I was so blessed to have been invited by a friend to a dinner at a Japanese restaurant along Wilson Street in Greenhills. Let me dub this as an invitation to the profound taste of Japanese cuisine. With an invitation as such who can say no. I'm not a regular Greenhills visitor but there is one peculiar restaurant that have always captivated me whenever I get the chance to pass by. Just two days prior to the invitation my husband and I passed by the same street and there we were, caught staring at this restaurant on our way to Lemuria.
Yuujin 友人 as this rather private place is known has been serving the best Japanese dishes for seven years already.
In translation, "jin" part means "person", so this does, in effect, mean simply "friend", which is a formal way of expressing it.
The restaurant or nihonn shyoku resutoran (Japanese) is owned by a group of friends since grade school. All of them though have a distinct profession and businesses, and their friendship had even more blossomed with this concept as their baby.
Like the Italian and French food flares, I have learned to love Japanese as it comes down to the quality of ingredients and the meticulous preparation of the food. Chefs in Japan are often the owner of the restaurant and therefore take great pride and care in their offerings. Yuujin however is owned by Filipinos, though the idea was presented by a Japanese who then became part of the corporation. "When he was still here he was hands -on from the preparation and training of the staff in the kitchen," according to Chris Imbo, one of the owners. The Japanese part-owner's passion served as inspiration for the group to maintain the quality of their food and service even though he went back to Japan.
While having conversations we were given Deep Fried Salmon Skins after our drinks have been ordered. What a starter indeed! It has the crunch of special chicharon but less the guilt. You'll be surprised how tasty it was but not that salty. The slightly sweetened sauce made it even more appetizing. We actually asked for more.
Then the parade begins...
Sashimi Moriawase, a platter full of different Sashimi.
Nigori Sushi Moriawase, this time is with Sushi.
The Crazy Maki however is a crazy look of makis, loaded up with shredded Kani Salad.
Buta Shoga Yaki can easily be loved with sliced chicken battered, crisp-fried and smothered with teriyaki sauce.
Well an Asian lunch or dinner wouldn't be complete without rice. You might want to try their Continental rice.
Tenderloin Steak Yuujin Style is their rendition of stir-fried pork, cooked till tender and sauced while matching with some sprouts put it heavy on your tummy. I didn't actually eat much of this since I am not that of a meat eater, mush so with pork.
A trip to a Japanese food station will not be remarkble without sampling sashimis. My favorite would be Salmon Sashimi. The smooth, sweet, milky bite on this dainty yellow-orange colored fish meat may not be appetizing too many. Raw eating has to be an acquired taste, but once you try you'll be craving for it. Of course don't forget to pat it on their very own concocted soy sauce, which should be perfectly mixed with drops of calamansi or lemon juice and the wasabi paste.I got to hand it to them, Tuna is tuna, fresh or cooked it has to always be fresh, though we know that most of the raw fish we eat are typically frozen-bought and these Tuna Sashimi quickly disappeared.
This one really brought us to WOW speeches. See how the squid were religiously scored, imagining how it was done made me even more fascinated with it's delicate preparations. Ika Teppan, is a stir-fried squid with a savory sauce that comes with mounds of sprouts, which are still crunchy proving it's freshness.
Beef Sukiyaki (P 275), another famed dish from the Westernized Japanese regions. Sukiyaki has to use Kobe beef, presented on a table with a cast iron skillet over heat. The cooking of the thinly sliced beef on a liquid mix of soy sauce, sake, broth and mirin is completed on the table. When the wait staff comes to the table, holds the lid up and pour the raw eggs on the top, then it's ready to eat.
Ebi Tempura is utmost consummate when the batter blanketing a prawn is light and airy but crumbly when cooked. No other overpowering seasonings masking the delicacy that is prawn. This is probably the best Ebi Tempura I had since I first had it which was in college.
If you're a noodle fanboy or fangirl and needs to be a bit adventurous, best to try here at Yuujin is the Hayashi Soba. Had this first at RYUMA Japanese resto at Paseo de Santa Rosa. Uniquely made noodles that is steamed, flavored then sat on some ice, yes ice as in cold solid, topped then with some vegetables, kani and meat slices.
That night, our company was not only graced by the people behind this quaint restaurant, a blogger friend who is vegetarian eagerly checked out the menu and spotted some suitable dishes for his turf. He had the Vegetarian Roll, which looked to me as a piece of artwork colorfully dressed and sprinkled to fancy. Observing him dock each roll at his mouth is enough to say it is that good.
Tofu Salad is another dish he ordered. Typical salad veggie with silken tofu and a fruity syrup to to liven the tastes.
All the sushi, sashimi, maki and some other meticulously prepared dishes is showcased on the bar which is located at the far end of the room. Here you can see all the ingredients the chef use, and on the other side is where all the magic happens and seeing him how is just an amazing sight.
Completing the dinner round is the hot and cold,sweet treat that had us all excited. Grilled batter topped with rock-hard ice cream scooped on top, rolled over the pan sealing the ice cream then served on the plate drizzled with chocolate and strawberry syrup
Tempura Ice Cream, in Vanilla and Ube flavor (P 60)
Oh it's magic...The one who prepared this must have been trained so well to keep the tempura hot without having the ice cream melt right away. But for all its worth, this indeed have been a perfect sweet ending for a dinner full of friendship talks, professionalism and the umami taste that is truly Japanese!
Address: 221 Wilson St, Greenhills, San Juan
Contact Number: (02) 706-0626