
Address: 1822 Grant Ave
In an equidistant prairie city, well away from two oceans, it’s a surprise to discover sushi restaurants that rival some of the best on either coast. Yujiro is one of these. Chef owner Ed Lam has assembled a team that introduces flavour twists while appealing equally to traditionalists.
The room is matter of fact, an open space tastefully appointed with simple but handsome dark wood furniture, and high top seating at the sushi bar. Like so many chef-run eateries in Winnipeg, the big money is spent on ingredients. Fresh produce, exotic fruit and organic microgreens don’t come cheap. Nor does transporting the catch of the day from the nearest ocean. Yet, the excellent fish dishes manage to make bargain seeking fans very happy.
Choosing what to eat is a dilemma most face. Starters like goma ae, topped with Ed’s sesame dressing, are stand out, as are classic sunomono salads, but try uzaku, the cucumber salad topped with barbeque eel for a hit of umami to whet the appetite.
Sashimi die-hards are rewarded here. Fresh cuts of fish melt in the mouth and are beautifully garnished with spirals of radish and carrot for contrasting crunch. Rolls please the masses though. Unexpected ingredients like softshell shrimp, crawfish and ribeye steak win fans.
A hefty list of specials come in waves, depending on the season, and add a profusion of piscatorial rarities like premium blue fin tuna, wild organic salmon and halibut. Luxurious treats like seared foie gras reward gourmands.
This rotating line up has become a signature of Yujiro, adding new flavours and textures to each mouthful and showcasing the kitchen’s expertise in saucing. The Butterfly Roll is a stunner, wrapping blue fin tuna and wild salmon with kaiware, avocado and wasabi mayo.
Although raw is very hot here, this is the place to venture to the cooked plates too. Tempura-fried calamari satisfies with a snappy crunch on tender squid. Tataki accents seared tuna or beef with citrusy ponzu. Simply salted mackerel, yellow tail (when available) and black cod accented with a heavenly miso broth shouldn’t be missed.