New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

Restaurant Yuu brings French flair to omakase in Brooklyn’s Little Tokyo

Chef Yuu Shimano’s stellar take on seasonal French and Japanese dishes wows all the taste buds.
Krish Dev
(Krish Dev for WSN)

Almost like Hawthorne in “The Menu,” Restaurant Yuu offers an open-kitchen view accompanied by seasonal French-Japanese fusion dishes that are unlike any other in New York City. The similarities were striking, minus the killing, of course. Although the tasting menus came at a hefty price —$250 per person — for special occasions and that special someone, the chefs and staff made it more than memorable.

Chef Yuu Shimano opened his omakase restaurant on May 19, 2023 — his 41st birthday. He chose to situate his restaurant in Greenpoint because it combines “two sides of calm atmosphere and youth culture in Brooklyn, New York.

Chef Shimano creatively fused Japanese and French cuisine together in his menus. His spring tasting menus are based around an assortment of seafood sourced from around the country — Monterey Bay abalone and New York clams, to name a few — as well as a medley of locally sourced vegetables. Other ingredients are sourced internationally, including white asparagus from southeastern France and ikura, or salmon caviar, from Japan.

A blue wooden plate with duck, seafood, fruits and vegetables.
An assortment of the restaurant's ingredients. (Krish Dev for WSN)

The restaurant offers its 15-course tasting menu along with a 14-course vegetarian option for the same price. Once seated, guests received menus personalized with their names. WSN was asked to review the vegetarian menu.

Served first on the vegetarian menu was the kabocha bisque in a small cup, and the Japanese pumpkin made for a creamy, warming and smooth-tasting light soup.

A white cup with yellow soup.
Kabocha bisque. (Krish Dev for WSN)

Once everyone in the restaurant had finished their servings, the curtains shot up to reveal chef Shimano and his staff, ready to welcome their guests and start dinner service.

The vegetarian menu’s standout starter was definitely the kohirabi, which was thinly sliced to sandwich a delicate, nutty shiitake mushroom paste.

A black plate with five pieces of food.
The vegetarian menu’s starters. (Krish Dev for WSN)

The sugar snow pea was light and wasn’t very sweet, despite the name. I found chef Shimano’s use of nama yuba, or soybean skin, fascinating as it almost dampened the taste of peas so it was not so overwhelming.

A white bowl with peas and jelly.
Sugar snow pea. (Krish Dev for WSN)

A tomato gazpacho with raspberry topped with basil shaved ice was next. The basil added another leafy-green dimension to the tomato soup. It was an excellent palette cleanser for the upcoming middle courses. The non-vegetarian version featured smoked mackerel, which overwhelmed the taste of the soup. 

A white bowl with orange soup and vegetables.
Tomato gazpacho with raspberry topped with basil shaved ice. (Krish Dev for WSN)
A white bowl with orange soup, fish and vegetables.
Tomato gazpacho with smoked mackerel. (Krish Dev for WSN)

Next is where the non-vegetarian menu served two dishes — the surf clam and arctic char — compared to the vegetarian menu’s miso-marinated zucchini. The zucchini, which was topped with marinated and dehydrated seaweed bits, was an excellent first bite. It was not too soft nor crunchy, while the sauce was rich and creamy. 

A large claim with vegetables and foam.
Surf claim. (Krish Dev for WSN)
A piece with flowers on top and aioli and jelly on the side.
Arctic char. (Krish Dev for WSN)
A piece of zucchini with crispy flakes on top.
Miso-marinated zucchini. (Krish Dev for WSN)

Continuing with the middle courses, both menus served baked white asparagus in fresh panko with Pedro Ximénez wine grape drizzle and Cara Cara orange gelée to pair. The panko wasn’t too crunchy, which allowed the asparagus’s texture to be the main focus — almost felt like chef Shimano’s own take on white asparagus tempura.

A piece of white asparagus with toppings.
Baked white asparagus in fresh panko with Pedro Ximénez wine grape drizzle and Cara Cara orange gelée. (Krish Dev for WSN)

Starting the heavier courses was chef Shimano’s signature abalone risotto from the regular tasting menu, using Koshihikari rice — a premium Japanese short-grain rice — kombu dashi and bamboo shoots. The first bite was very hearty and reminded me of a home-cooked porridge made by my grandma back home. The abalone was fresh, crispy and, coming from someone who isn’t the biggest fan of it, was surprisingly tasty. It balanced the creaminess of the risotto with the saltiness of the sea. 

A white bowl containing risotto topped with abalone.
Abalone risotto. (Krish Dev for WSN)

The vegetarian spring risotto used Tsuyahime rice for more umami flavor and was covered in a bamboo shoot netting that added crispiness to the dish. It was equally as hearty and rich in flavor. 

A white bowl with risotto topped with peas and flowers.
Spring risotto. (Krish Dev for WSN)

The middle courses featured red pepper farci, stuffed lentils and coriander seeds cooked in a kanzuri paste. The red pepper was chargrilled nicely, and the pepper was soft but still crunchy enough. The lentils were spicy and tender, but also sweet, and broke apart when bitten.

A white bowl with an orange pepper and sauce.
Red pepper farci, stuffed lentils and coriander seeds cooked in a kanzuri paste. (Krish Dev for WSN)

The onion brioche bun to separate the previous courses from the latter savory ones was “the best bread I’ve ever had,” said my accompanying photographer, and I would agree. It was a satisfying crunch in the first bite, and the bread was soft and easy to pull apart. It was paired with a nori butter that was mildly salty and married well with the soft puff pastry.

A chef plating the onion brioche bun with nori butter.
A chef plating the onion brioche bun with nori butter. (Krish Dev for WSN)

To start the vegetarian entrees, chef Shimano created a celeriac tempura with salt-baked celery roots that were fried in almond oil and served with crème fraîche. It was a heavy taste, but the almond oil was a nice touch as it made the taste smoother. 

A white plate with celery.
Celeriac tempura with salt-baked celery roots. (Krish Dev for WSN)

Next was the choux farci, a cabbage and cauliflower slice served with blue cheese and navy beans. 

A piece of cabbage and blue cheese.
Choux farci. (Krish Dev for WSN)

Last, but most importantly, chef Shimano created his own vol-au-vent in a small Japanese tea-cup-sized pastry that had that gratifying first crunch. The pastry was warm, flaky and paired with an espresso sauce that made it a must-try.

Pastry with mushrooms and brown sauce.
Vol-au-vent. (Krish Dev for WSN)

On the standard menu was the chef’s signature Canard, a duck wellington that was dry-aged for 35 days, where two layers of meat are divided by a layer of foie gras and three types of mushrooms. It was cooked to a perfect medium-rare and wrapped in the same pastry as the vol-au-vent. It was decadent and almost tipped me into a food coma by the end of it.

A chef shows the layers of a piece of meat.
A chef shows the layers of the canard. (Krish Dev for WSN)

But chef Shimano was not finished, as dessert was to follow. He showed off mint in three different ways — oil, foam and ice cream. The ice cream was sweet and soft, while the foam was citrusy and popped in your mouth. Both were served on a bed of jelly, which added a nice bite to the dessert. 

A glass with mint foam, ice cream and oil.
Mint in three different ways — oil, foam and ice cream. (Krish Dev for WSN)

To end the meal, the chefs served Sakura, which is a dessert meant to represent the sakura leaves falling in the spring in Japan, as they sprinkle edible pink flower petals onto a meringue cup topped with gloriously red strawberries. It ended the meal on a very high note, and is something I would highly recommend to those who love strawberries. The meringue was flowery and, paired with the tartness and the acidity from strawberries, created a lovely dessert.

A bowl with a pink dessert toped with two strawberries.
Sakura. (Krish Dev for WSN)

Guests are then moved back to the lounge area and are served the night’s “mignardises,” or pastries, with hojicha, Japanese green tea. Pastry chef Takahashi Masaki makes them each night and sends guests home with two more cakes in a goodie bag that comes with the bill. Restaurant Yuu is in the upper echelons of fine-dining omakase restaurants in New York City, and, if given the chance to eat here again, I’d jump straight at it and on the L train. 

A teacup filled with yellow tea and three small desserts on a black table.
Mignardises. (Krish Dev for WSN)

Contact Jonathan Mak at [email protected].

Leave a comment
About the Contributors
Jonathan Mak
Jonathan Mak, Deputy Sports Editor
Jonathan Mak is a sophomore studying Journalism and Psychology at CAS. His mood depends on the Manchester United results, and he can be found obsessing over his fantasy Premier League team, trying to find authentic Southeast Asian food or watching "How I Met Your Mother." Send fantasy PL tips or invites to pick-up football games to @_jonmak on Instagram and @_jonathanmak_ on X, formerly Twitter.
Krish Dev
Krish Dev, Multimedia Editor
Krish is a first-year planning to major in Computer Science and Linguistics at CAS. In his free time, he enjoys posting photos on @krish_dev.creations, obsessing over geography, watching new films with friends, taking public transport to new places and letting Arsenal make or break his week.

Comments (0)

Comments that are deemed spam or hate speech by the moderators will be deleted.
All Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *