YTSB at Vie Hotel Bangkok imports ingredients three times a week from Japan. In striving for the supreme sushi, the fish are kept alive until the last possible moment in Bangkok.
By Emmi Laine.
I´m still in the elevator, when the service staff of YTSB (Yellow Tail Sushi Bar) in Vie Boutique Hotel has already wished me welcome. “How about a look at the menu,” they ask, and hand me an Ipad. I sit on an artistic fish statue, one example of their modern décor with a twist; Let my journey on fish-back begin! I peek to my sides and notice red tables in intimate lights, chefs moving quietly in the open kitchen, and jazzy French music at the background.
Evidently this is a contemporary restaurant striving for an original Japanese taste. Later, I learn that the conceptual interiors are flown from New York, the young renowned Chef Yoji Kitayama from Tokyo, and customers from all over the world. They gather here under the starry lights of a wooden wavy ceiling resembling a yellow tail, the icon of this exclusive restaurant.
After choosing my chopsticks, we move quickly to the point of being here – or for some of us, being alive: Sushi (I’m talking here in general terms). Is it really that good? As we are in Yellow Tail Sushi Bar, it makes sense to start with the yellow tail sashimi. This dish lives up to its Japanese nickname: “king of the fish.” The taste is soft, ample, and clean – optimally what sashimi should be. For a moment, my mouth plays tricks on me. My tongue can taste the fresh fish, but my teeth lack a sense of feeling when they cut through the flesh. Am I imagining? This illusion results from the soft texture of the fish and makes the sashimi appear mysteriously light and luxurious.
In explanation, YTSB imports its ingredients three times per week from Japan. In striving for the supreme sashimi, fish are kept alive until the last possible moment in Bangkok. Now looking at Kitayama´s effective work, I´m struck by a sudden realization: my sashimi is so fresh its cells probably don’t even know they are dead yet.
You know that the sushi bar takes their fish seriously when after sitting there for hours, perfectly-served, they still haven´t brought you a single grain of rice. Don´t get me wrong, I loved those Rossini rolls with teriyaki foie gras and Kagoshima wagyu beef sirloin – completed with a crispy lotus flower chip.
However, before them I have been fully entertained by the generous Sakura sashimi set: blue fin tuna, Alaskan crab, salmon, and scallops – topped with herbs, leaves, and flowers. In addition to the aesthetic value, these decorations spice up the whole menu. I dip my Japanese fruit tomato (sweet, organic, and ripe) into the suggested honey soy sauce, and continue pairing it with colorful herbs. These pieces match effortlessly, and thus allow me to compose my own culinary symphony.
Lastly, some surprising favorites. For Western tastes, I recommend the fish tartare. In fact, this juicy fish with potato chips reminds me of plump Mexican fish tacos. Another favorite is the dessert: chocolate daifuku. Who says that a sushi restaurant can´t excel in chocolate too? YTSB´s signature mochi reveals hard chocolate and soft vanilla inside, and the slightly yeasty glazing is sprinkled with dark cacao powder; it is excellent. On the side, fresh strawberries brighten the color and taste palette of this dessert.
When it´s time to leave, I desire to save this moment and snatch a napkin to keep as memorabilia. It says, “VIE Hotel.” While walking out, I´m thinking: this dinner truly was full of sweet life.
YTSB (Yellow Tail Sushi Bar)
VIE Hotel Bangkok, an M Gallery Collection
117/39-40 Phayathai Rd (BTS: Ratchathewi)
Open: 11:30 a.m.-2:30p.m; 6-11p.m.