Sushi, sashimi, rolls, hibachi and bento boxes: You'll find it all at Yamotos. And steaks. And seafood platters. You don't have to be craving Asian to visit and leave happy.
- by Lisa Monti, photos Lisa Monti and Ellis Anderson
Interest in the Yamato Steak House of Japan’s newest location (including the original in Hattiesburg and others in Mississippi and Louisiana) seems to be holding steady here. At a weekday lunch, the place was busy and the servers moved quickly to take orders and fill glasses.
Yamato’s has an ample menu - starting with appetizers and ending with desserts - covering all the bases in between. There are sushi rolls, hibachi lunch specials, dinners and combos, bento box specials all day, soba and steaks as promised in the name.
For a closer to home taste, there are even three Louisiana seafood platters with salad, fries and an egg roll as sides. We’re told that local diners tend to favor hibachi over the raw dishes but interest in sushi and sashimi is picking up thanks in part to some innovative specials.
At the heart of the menu are 23 special rolls with names like Shaggy Dog (shrimp tempura with spicy crab, shrimp and eel sauce) and the Fire on the Bayou (spicy scallop and crabmeat with tempura flakes, seared yellowtail, jalapeño and ponzu sauce on top).
The rolls range from $9.95 to $14.95 for the Alexander Roll (lobster, lettuce, cucumber, avocado, snow crab and special sauce). Most fall in the middle price range. You can also get any three of the 24 lunch sushi rolls for $10.99. Appetizers and soups start at around $1.75
Our table of four covered a sushi special, hibachi shrimp and chicken, a sushi appetizer and Yum Yum salad (raw fish, avocado in a crunchy sauce.) The special was Ahi tuna wrapped in seaweed, tempura battered and lightly fried. That one was the winner for best plating but all our choices were well prepared, plentiful, tasty and nicely presented by our server Brandon.
The tempura ice cream dessert, split three ways, was generous enough for four and it disappeared quicker than the house-made ice cream could melt among the whipped cream dollops in the corners and the chocolate sauce.
Customers who have been bringing in their own wine should know that Yamato’s is expected to have its liquor license soon, manager Ivy Wu tells us. Check first before you go.