There was a time not too terribly long ago in Oklahoma City when there was a chain on every corner and the closest you could get to local was to make a trip to your farmers market and make the food yourself. We always celebrate all things local, and luckily, it’s getting easier for OKC restaurants to incorporate locally grown, all- natural ingredients into what they offer.
— By Devon Green
photos by Mark Hancock and Shannon Cornman
Football season is finally here! We call it soccer, but that doesn’t have to stop you from indulging in two favorite European traditions: walking and pub crawling. Since the Energy FC games will be alcohol-free, we’ve created a list of pubs and taverns within walking distance from Clement E. Pribil Stadium at Bishop McGuinness Catholic High School.
— by Devon Green
photos by Mark Hancock and Shannon Cornman
While the idea of fried dough may or may not be American in origin, the traditional ring-shaped confection that we know and love does originate here. According to The Smithsonian, doughnuts were created by an enterprising New England sailor’s mother who wanted a way to store and transport pastry. Regardless of its origin, the doughnut is a modern favorite.
— by Devon Green, photos by Mark Hancock and Shannon Cornman
Yamato Japanese Steakhouse
7101 Northwest Expressway
What works: The shrimp and scallops are delicious.
What needs work: An overall update to its menu and decor.
The tip: Don't order the flounder, even if it's on the menu.
There’s always room for improvement. You’ve heard that before, right? (Oh, man … was it only me? That’s a blow to the ego.)
Restaurants are no exception.
Whether it’s service, consistency of experience or consistency in food, everybody can, conceivably, get better.
Which is what makes writing this review of Yamato kind of difficult. I had a nice time. The food was pretty good. My waitress worked hard to make our experience a pleasant one … but there’s room for improvement.
First stop: the menu. Listen, I know what to expect at a Japanese steakhouse. That’s part of why I always look forward to going to a Japanese steakhouse. I’m going to see a menu with steak, chicken, shrimp, scallops, salmon and maybe lobster or calamari. And I know that all of those things are going to be prepared, before my eyes, by a man wielding a knife and a spatula and a 30-year-old book of puns.
But as sushi has become popular, Yamato and many others are offering rolls and nigiri to customers. Yamato’s menu lists a few that intrigued me, so I ordered tuna (because everybody does tuna) and flounder.
The fact my waitress seemed flummoxed by the order of flounder should have been a clue to bail on the order.
“We don’t have flounder. You should know that by now.”
That’s what the man from the sushi bar told my waitress. And his “you should know that by now” comment makes me think it’s time for new menus. Also unavailable: mackerel nigiri.
They did have tuna, it turns out, but the specimen I received lacked in both thickness and flavor. Not a great start.
Still, I could take solace in what was coming next: a big pile of seared and seasoned shrimp and scallops.
What followed was a nice performance of all the tried-and-true shtick that ended with everybody’s plates overflowing with food. The shrimp were finished first, followed by the steaks, then scallops and finally (really, after even the vegetables), we got some salmon.
There are logistics at play with teppanyaki (iron griddle) cooking, but with only four people eating, it did seem a bit like poor planning to have some entrées served so much later than others. My shrimp was already cold by the time the scallops arrived. Ditto for my wife’s steak when the salmon showed up.
If you’re eating as it’s coming to you, as we generally do, that’s not a huge deal. But not everybody does like me. That said, everything tasted good. The shrimp were seasoned right and cooked beautifully and the scallops were great, too.
The salmon, with the teriyaki glaze our chef cooked right on the flat top, was flaky and moist. That’s why we keep coming back, after all.
Yes, I wish that they would really try to restore a little sparkle and shine before my next visit. I’d love new menus, too, even if just to remove items they don’t plan to carry.
Because I like Yamato. I generally enjoy the entire experience there, but there’s room for improvement. So, yes, I will return. I just hope when I do, they’re treating the whole of the restaurant as well as they do my shrimp and scallops.
Oklahoma Gazette’s restaurant review policy is to highlight the positive aspects, and include constructive criticism regarding food, ambience or service when appropriate.